9 TCHS Bulldog wrestlers earn a trip to the state tourney

After a weekend of wrestling in the Toombs County High School Gym, nine Bulldogs advanced through their brackets at the GHSA 2A Section A to move on to the GHSA State Traditional Tournament at the Macon Centreplex on February 14, 15 and 16.

The round of 12 will be on Thursday, February 14 from 10 a.m. to 11:45. The semifinals are Friday, February 15 from noon to 1:30 and all finals will begin on Saturday, February 16 at 3 p.m.

Toombs County placed six wrestlers in the semifinals and wound up with two sectional champions. Ricardo Santana (132 pounds) and Rolando Tinoco (285 pounds) each won their weight divisions.

Jose Balderas (106 pounds) finished third, Cruz Arredondo (113 pounds) and Martin Santana (126 pounds) each placed fourth, Isaiah Wright fifth and Arael Rodriquez (138 pounds), Chandler Lynn (152 pounds) and Devante Willis (220 pounds) sixth.

The Champs

132 pounds- Ricardo Santana will head to Macon seeking his third straight state championship and Toombs County High School has never had a three-time state champ. On Friday Ricardo won with a bye and a first period pin. On Saturday he won his semifinal match with a second period pin and then he met Fitzgerald’s Chance Miller for the second straight Saturday.

In the finals of the Area 1 Tournament Santana pinned Miller 35 seconds into the second period. At TCHS the match went all three periods with Santana winning 9-5.

“I don’t really think about pinning or points,” Santana said. “I am just trying to wrestle. If he takes me down I am going to try and figure out how I am going to get up and for neutral I am just trying to defend it and if I see a shot in there I will take the shot and hopefully it will go my way.”

Rolando Tinoco (right) escapes
Rolando Tinoco celebrates
Rolando Tinoco is very excited
Rolando Tinoco has his arm raised in victory

285 pounds- Rolando Tinoco earned his second trip to Macon with a first place finish. On Friday he advanced with a bye and a 7-1 win. On Saturday he pinned an opponent just 51 seconds into the first period to move to the finals. In the first place match Rolando pulled out a 2-1 victory in the final seconds over Chattooga’s Luis Medina.

“We were tied 1-1 and I was on bottom.” Tinoco said. “All I had to do was get out. That guy was very good on top and I respect him. I kept moving like Brooks (assistant coach Brooks Climmons) teaches us and I just got out in the last couple of seconds.”

Jose Balderas on top
Martin Santana (left) works his opponent
Devante Willis (right) in his fifth place match