Bulldog wrestling has grown from five wrestlers in 2002 to an amazing 35 showing up for the competition Tuesday, Nov. 30 in Valdosta. According to assistant wrestling coach Larry Hart, there were even four or five that didn't attend. The varsity team has 14 members and 21 JV wrestlers went to Valdosta. The varsity team is still without a wrestler for the 103 weightclass, but are hoping that contender will get his grades up enough to make the team.

Even after forfeiting the 103 weightclass, Suwannee defeated Valdosta 38-29. The Dogs posted four pins scoring 18 points for the Dog team and one pin on points which was worth five points. The JV wrestlers also defeated the Valdosta JV 32-24.

The match began with the 145 weightclass. Lee Laxton took to the mat for Suwannee in this class. Laxton wrestled in that class last year as well. After a good year starting for the first time on the Bulldog football team defense, Laxton looked more aggressive this year as he attacked his opponent. It was a long, tough match but Laxton held on to win the match on points 2-1.

Greg Boyle wrestled next for the Dogs in the 152 weightclass. Boyle got in trouble early and ended up losing 17-7.

Preston Hart, Suwannee's state champ, moved up a weightclass. Last year Hart wrestled at 152. This year he's taking on heavier opponents at 160. The additional weight didn't seem to bother Hart at all. He approached his opponent with his usual slick, technically awesome style, using moves the Valdosta wrestler had probably never seen. Hart easily pinned his opponent in the second round.

Casey Osborne, back from last year, wrestled for Suwannee in the 171 weight class. Osborne took out his opponent in the first round with another Suwannee pin.

Justin Mowls wrestled for the Dogs next. Mowls wrestled for the first time last year and has improved. Mowls wrestled in the 189 weightclass and fought hard but was pinned in the second round.

Michael Wright fought a hard battle for the Dogs in the 215 weightclass. Wright got into trouble, got out of trouble, but ended up losing the match on points to Valdosta.

Kris Kerns, also back from last year, came out like a house on fire. Kerns wrestles in the 285 weightclass. Kerns in great shape after a good football season, really rushed his opponent and pinned his man early in the first round.

Suwannee then had to forfeit the 103 weightclass and Levi Wainwright, up from middle school wrestling took to the mat in the 112 weightclass. Levi Wainwright pinned his man in seconds. The team score for the Dogs went to 27-19.

The next wrestler up for Suwannee was Caleb Sanders. Sanders wrestled in the 119 weightclass and was pinned in the first round.

Caleb Wainwright, wrestling at 125, fought a tough wrestler from Valdosta. Wainwright was tied 5-5 going into the second round but came on strong in the third and finished, winning on points 15-8. That win sent the Suwannee team score to 30-25.

David Sanders returned for the Dogs in the 130 weightclass. Sanders struggled but lost on points. That made the team score 30-29.

Barney Wainwright, a state qualifier from last year, took the mat next. Wainwright looked strong coming out in the 135 weightclass, up from the 125 he wrestled in last year. Barney Wainwright hammered his Valdosta opponent getting a technical pin in the middle of the third period when he led by 16 points, 19-3. After this match the team total went to 35-29 Suwannee.

William McCrimon, Willy Mac, was Suwannee's last wrestler. McCrimon was wrestling in the 140 weightclass up from 135 last year. McCrimon looked good but struggled some against his powerful Valdosta opponent. McCrimon was tied 2-2 after the first round but jumped ahead and won on points 7-5.

The final score was 38-29 Bulldogs.

Suwannee wrestling goes to the Iron Cat Duals in Baker County on Dec. 10-11.

Janet Schrader may be reached by calling 1/386/362-1734 ext. 134 or by e-mail at janet.schrader@gaflnews.com.

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