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Middle School wrestlers win first matches

Seventeen of 20 Bainbridge Middle School Bearcat wrestlers won their first matches recently on their way to a strong performance at the Lowndes County Vikings Challenge, the most recognized middle school wrestling tournament in the area.

Bearcats head middle school wrestling coach Chad Smith said his team—made up of wrestlers from Hutto and West Bainbridge middle schools, went into the Lowndes County tournament with only one match under their belt.

“It seemed our wrestlers were their to prove themselves to wrestlers from Georgia and Florida,” Smith said. “After a few rounds, eight Bearcat wrestlers had made it into the semifinals and were in position to bring home medals.”

Entering the final rounds, Blake Merchant, wrestling in the 115-pound weight class; Justin Faulk, wrestling in the 98-pound weight class; Jerome Jones, wrestling in the 105-pound weight class, and Jose Ramos, wrestling in the 155-pound weight class, were all undefeated.

Bearcats entering the semifinals with one loss were Charles Emmanuel, Hunter Long, Grayson Heard and George Clemons, who all finished strong but out of the medal rounds.

Smith said each of his medal-round wrestlers went into their matches very prepared.

“Blake Merchant went into his final two matches pumped, ready and determine, but fell short with a first round loss,” Smith said. “He showed great heart and will continue to improve as the season goes on.”

Faulk was very strong and consistent, but lost his final two matches, one by technical decision and the other by pin. Both of his matches went into the third round, Smith said.

Smith said Jerome Jones showed great determination by running through his opponents until he lost in the semifinals to Suwannee County in the second round. He ended up with a third-place medal.

“Jose Ramos was our only Bearcat to wrestle for first and second place in the finals,” Smith said. “He went into the third round before falling to his opponent by technical decision. He finished the tournament with the silver medal.

“I was extremely proud of our middle school Bearcats this past weekend. We were a team of 20 wrestlers against a field of more than 2,000 wrestlers. The students performances were excellent. They showed heart, determination and pride to be Bearcat wrestlers.”