Senior Paul Coleman took home his fourth region championship Friday making him the second wrestler at Cairo High School to accomplish such title.
Coleman is headed to the state championship with hopes to bring another win back home.
As Coleman prepared for the region championship at practice this week, he recalls having “bittersweet” feelings.
“It was hard to believe that this was my last practice before my last region championship match,” Coleman said. “I had in my mind that I was going to seize every moment.
Coleman has been wrestling with Coach Kevin Elliot since Coleman began sixth grade.
“Wrestling has changed my life,” Coleman said. “I've become better in school and in life. It's taught me how to be motivated.”
Coleman credits much of his success to his coach.
“He's always been there for me,” Coleman said.
Before competing in the region championship match, Coleman said that winning would “mean a lot to him.”
“It's so nerve wracking to watch, but I am so proud of him,” Rose Coleman, Paul's mother said.
When he is trying to pin his opponent, Coleman says he doesn't think about wrestling.
“I like to let my mind roam,” Coleman said. “I try to blind out what's going on.”
Maybe his mind roams to the piece of tape that surrounds his pinky finger. The tape contains two words that Coleman lives and wrestles by.
“It says, “Think Clean,” Coleman said. “I make it a point to have a clean match every time. I don't have any negative thoughts. All of the Glory goes to the Heavenly Father.”
It came down to Coleman, the last region championship match, to get the Syrupmakers the Region 1-AAAA Championship.
“We were behind by 1.5 points going into Paul's last match,” Coach Kevin Elliott said. “The team won by two points to win the region championship.”
This is back-to-back region championship wins for the Syrupmakers.
Crisp County finished second in the region, Dougherty finished third and Westover finished fourth.
The Syrupmakers had eight region champions — Harley Ponder, 106, three time region champion Ryan Roberson, 113, Will Alexander, 126, two time region champion Wilder Elliott, 132, Luke Elkins, 138, Reggie Burden, 145, fourth time region champion Paul Coleman, 160, two time region champion Marcus Gaines, 170.