Bulloch Academy is no stranger to success on the wrestling mat, but this season offers a whole new host of opponents for the Gators to stack up
A new joint ruling by the GISA and GHSA now allows schools from the separate organizations to cross over and compete with one another.
The Gators won the GISA Class AAA state title in 2012 and also have a handful of runner-up finishes to their name. With a number of their main rivals over the past few seasons making the leap to GHSA, this ruling is being welcomed by the Bulloch Academy Gatorsas a chance to test itself in deeper waters.
“The biggest thing is that it gets us more matches,” BA coach Andy Tomlin said. “In GISA, we have to travel two and three hours to compete against top competition. This is allowing us to do a lot more, especially early in the season.”
Playing the bigger schools in GHSA hasn’t proven to be too much of a burden so far.
The Gators dominated matches against Southeast Bulloch and Swainsboro last week.
Beginning at 9 a.m. today, the Gators will host a pair of Statesboro High squads, the Islands High team, a South Carolina school and familiar GISA rival Tiftarea in a duel-style meet.
“Last year, we finished second in the state,” Tomlin said. “Not to make excuses, but I don’t think we had the focus. Competing against these bigger schools is really pressing our guys and getting them to grow where we might not have last year.”
Leading the way into the season for Bulloch will be two-time individual state champions Dylan Stuckey and Justin Lane, along with Joshua Bohannon, who won an individual title in 2013.
Drew Salter and Jake Hagan were listed by Tomlin as fellow mentors who are turning the success of the last few years into an up-and-coming dynasty.
“We’ve got a great mix,” Tomlin said. “There are young guys and old guys. Strong guys and finesse guys. Most importantly, I think we’ve got a team that is hungry to get back to the top.”
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.