Middle-school wrestlers finish strong

Published 5:09 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Bainbridge Middle School Bearcats wrestling team posted victories over the Thomas County Central Middle School Yellow Jackets and Pelham Middle School Hornets last Wednesday in Pelham, Ga., before wrapping up their season with a strong performance at the Turner County Middle School Invitational Tournament in Ashburn, Ga., on Saturday.

Bearcats coach Chad Smith said his team was ready for the post-holiday challenge in Pelham.

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“It seemed after the holidays that the boys were itching to get back on the mat and it showed as we slammed Thomas County Central in the first match and were equally as dominant against Pelham in the second match,” he said.

Bearcats posting wins against Thomas County Central were Jamori Register, Bennett Enfinger, Nick Hancock, Jose Garcia, Hunter Odom, Karenski Williams, Dustin Moore, Tyler Biggles, Ryan Adams and Hunter Strickland.

“I saw some real drive and intensity from some of the wrestlers that I knew had it in them,” Smith said, following the Thomas County Central match. “We were dominant again in the second match against Pelham. It looked as though Bainbridge Middle School was going to sweep the match and they almost did.”

Winners in the Pelham match were Bryce Kelly, Nick Hancock, Hunter Odom, Karenski Williams, Dustin Moore, Tyler Biggles, Hunter Strickland, Ladarius Garnes, Austin White and Bryce Vaughn.

“We have some very talented first-year wrestlers who have become our go-to men when we need to win,” Smith said. “Wrestlers such as Karenski Williams have really stepped up and shown they want to be the best and will do whatever it takes to learn and win.” In the Turner County tournament, the Bearcats and Turner County were joined by teams from Appling County, Telfair County, Fitzgerald, Pelham and Irwin County.

“With this being our last outing of the season, I knew the boys would give a little extra effort.” Smith said, following the Turner County tournament. “We advanced 12 of 14 wrestlers to the second round and into the quarterfinals. In round two, we advanced 11 of 12 wrestlers into the finals, where they competed for medals.”

In the finals, returning wrestlers Tyler Biggles and Jose Garcia captured first place and went undefeated.

Nick Hancock finished second and Austin White, Grayson Graham and Hunter Odom all finished third. First-year wrestlers Jamori Register, Bryce Vaughn, and Karenski Williams finished fourth.

Bennett Enfinger finished second and Hunter Strickland finished third.

Smith praised his young middle school wrestlers for their performances in Pelham and Ashburn.

“I was extremely proud of our final two performances,” he said. “This group of boys will rank among the best I have had at the middle-school level. Several have a big future ahead as Bainbridge High School Bearcat wrestlers.”