Bearcat wrestling opens season with Ware County competition

Published 2:50 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

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The Bainbridge wrestling team opened its season over the weekend in a Ware County tournament.

The Bearcats dualed four schools in the tournament and went 0-4. Despite the record, Bearcats’ head coach Paul Coleman said he is proud of how his team progressed through the day. 

“We started slow,” Coleman said. “But they took the corrections and what I was telling them, and we almost came out with a couple of wins.”

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The Bearcats faced Brunswick and Richmond Hill in their first two matchups, falling 66-18 and 68-12. Coleman said the team got a lunch break after, and he was able to regroup and work with the team on what he saw from the morning’s matchups.

The Bearcats finished the day with matchups against Lowndes and Berrien, falling 48-33 and 41-36.

“It shows the progression that we made throughout the tournament,” Coleman said. “The boys seemed to pick up on things.”

The senior Bearcats secured most of the team’s individual wins. Seniors Layton Burris, Michael Rich and Zachary Burdick had a combined record of 8-0, all wins by pin.

“I was very proud,” Coleman said. “That right there was very promising.”

Coleman said the tournament was full of “really experienced” wrestlers and was a good learning experience for the team. Some wrestlers got on the mat for the first time, and some for the first time since last season. 

“It exposes you,” Coleman said. “A lot of the matches didn’t go our way because of the inexperience, and that’s why I chose this tournament.

Coleman mentioned he was particularly happy with how sophomore Brian Sanders responded to the tough competition. After his last match and a 1-3 record on the day, Sanders approached Coleman.

“He was like, ‘Coach, I’m really going to need you to sit down with me and talk to me and tell me, like, what I need to do,’” Coleman said. “I’m really proud of him for that.”

The Bearcats have a week of practice and an off week for Thanksgiving until they compete again. They will host a handful of teams (that Coleman is working on finalizing) on Nov. 28th in the Bainbridge Middle School Colosseum. Matches start at 4 p.m.