Brunswick High’s wrestling team had three guys sign with Life University, an NAIA school out of Atlanta, on Thursday in front of their friends, families and their new coaches.

Coach Tommy Bartolotta and assistant coach Larry Insalaco also told the crowd how Cameron Crump, Jeremiah Dawson and William Abbott were three pieces of the puzzle to the record-breaking wrestling season.

Brunswick High won their first dual and traditional region titles. They also finished in the top five at the state traditional meet and fourth at state duals. The Pirates had seven all-state placers, the most in GHSA 6A — including all three of these signees.

All three will be joining Life University, which won the NAIA national championship in wrestling, and their head coach Omi Acosta was the 2021 Coach of the Year. Since Life is an NAIA school, the coaches are allowed to see the players sign and be a part of their day. Acosta said he is excited for these three to get to Atlanta.

“The special thing about these guys — they have the GPA that it takes to be a student-athlete. They’re already ready academically, and then the wrestling just speaks for itself with them being all-state placers — that’s what we’re looking for,” Acosta said. “Beyond the grades, and beyond the athletics, they’re good people.

“There’s nothing like having a student-athlete; you don’t have to worry about them getting in trouble. They just want to go to school, get a degree and wrestling — in that order. So I’m truly thankful for both coaches, and I’m excited to get them to go to work.”

Coach Insalaco put together a presentation that laid out all of the things each guy achieved during their time as a Brunswick Pirate and about Life University.

“Life is very concerned with academics even though they’re at the highest level it could be as a national champ,” Insalaco said. “Their university is very successful athletically but still very concerned with academics also.”

Bartolotta couldn’t say enough about how great these three wrestlers are. Still, he also wanted to thank Insalaco and said he did a great job putting together the PowerPoint for the signing ceremony.

“I want to thank coach Insalaco for helping these boys get signed, taking them up there and giving them a tour — meeting these coaches,” Bartolotta said. “These guys, they’re great wrestlers, kids, students, and it’s a great path for future kids to follow.

“Cameron Crump is the hardest working kid that I coach and gets after it every day, and he does that in the classroom. Jeremiah is very passionate about the sport. He loves the wrestle. He’s grown quite a bit. Will Abbott has got tremendous potential.”

All three signees were excited about signing with Life as they had their own experience during their visit.

Crump, who is planning on studying exercise science, said he wasn’t sure about it, but the passion was there after the visit.

“Personally, I wouldn’t say I wasn’t looking forward to wrestling at first, but after actually going out and visiting, getting to practice at the university, I found a passion for it, and I love that I get to continue that.”

Dawson said he’s happy because he found his path in life to take and the support he’s gotten along the way.

“It means a lot to me because of where I come from. Everybody always takes a different pathway, so I took this pathway, and it actually worked,” Dawson said. “I stayed with it, and everybody kept motivated to keep going, and I got better and finally got offered.”

As for Abbott, Life seems to be a place where he can be himself and live free, and he is excited for this journey as he plans on majoring in bio-psychology and minoring in psychology itself.

“I feel old, but I’m very excited for the next step, honestly. It’s going to be one heck of experience and ride,” Abbott said. “I love how most of the campus is preserved to nature, and nobody really judges you there, honestly. I saw a lot of people just going to the gym and just doing them and getting their work done. So a lot of people don’t judge. It’s just free.”

These three left their mark on Brunswick High and were part of a historic season, and now they’ll get to continue their wrestling journey in college.

More from this section

The VB 10,000 steered clear of its cutting position astride the shipwrecked Golden Ray in the St. Simons Sound on Saturday morning, pausing for maintenance work on the massive 255-foot-tall crane vessel, said U.S. Coast Guardsman Michael Himes, spokesman for Unified Command.

The two biggest Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce fundraisers of the year, Chamber Experience and Business & Bites, have been combined into one event for the first time. And it won’t be the last.