Tom Bartolotta had high expectations when he took over the Brunswick High wrestling program this season.
His goal was to field a team large enough to fill all 14 weight categories and have depth at every position. He also wanted a team of dedicated athletes willing to show up to practice every day and work hard to improve every day.
So far, the Pirates are 11-1 in duals meets, with convincing wins over teams throughout the region. The team is also guaranteed a spot in the state duals championships, Bartolotta said.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “It’s a great team.”
The team has enough depth that wrestlers are still competing for some of the starting jobs.
“It’s still a little competitive in some spots,” he said.
Bartolotta said the team’s success has generated more interest and enthusiasm among fans.
“People are talking,” he said. “People are very excited. It’s just the beginning.”
Bartolotta said his wrestlers are buying into the program and they understand the work necessary to be successful.
His wrestlers will compete in several tournaments before the Christmas holidays and get plenty of competition.
“They will see a lot of matches and bond,” he said. “You learn a lot about the wrestlers at a tournament.”
The Glynn Academy wrestling program is off to a slower start, 0-4 in duals meets, but coach Adam Winkler said two of those losses were tie breakers that could have easily gone the Terrors’ way.
All the team’s weight classes are filled, but Winker said several wrestlers struggled to maintain their weight and were unable to compete. The newer wrestlers are still learning some of the sport’s nuances.
“A lot of wrestling is counter intuitive,” he said. “You have to get into that wrestling mindset.”
The Terrors will compete in the 18th annual Rebel Invitational where most of the Region 2-6A teams are expected to compete. The tournament is a good place to scout wrestlers who Winker’s athletes might face later in the event or at other meets.
“It gets progressively more difficult at the tournament goes on,” he said. “We’re going to see these teams at the state meet.”