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Gator wrestlers finish third in Region 3 Duals
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Bulloch Academy junior David Poole works to pin David Emanuel’s Ashton Lanier in the second period of their match in the 171-pound classification of the Region 3 Duals Tuesday. - photo by RAHN HUTCHESON/Special
    Good individual wrestling performances highlighted the team-oriented Region 3 duals Tuesday in Bulloch Academy’s gymnasium.
    Windsor Academy of Macon won the team title while Trinity Christian School of Dublin finished second. Both teams advance to the GISA State Duals this weekend. Host Bulloch Academy placed third while David Emanuel Academy was fourth.
    “This doesn’t affect our guys’ participation as individual competitors in the state traditional tournament at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville (Feb. 8-9),” said BA coach Andy Tomlin. “However, for the first time that we’ve ever participated in a region duals competition, in arguably the toughest region in the state, we did well. I was pleased.”
    For Bulloch, senior Michael Kimbrell had the best match of the day as he upset Trinity Christian’s Kyle Wrey in the 130-pound classification. Wrey is the Region 3 champion at the weight and was last season’s state champion.
    “Michael is a warrior on the mat,” Tomlin said of the three-year wrestler who is a former state champion and has placed in the top four in the other two seasons. “His technique is almost as good as his strength. Michael has one of the best forms I’ve seen in quite some time.”
    Kimbrell’s stunning first-period pin of Wrey was Bulloch’s only contested victory against Trinity in the opening match. The Gators didn’t field wrestlers at several weight classifications and Crusader grapplers took five of six matches from Bulloch. Blaine Lovett was pinned by Matthew Boles (103), Gordon Beasley was pinned by John Luke Canada (112), Elliott Mooney was pinned by Seth Nicholson (135) and Matthew Weigel pinned Taylor Lanier (145).
Once Trinity had enough points to win the match, the TCS coaches decided to forfeit the remaining places to save their wrestlers for the championship round against Windsor. The final score was 54-30.
    In the consolation match, Bulloch nipped David Emanuel 42-33. Bulloch wrestlers won three matches and lost two while BA picked up four forfeit wins to DEA’s three.
    Lovett picked up a hard-fought win at 103 with a second-round pin of Chase McCook. Beasley succumbed to Alex Roberson (112) in the second round. Kimbrell (130) and Mooney (135) both won by forfeits. Lanier pinned Ridge Holland (145) in the first period but Codi Johnson lost on points (12-5) to Michael Holloway in the 152-pound division.
    Eli Strickland (160) and Nathan Brown (189) got forfeit victories while David Poole, the region champion at 171, looked like a man possessed as he faced Ashton Lanier.
    “Poole was dominating as ever,” Tomlin said Poole’s second-period pin against Lanier. “It’s always a full effort with Poole; fast and furious, quick and intense. It’s a lot like a dog fight.”
    Bulloch Academy wrestlers end their season on Feb. 8-9 when they participate in the GISA Traditional Tournament at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville.