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Extra effort
Conditioning regimen has Panthers' Farris eyeing a state title

LILBURN - Twice a week Brian Farris begins his day in the Parkview wrestling room at 6:30 a.m.

He doesn't like being there, but he knows if he wants to be a state champion he needs to be there.

Farris, along with the rest of his varsity teammates, is running sprints and doing agility drills for half an hour before school.

The extra conditioning began in early December and no one has benefited from it more than Farris. After playing football, Farris had two days of practice before he started wrestling. It was quite an adjustment going from four quarters of football to wrestling for six minutes.

In his first tournament of the season, Farris lost two matches in the same day.

"(Farris) was all mad afterwards and wanted to break stuff," Parkview coach Tom Beuglas said. "I told him to quit being an idiot and let's use that as motivation to start working hard."

Two weeks later, Farris wrestled Collins Hill's David Coffey, one of the top heavyweights in the state, and lost in overtime. Still trying to get in shape, conditioning was a big factor for Farris.

After that, the morning workouts started. Farris began to notice the results pretty quickly. He won the McCallie Invitational (Tenn.) the next weekend and the following weekend got a rematch with Coffey in the county finals.

The match went to four overtimes and Farris eventually won 3-2.

"The first time I wrestled Coffey I was dead before the third period came. I went into overtime and I was ready for it to end," Farris said. "Then when I wrestled him the second time, I was hyped up for the whole match. I could definitely feel a difference."

Farris has since had his way with every heavyweight in the state. He's 42-4, but three of those losses came from opponents outside Georgia.

It's pretty impressive for Farris to be doing so well in 285-pound weight class considering he only weighs about 210 pounds.

"For his weight, he's got to be one of the strongest in the state pound-for-pound," Beuglas said. "He's incredibly strong and real athletic. He can move like a kid that weighs like 155 or 160, but he weighs 210. He's one of the few around like that."

Because Farris has the ability to wrestle in the 215-pound weight class and his matches with Coffey have been so close, Farris could wrestle the lighter weight class.

"I think at heavyweight (Farris and Coffey) are two of the top two guys," Beuglas said. "He can beat Coffey, but Coffey can beat him on any given day. He's earned the right to kind of choose (which class to wrestle at state). We're going to try and hit everybody and see what gives him his best opportunity to choose."

Farris' top competition at 215 would be East Coweta's Christian Flavin, who Farris defeated by forfeit last weekend in the finals at Eagle's Landing.

"Heavy I can win, but the weight difference is so much even if I'm a lot better than someone, the match can be different because of the weight difference," Farris said. "At 215 I'm just decking people, so I like that."

Which weight class to wrestle is not Farris' only big decision. The senior also has to decide his college future. A two-year starter on the defensive line in football, Farris is now considering a college wrestling career.

He's looked at Ole Miss, Coastal Carolina, Appalachian State, Catawba and LaGrange College for football choices. But Appalachian State is a possibility with its wrestling program, one of the best in the Southeast.

"I like them both - football and wrestling," Farris said. "I'd have to say as far as the glory goes, I like wrestling a lot better. Wrestling is tough. You get to physically beat down your opponent. It's probably wrong to say, but I enjoy it."

Whatever school or weight class Farris decides on, his mission for the rest of this year is simple - a return to the state finals. Last season he lost to Grayson's James Boatright in the finals.

"It's been hard for me. I got that far last year, it was my first year on varsity and I wasn't expecting to get that far and to lose in the finals was hard," Farris said. "I've been trying to get in a lot better shape and I'm focused on getting first this year."

SideBar: The Farris File

· Who: Brian Farris

· Sport: Wrestling

· School: Parkview

· Class: Senior

· Favorite movies: "Friday Night Lights" and "We Are Marshall"

· Favorite food: Seafood

· Favorite athlete: Hulk Hogan

· Favorite music artist: Kid Rock

· Noteworthy:

· Has a 42-4 record this season

· Won heavyweight Gwinnett County championship

· Has won Southern Slam, McCallie, Chattahoochee and Eagle's Landing tournaments

· Placed second at state tournament last year

· Two-year starter on football team

· Bench presses 365 pounds and squats 500