SAVANNAH – In just its second year as a program, the Long County Blue Tide wrestling team has advanced to the state championship duals meet for the first time as a team.
During the 2022-23 season, the team won the area championship and advanced to the sectionals round as a team. This year, due to rule changes, the top two teams automatically advance to the state meet.
On Saturday, Jan. 13, the boys team traveled to Savannah to take part in the area championship meet at Calvary Day School. Knowing they likely needed just one match victory to advance to state, the Tide went to work.
They faced off against Savannah Country Day in the first match, dominating by a score of 66-12. The only points given up to the Hornets were on forfeits due to the Tide not having wrestlers in weight classes.
The Tide took on the host Calvary Day Cavaliers in the championship match. The Cavaliers took an early lead due to a forfeit victory, but freshman Casey Dean tied the score back up at 6-6 with a pinfall victory in the first round on the mat.
The Cavaliers took the lead back on a pinfall victory before Andre Mills, the Tide’s lone state qualifier from last season and one of the top-ranked wrestlers in his weight class, lost the only round that went to points as the Cavaliers went up 15-6.
Michael Midgorden earned a pinfall victory as did TJayden Vaughn to give the Tide an 18-15 lead. Kolton Brown won by pin and the Tide got a forfeit victory to increase the lead to 30-15.
The Cavaliers won the next four matches, three by pin and one by forfeit, to take a 39-30 lead heading into the last two rounds.
Kaden Gallups got a pin to cut Calvary’s lead to 39-36. This led to the Tide needing at least a win by regular decision to tie the match and a win by major decision to win the match.
Jerome Brown lost the final match, giving the Cavaliers a 45-36 win and the region championship. Despite this, the Blue Tide finished as the second team in the area, advancing them to the state championship meet as one of the top 16 teams in the state in just their second season.
The team will travel to Dahlonega next weekend to compete in the state meet on Friday, Jan. 19 and Saturday, Jan. 20.