Southern Columbia's nine state qualifiers pose for a picture during Wednesday night's practice session at the Giant Center.


Press Enterprise Writer

(Written after Saturday, March 9)

HERSHEY — After Southern Columbia finished second at the team state tournament last month, head coach Jerry Marks had one goal in mind: getting his guys on the podium at the individual state tournament a month later.

And that’s exactly what Southern did, as the Tigers finished with a gold, silver and bronze medal, as well as two fourth-place finishes and one seventh-place finish.

Gaige Garcia (195 pounds) took first, Kole Biscoe (113) got second, Preston Zachman (220) was third, Gavin Garcia (145) and Lear Quinton (285) placed fourth, and Cade Linn (160) finished seventh.

Benton’s Gable Strickland (113) battled back after a quarterfinal loss to finish fifth, winning a 3-0 decision over South East regional champion Adam Jacob of East Pennsboro on Saturday.

Southern’s Biscoe tied the program’s record for the highest finish by a freshman, as he took second place after falling to Forest Hills’ Jackson Arrington in the final.

“It was a great weekend, but there again, I’m never satisfied,” said Biscoe, who finishes his first varsity season with a 46-7 record. “I refuse to smile with second because obviously first is the goal, and I have a lot of stuff to improve on, especially my strength and my offensive game.”

Biscoe handled defeat with an impressive level of maturity, acknowledging his motivation for next season.

“It’s definitely fueling the fire for next year, there’s no doubt,” Biscoe said. “It’s going to push me in the offseason especially. You can’t just be doing the basics. You have to be doing everything to be the best in the state. It’s definitely going to fuel the fire.”

Zachman dominated a familiar foe, Montoursville’s Cameron Wood, who beat Southern’s 220-pounder twice this year by narrow decisions, this time getting revenge for a 10-2 major decision to place third despite weighing around 200 pounds.

“This has been an awesome experience,” Zachman said. “It’s my first time being here, and I wasn’t really expecting anything and got to finish third in the state. Being 20 pounds lighter than most of my opponents is just a great accomplishment.”

Gavin Garcia and Quinton dropped their third-place bouts, 3-0 and 3-1, respectively, but still helped Southern place in the top six in five different weight classes.

It was the first state tournament appearance for both.

Cade Linn won his place match with a solid 9-0 major decision to claim seventh for the second straight year.

“I’ll use seventh place as motivation for next year to get higher up on that podium,” Linn said. “It’ll be a busy offseason for sure.”

Marc Malkoskie covers sports for the Press Enterprise. He may be reached at 570-387-1234, ext. 1338, or by email at Follow him on Twitter at @mmalkoskie.