Tom Bartolotta certainly backed up his promises in his first season as the head wrestling coach at Howard.
Bartolotta told his wrestlers before the season if they did what he asked, the team would qualify for the GHSA Class AAA dual tournament.
The Huskies accomplished that, going 31-6 to earn a spot in this weekend’s tournament. Howard will face Woodward Academy on Friday in the first round of the tournament.
“I told them before the season we’re going to win and make a little history,” Bartolotta said. “We set a goal to get here, and the kids made it happen. That’s really special for them to do that in our first year.”
Bartolotta spent most of his career at Glynn Academy, and he worked for the past couple of seasons at Central Gwinnett.
He shared his confidence with Howard principal Matt Adams during the interview process, and it certainly paid off. The Huskies won two tournaments this year, taking the Crisp County dual tournament in November and the North Oconee dual tournament in December. Howard also finished second in Jones County’s tournament and third at West Laurens’ tournament.
Seven Huskies -- Enrique Cayado (106 weight class), Colter Dewes (120), Sellers Elliot (138), Mathew Peavy (145), Emory Searles (170 and 182), Rashaad Townes (195) and Brandon Bivens (220) -- have earned at least 25 wins this season.
“I told Mr. Adams if he hired me that we were going to win,” Bartolotta said. “There was no doubt in my mind about that. It hasn’t been easy, but I knew we could do it, and they listened to me and worked really hard.”
GHSA state dual meet
First-round matchups for Middle Georgia teams
Friday at the Macon Coliseum
Northside vs. Whitewater, 8:30 a.m.
Howard vs. Woodward Academy, 10:15 a.m.
Crisp County vs. West Laurens, Noon
Monticello vs. East Laurens, Noon
Fitzgerald vs. Appling County, Noon
Dublin vs. Toombs County, 1:45 p.m.
Telfair County vs. Gordon Lee, 1:45 p.m.