BROOKLET — The best wrestlers in the state will converge on Duluth this weekend for the GHSA championships and Southeast Bulloch will have three of its best in the hunt.
Hunter Ferguson, Robert Smith and William Reynolds were impressive during last weekend’s sectional meet in Dublin and all earned a trip to the state finals with a finish of eighth or better in their respective weight class.
“The team has really come a long way,” said SEB coach Dwayne Newland. “At the first meet of the season, we didn’t look great and I don’t think we performed as well as any of us expected. Our team saw what we needed to improve on and worked hard to get to where we are now.”
In all, seven Yellow Jacket wrestlers were able to qualify for the sectional meet with Ferguson — who wrestles in the 171-pound weight class — finishing second, Smith (189) seventh and Reynolds (285) eighth.
While sending just three competitors to the finals means there won’t be a team title for the Jackets, it is definitely a sign that the program — in just its third year of existence — is definitely headed in the right direction.
“A lot of the results from out meets don’t show how far we’ve come,’ said Newland. “When we first started out and couldn’t field a full team, you’re going to drop a lot of points.
“I’m glad to see that our guys have continued to stick with it. Wrestling is a lot of hard work and training. Maybe that’s not for everyone, but all of the guys on our squad have made that commitment.”
Being there for the beginning has stuck as a point of pride for many of SEB’s wrestlers.
Reynolds is excited for his opportunity as an individual coming up this weekend, but is also thinking ahead to what he has helped to start.
“It’s pretty cool to know that the guys wrestling right now are part of the beginning,” said Reynolds. “It will make it that much more enjoyable when I come back in a few years and see that the team is doing even better.”
The state meet will begin this morning. Preliminaries for all classifications will be held today and Friday with the championship matchups scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 689-9404.