Coming off the best season in the history of the Brunswick High wrestling program, the Pirates may be even better this year.
Brunswick finished fifth at the GHSA Team Duals, and 10th at the Traditional Wrestling State Tournament, this past season, and after rolling Statesboro 53-21 on Wednesday, its improved to 14-1 on this season.
“This was a little mid-week tuneup match against a decent team,” said Pirates second-year head coach Tommy Bartolotta. “We were missing a couple of key guys not wrestling tonight, and wrestling kids out of certain spots, but we had a good time, and we’re looking forward to next weekend, we’re going to have some good duals down in Florida.”
Brunswick got wins from Trent Burke (pin), Peter McKinney (pin), Jeremiah Dawson (tech), Cameron Crump (fall), Amari Mangram (fall), and Leon Charlton (fall) — the latter of which defeated Statesboro’s top wrestler in a battle at 160.
Twelve Pirates qualified for the state tournament last season, and Bartolotta believes Charlton’s got a chance to do the same his sophomore year.
“Charlton is very good,” Bartolotta said. “If he can stay consistent, he has a shot of placing at state.”
Brunswick opened its season at the Locus Grove Invitational last month before going on to finish a perfect 5-0 at the South Effingham Duals a few weeks later. The Pirates’ lone loss this season came last weekend at the Jeff Davis dual meet, where they finished 8-1 with the one loss coming at the hands of meet winner Oglethorpe.
Over the next few weeks, Brunswick will compete several more times as it prepares for the Area II duals Jan. 10. State duals is set for Jan. 16-18.
Despite losing traditional state champion Trace Insalaco, it’s been the hard work of the high-character Pirate wrestlers that have Brunswick in position to push the program even higher.
“Just being consistent, doing a lot of stuff over the summer and offseason, having a lot of good athletes,” Bartolotta said. “We’ve got good kids out here wrestling.”