East Georgia College at Nationals, 2009
Three East Georgia College Bobcat wrestlers competed in the 12th annual National Collegiate Wrestling Championships last weekend in Hampton, Va. Tyson Gilland (133 pounds), Kyle Tau (184), and Steven Strickland (197) made the trek to take on the best wrestlers in the NCWA. Gilland and Strickland ended up 2-2 in their respective 32-man brackets.
Gilland opened with a convincing 18-0 technical fall over Tim Padilla from Northampton (Pa.) Community College before losing a heartbreaking 8-7 decision to eventual national runner-up Marcus Chevres of The Apprentice School. He then pinned Brandon Homrighausen of San Jose State in 4:34 before being eliminated by Ian Martin of Grand Valley State (Mich.), 15-4.
“Tyson wrestled his heart out at this tournament and represented EGC well in the competition,” said Dr. Reid Derr, Gilland's coach.
Strickland, the reigning NCWA Southeastern Conference champion at 197 pounds, faced stiff competition in his weight class. After drawing a forfeit in his first match, Strickland outlasted Shane Inman of Middle Tennessee State, 6-1. Then he met Nathan Behrent of Florida Gulf Coast and Dominic DeMarco of Marion Military Academy (Ala.). Both opponents also hailed from the Southeastern Conference, and avenged earlier losses to Strickland at the confernece tournament, winning by fall.
Tau, at 184 pounds, was injured in a 9-1 loss to Greg Cormier of Massachusetts, and was eliminated in the next round by Steve Voglezon of Md.-Baltimore County.
This was East Georgia's most successful season in the NCWA with its highest SEC finish. In four years, the Bobcats have qualified seven wrestlers for nationals and won a total of five matches.