February 19-- The Toombs County High School Bulldogs wrestling team sent 8 wrestlers to the GHSA State AA Traditional Championships at the Certreplex in Macon last week with Ricardo Santana coming home with a State Championship and the team taking fourth place.

Santana won his third straight State Championship, placing him in rarefied air in the Toombs Program. Bryan Benton is now the only Bulldog wrestler to win more championships as he won a title in all four years at TCHS. With the Championship win Santana also finished the year with a perfect 59-0 record.

Santana (132 lbs.) had a bye in the first round, and in the quarterfinals he won a tough 4-0 decision over Landon Camp of Pepperell. Santana got a pin to win his semifinals match over Irbin Olmos of Elbert County, setting him up to face Chance Mitchell of Fitzgerald in the finals.

These two met in the Sectional finals with Santana winning a 9-5 decision. This time around Santana won by a larger margin, 7-1, over Mitchell to claim his third straight State Championship.

Two other Bulldogs also made it to the finals, but lost their Championship match to take second place at State.

Jose Balderas (106) quickly won his opening match by pin just 53 seconds in over Mason Monte of Screven County. Balderas won in the quarterfinals by technical fall over Pierce Fincher of Model and then won by pin over Tyler Post of Social Circle in the semifinals.

That set up Balderas to face Griffin Jarrett of Chattooga. Jarrett handed Balderas his only loss in the Sectionals, and he bested him again at the State meet. But Balderas finished at the State Runner-up.

Rolando Tinoco took second place at 285 lbs. Tinoco had a first round bye, and won by disqualification in the second round over Micah Butler of Spencer. Up next for Tinoco was Qwen Moss of Elbert County and Tinoco took care of business, winning by pin to advance to the finals.

In the Championship match Tinoco lost by a 6-0 decision to Luis Medina of Chattooga who Tinoco had defeated in the Sectional finals a week prior, 12-5.

Cruz Arredondo (113) finished in third place for the Bulldogs in the State Meet. Arredondo won his first match by technical fall over Jesus Sandoval of Screven County. In the quarterfinals Arredondo lost to Wes Conley of Armuchee and was sent into the consolation bracket.

Arredondo fought his way back with a win over Chayton Tuck of Oglethorpe County, 5-2, and then a win over Quinton Tugle of Monticello by a pin. Up next was Nicholas Swan of Rockmart and Arredondo won by a 7-3 decision to advance to the conso-finals. In that final match he won over Malik Hardy of Spencer in a very close match, 9-8 to take third place at State.

Martin Santana (126) took fifth place at State for Toombs. Santana won his opening match over Brendan Harris of Glenn Hills by pin and then won by pin in the quarterfinals over Ivan Arguello of Pepperell. That moved Santana into the semifinals where he fell to John Webb of McNair by major decision.

In the consolation bracket Santana lost in the conso-semis to Dan Dozier of East Laurens but came back with a win in the fifth place match over Shane Watson of Oglethorpe County by pin to take fifth in the State.

Also finishing in fifth place for TCHS was Devante Willis at 220 lbs. Willis won his opener over Elijah McClendon of Oglethorpe County by major decision and then won in the quarterfinals over Parker Free of Banks County also by major decision. In the semifinals Alex Mears of Chattooga defeated Willis to send him into the consolation bracket.

Willis lost his first match in the const-semis to Gavin Hill of Nartheast Macon, but came back in the fifth place match with a win over Chase Fleming of East Laurens by a 9-3 decision.

Also wrestling for Toombs at State was Issiah Wright (195) who won his first match over Cameron Jackson of Butler by pin, but fell in the quarterfinals to Terrance Walker of Banks County. Wright won by an 8-6 decision in the consolation bracket but dropped his next match to Allen Woods of Model, 7-4, to finish a round out of the medals.

Aarel Rodriguez (138) also wrestled and lost his first round match to Parker Hobson of Banks County. Then after a bye in the next round he lost to Daniel Griffin of Berrien.