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Blue Devils hit the mat
SHS wrestling
Statesboro High seniors Aaron Baynon and Gabe Hardy work on their moves at practice Wednesday afternoon at Statesboro High, as they prepare for a meet this weekend. Still a relatively new program, Statesboro looks to build on its quick growth. - photo by JOSH AUBREY

Statesboro wrestling coach Bo Viness was pleasantly surprised by the Blue Devils success last season. With a team comprised of many freshmen and juniors the Blue Devils advanced to the State Duals. This year most of those same wrestlers return, and coach Viness has been pleased with how things have started this year.

“Those freshmen are now sophomores, and the junior are seniors,” Viness said. “We already have 19 wins this year, and expectations are even higher. We compete in a tough region, but our kids are ready.”

The Blue Devils are paced by some talented seniors. Senior Aaron Baynon (152 lbs.) is 29-4 and on pace to break the single season wins record. Baynon also just finished in second place at the Rebel Invitational in Effingham County. 

Seniors Gabe Hardy (126lbs.), Noah Brannen (195lbs), and Trey Van den Bosch (138 lbs) are all coming off third place finishes at the Rebel Invitational.

“We are really riding our seniors right now,” Viness said. “We are not only counting on their leadership, but they are also coming through for us on the mat.”

Friday and Saturday the Blue Devils will be hosting 14-team individual tournament. Last year the Blue Devils won this same tournament, and Viness is hoping for the same kind of success this weekend.

“I was a little surprised by our success here last year,” Viness said. “This time around we will probably be the favorites, and it’s important we are ready for the challenges.”

Gate will open at 2:30 for admission on Friday and 8:00 am on Saturday. Wrestling begins at 3:30 on Friday and at 9:00 am Saturday. Admission is $7 per day or $10 for a 2-day pass.