Drew Gorman, a junior at Buford High School, led the Buford wrestling team to a third-place finish at the Knockout Christmas Classic behind his first-place finish in the 138-pound weight class.

The Knockout Christmas Classic is a prestigious tournament featuring 70 teams competing on Dec. 20-22, 2023, at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla.

In the final match of the 138-pound weight class, Gorman took the win over Nikolas Blake of Hagerty when he was able to pin Blake during Gorman’s second takedown of the match. Before Gorman pinned Blake, Blake was ahead of Gorman 4-0, but Gorman was able to stay focused to get the win. Gorman was Buford’s only individual champion of the tournament.

In the 215-pound weight class, Buford senior Aaron Riner finished in second place in the finals after losing to Sawyer Bartelt (South Dade) on a 8-1 decision in favor of Bartelt.

Buford junior Conor McCloskey defeated Lucas Szymborski (Cleveland) in the 190-pound weight class third-place match with a 6-0 decision to finish in third place.

In the 113-pound weight class, Buford’s DJ Clarke lost to Chase Walker (Cleveland) in the third-place match with a 3-1 decision in favor of Walker. Clarke finished in fourth place.

Grayson Santee, a Buford senior, also finished in fourth place after losing to Brandon Cody (Jesuit) in the 165-pound weight class third-place match. Cody won with a 5-2 decision over Santee.

Buford’s overall team score of the tournament was 170.0, which was enough to secure the third-place spot just behind first-place Cleveland (193.5 pts.) and second-place South Dade (189.0 pts.). Jesuit (134.5 pts.) and Mill Creek (125.5 pts.) rounded out the top five teams.

Buford’s varsity wrestling team will compete next in the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Classic in Dayton, Ohio on Dec. 29-30.

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