By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
It’s time for wrestlers to be a little selfish.
After spending the start of the season gaining or losing weight to help their teams score maximum points in dual competitions, wrestlers now look to see where they fit the best in traditional action.
Friday, the Region 2-AAAAAA traditional tournament begins in Brunswick with four wrestlers in each weight class advancing to Sectionals on Feb. 5, again in Brunswick.
The top eight wrestlers from the two Sectionals statewide (16 wrestlers in total) then head to the state tournament Feb. 9-11 at the Macon Centreplex.
Effingham County’s junior Mal Santiago could be a key local wrestler to watch. Santiago compiled a 49-2 record while competing in the 113 and 120 weight classes.
Now he’ll come down to 106 where he finished fifth at state last season.
“Everyone does it so it’s not like he’s the only one (cutting weight),” Rebels coach Nico Guggino said. “(Wrestling at a higher weight) just prepares him, hopefully if he gets to state, for that (caliber) competition.”
Santiago’s toughest competition at region could come from South Effingham’s Jacob Stellhorn or Emilio Santana.
It probably won’t be the only ECHS-SEHS individual battle. Rebel Conner Nevin and Mustang Jacob Galindez could meet at 113 or 120. Last season, Nevin beat Galindez in the consolations at state (at 113) and finished third overall. Galindez was fifth.
Other local wrestlers to watch at region are South Effingham’s Brandon “Moose” Bringer at 132 and Enrique Santana at 152. ECHS’ Nigel Wright has a 56-6 record at 195.
In girls competition, ECHS’s Mia Bernacki, who registered a pin of a Savannah Country Day boy last Thursday at Calvary, placed fifth at state last season.
Soccer kicks off Friday
South Effingham’s boys and girls open their soccer seasons at home Friday against Vidalia.
The girls game kicks off at 5 p.m. with the boys following at 7.
SEHS’ boys and girls scrimmages with Savannah Arts on Jan. 21 were canceled because of cold and wet conditions.
Effingham County was scheduled to begin its soccer season with boys and girls clashes with Savannah Arts on Jan. 25.
In scrimmages on Jan. 20, the Rebel boys tied Southeast Bulloch 2-2 and the girls lost to the Yellow Jackets 2-1.
ECHS HALL OF FAME
Rebels to honor Mock
Effingham County High School will induct long-time baseball coach Jason D. Mock into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
The ceremony will be held Friday night at halftime of the ECHS boys basketball game with Glynn Academy. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.