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Toombs Co Wrestling Team Wins- Dedication to Late "Mat Dogs" Coach
Monday, 27 January 2014

January 27— The Toombs County Wrestling Team ended the regular season in fine fashion by winning the 6th annual Bulldog Sweet Onion Invitational.  The tournament featured eighteen teams from across the state.  Toombs finished five and a half points ahead of second place West Laurens avenging last week’s one point loss at the Shamrock Scuffle in Dublin.  Turner County finished third and Jeff Davis finished fourth.


Bulldog Wrestling Team After The Sweet Onion Invitational

The Bulldogs put seven wrestlers in the finals and had nine placers overall.  J.D. Rogers (195 lbs.) finished first and was also named Outstanding Wrestler in the upper weights.  J.J. Arredondo (106 lbs.) and Jamar Smith (220 lbs.) were also tournament champions for the Mat Dogs.  Finishing second were Raphael Florez (113 lbs.), Justin Hall (120 lbs.), Solomon McLeod (152 lbs.), and Erion Gaffney (182 lbs.).  Eric Hester (285 lbs.) finished third and Jose Delgado (170 lbs.) finished fourth.

J.D. Rogers put the Bulldogs on top in the championship round by pinning Cameron Jackson from West Laurens. Jamar Smith sealed the tournament victory with a pin against the South Effingham 220 lbs. wrestler win the very next match.

The tournament started Friday night with a somber dedication to the late Brad Bell.  Bell was a fixture in the Bulldog wrestling family as a dedicated supporter of the Toombs wrestling program.  He ran every tournament the Toombs program hosted on computer and traveled to every match on the road to keep stats.  The dedication presented to Bell’s wife, Gina, and his entire family a plaque that will be put on the Bulldog Wall of Fame, as well as a picture of Bell.  A memorial seat cover will be displayed at every home wrestling event.  Bell died tragically in a single car accident on Thanksgiving Day.


Late Bulldog Wrestling Coach Brad Bell

Coach Bradley Benton commented on the ceremony: “The best thing to happen to Toombs County wrestling this weekend was not winning our tournament.  The best thing that happened to us was the chance we had to honor Brad Bell and his family.  Words can’t describe the impact he had on our wrestling family.  He was a fixture in our program for ten years giving his time and talent, but mostly just giving of himself so freely.  He volunteered his time and never asked for anything in return.  He was just a true giver.  He may be gone but he will never be forgotten.  I am glad he will always be on our Wall of Fame.  Our season is dedicated to him and I am glad we were able to give Gina and his family something tangible to show how much we loved him.”

Benton went on to comment on the tournament.  “It was so gratifying to end the regular season with a win in this tournament.  We had a bad taste in our mouths after last week and to come in here and win is just a testament of how bad our guys wanted it.  I don’t feel like it was our most complete effort of the year, but we won some big matches when we needed it the most.  J.D. won a big semi-final match and then the pin against West Laurens was huge.  We lost that match, we lost the tournament.  Jamar followed with a win to put a lock on the tournament.  I was glad we were able to get thirty Toombs wrestlers on the mat as we entered a JV team and some extras in this tournament.  I can’t say enough about our JV guys.  They stuck with us all season and got plenty of matches.  We accomplished our goal of getting the consistent mat time the whole season.  It is a must if we want to remain on top.  These guys are our future and the future is bright.”

“I would like to encourage the community to come watch the Area tournament we will be hosting this weekend.  Sixteen teams from our area will compete starting Friday afternoon and finishing up Saturday.  I would love to send all fourteen wrestlers through to the sectional and your support would be appreciated," stated Coach Benton.


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