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Gators claim fourth straight region title
Grappling Gators win
The Bulloch Academy wrestling team poses for a group photo after claiming the Region 2-AAA championship Thursday night at Gator Alley. This is the team's fourth consecutive region championship. - photo by Special to the Herald

    Bulloch Academy wrestlers won an incredible 12 of 14 weight classes en route to capturing the team’s fourth consecutive region title Thursday.
The Gators racked up 146 points for the GISA Region 2-AAA victory. Pinewood Christian was second with 64 points while Trinity Christian of Dublin and Robert Toombs tied for third with 50 points each. Memorial Day School of Savannah was fifth.
    “It’s been a goal since we won it three years ago,” said BA head wrestling coach Andy Tomlin. “You want to do it every year. No one wants to get second.”
    Seniors Justin Lane (132) and Dylan Stuckey (182) captured their fifth straight region titles. Other region champions were freshman Kyle Samuels (106), freshman Hunter Marlowe (113), freshman Billy Tillman (126), junior Joshua Bohannon (138), senior Drew Salter (145), freshman Skyler Shuman (152), sophomore Garrett Williams (170), freshman Seth Conner (195), sophomore Tyce Lovett (220), and sophomore G.C. Kimbrell (285). Region runner-up honors went to freshman Lawson Anderson (120) and senior Jake Hagan (160).
    “I just want to thank the fans who came out,” said Tomlin, who was honored at the end of the tournament as the region Coach of the Year. “The crowd was jacked and the atmosphere was unreal. It was awesome and really pumped up our wrestlers. Most of the wins were by pins.”
    All 14 Gator wrestlers advance to next weekend’s state traditional tournament at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus. The double-elimination event starts Friday night.
    “We have 12 number one seeds,” said the BA head man. “They either get a bye or wrestle a fourth-seed from another region. In order for us to win, we have to have our young guys step up.”
    For Lane, Stuckey, Salter and Hagan, the meet will be the final one in their illustrious careers. BA won the traditional state title in 2012 and finished second in 2011, ’13 and ‘14.  Tomlin has challenged the seniors to lead the younger grapplers.
    “With our six freshmen and three sophomores, we are starting to see the products of our elementary and middle school program,” said Tomlin. “We are going to do our best next weekend.
    “We divided the last couple of weeks into three steps,” he continued. “Step one was the region tournament. Step two will be the first day of the state tournament. The guys have got to start off strong. Step three will be the final day. They have also got to finish strong. If you are in the hole Friday night (in the losers’ bracket or behind in team points), you’ve got to step it up Saturday.”