More than 80 campers have assembled on the Bulloch Academy campus this week for the school’s first annual summer wrestling camp.
The Takedown Sportswear ‘Boro Camp ’17, which started Monday and runs through Thursday, offers kids ages six to eighteen four days of intense training with some of the best wrestlers in the country.
Dustin Kawa and Sean Russell joined Bulloch Academy wrestling coach Andy Tomlin for the week as campers with all levels of skill from all corners of the state traveled to Bulloch County for the training.
Coach Tomlin came up with the idea to host the camp at the school. He and Kawa are both Gwinnett County natives and, having previously worked together in other capacities related to wrestling, they knew the opportunities they could bring to young wrestlers if they collaborated.
Kawa has been in wrestling for 29 years, starting when he was just seven years old. He now spends his time with wrestlers from all over the southeast, helping pave a career path for many of them at the collegiate level through Takedown Wrestling. He also owns apparel and leadership businesses, both of which rely heavily on the input and participation of former and current wrestlers. Kawa has a training facility which trains wrestlers outside of the traditional school team setting, similar to a traveling or All Star team, and has produced some of the best wrestlers in the country.
Sean Russell, who joined Tomlin and Russell in hosting the camp, is currently at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania but traveled to Statesboro just for the camp. He brought years of experience and his most recent accolade of 2017 Division All-American.
Earlier in the week, Dustin Milhoff, a 2016 Division All American wrestler who attends Arizona State University, assisted with the camp. Both he and Russell are products of Kawa’s training.
“We’re really lucky to have some of the best in the state and the country to be here helping us,” Tomlin said Wednesday.
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Of the 80+ campers, two females were among those setting the bar for skill very high. Kasey Baynon of Statesboro High School and Savannah Stacks of Lowndes County practiced among their peers and many wrestlers new to them, but both girls are members of the Team Georgia wrestling team. Baynon is also a Junior Cadet World Team member and is ranked on an international level, meaning she can hold her own against most of the guys in the room.
Kawa praised Bulloch Academy to AllOnGeorgia ahead of camp starting Wednesday morning, “One thing I’ve learned about Andy and the program down here…There’s a reason why there are so many kids here. This guys is running a youth program, a middle school program, a high school program, he’s active in the college, it’s a true program. There’s a reason that more than 40% of the males in the high school are wrestlers.”
Tomlin said he’s hoping to brand the camp and make it an annual occurrence.
The camp has allowed the wrestling team to work toward one of their fundraising goals for uniforms.