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Gators wipe the mat with Burke Co., Pinewood
011618 BA WRESTLING 02
Bulloch Academy's Hunter Marlowe, top, gets a pin on Burke County's James Cook in the 138-pound class during Tuesday's tri-meet at Gator Alley.

    The Bulloch Academy Gators are four-time defending GISA state champions and haven't missed many opportunities to remind others of that fact this season.

    The Gators crushed Burke County and Pinewood on Tuesday by scores of 63-12 and 69-6, respectively, to run their duals record to 21-1 on the season as the region and state meets loom just over the horizon.

    "Although we had a convincing win at the Trinity tournament last weekend, I felt like we were a little sluggish and complacent," BA coach Andy Tomlin said. "Some of our guys took their first losses of the season and it was a wakeup call. It seemed like we all woke up tonight and wrestled like what we're capable of."

    In addition to the four consecutive state crowns, the Gators have also claimed six straight region championships and haven't finished worse than runners-up at the state meet since 2010.

    That kind of consistency comes from the early start that BA wrestlers get. When Tomlin started the program, he was sure to build up interest and participation at the earliest ages instead of only focusing on his varsity squad. And the Gators are sure to include their youngest participants right alongside the state champs.

    "The elementary kids had a dual going on with the rec department and the middle school took on Pinewood," Tomlin said. "Everyone got better tonight, from the first graders, all the way up to our outgoing seniors."

    Tomlin singled out 195-pounder Thomas 'Tinky' Bowen, who notched a comeback win in the final seconds of his match.

    The varsity Gators head to the coast this weekend for the Islands High Shark fights while the middle school team goes to state in Americus.