Tifton Gazette

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January 15, 2014

BDI wrestling tourney will feature heavy local flavor

Two Tift teams, Irwin, Cook, Berrien among squads scheduled to compete

TIFTON — The Tift County Blue Devils wrestling team had one competition scrapped this week, but will continue their traditional Blue Devil Invitational Saturday night.

Devils coach Shawn Watson marvels at the tradition, which he said predates him. "[It's been going on] ever since I've been here," he said, "and that's been since 2000 or 2001."

This year's draw features several teams from the area.

"We're going to have 16 teams for sure," he said. Fourteen schools are involved, with both Tift and Lee County sending two teams.

He listed the other competing teams as Valdosta, Lowndes, Coffee, Colquitt County, Cairo, Cook, Telfair County, Perry, Westover, Berrien and Irwin County. He added though, he was not completely sure about Westover, as he said they have a small team.

If Perry and Telfair stick out among the entrants, Watson assured that both have quality programs. Of Telfair, he said "they normally have a very competitive team."

He is excited about all the area schools being involved. He mentioned Cook's strong tradition and Berrien had a state champion last year, Hunter Kelley, who went undefeated at 120 lbs.

"It's a who's who of area teams. Just a good ol' area competition."

This season, he said, had been a learning year for the team. Watson said they took 4th at area duals. They beat Colquitt and Brunswick, lost close to Valdosta and were defeated by Camden County.

"I hope to just keep improving," Watson said. "Hopefully, we'll do fairly well at BDI. We'll see what happens."

After the Blue Devil Invitational, they participate at the Syrupmaker Invitational Jan. 25, then he said was a dual match with Cook.

Area championships will be Feb. 1.

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