CAIRO — What the Cairo wrestling program lacks in tradition, the Syrupmakers have made up for with a stellar foundation.

In only its second year, the Cairo wrestling team won the Region 1-AAA title and produced its first state medalist.

“It’s huge,” Cairo coach Kevin Elliott said of the accomplishments. “For a second-year program to even have a kid qualify to go to state, is special and for him to even place, it’s just incredible.”

Dewain Robinson’s sixth-place finish at the state meet last weekend completed Cairo’s strong finish. The Syrupmakers’ entire squad is comprised of freshmen and after struggling to begin the season, Cairo picked up steam heading into the postseason. Elliott said the Syrupmakers benefited from facing top wrestlers during the season, such as the Valdosta tournament.

Still, the Syrupmakers struggled in the first round of the region meet, but dominated in wrestlebacks for the win with Robinson and Jake Elkins advancing to the state meet with top four finishes.

“There was like 21,000 people,” Robinson said. “Jake went up there with me and I’m glad I had him for the first day. If I would have been the only one there from here, that would have been rough.

“It’s pretty cool,” he added about becoming Cairo’s first state medalist. “Everybody was proud of me.”

Elliott added: “Jake had a couple of tough matches and he lost, but Dewain wrestled hard.”

The region win and Robinson’s sixth-place medal, though, have planted the roots of wrestling success in Cairo and according to Elliott, reaffirms the support the program has received.

“This is big, not only for the wrestling program but for the administrators at the middle school and the administrators at the high school that wanted this program and to the parents,” he said. “For them to see the success that the program can do is a win-win situation.”

However, the Syrupmakers’ early success is just a glimpse into the future. The wrestling program at Washington Middle School has had consecutive undefeated seasons to support the young Syrupmaker team.

“I think we may have a chance to be state champions in AAA if we all stick together,” Robinson said. “That’s what I want is a state championship.”

“We’re going to be something that has to be dealt with in the next couple years,” Elliott added.

“We put Cairo wrestling on the map.”

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