Cartersville’s Gerry Vassil — Georgia’s reigning No. 3 wrestler in the 172-pound weight class — wants to take his wrestling skills to the collegiate level and develop them.
That’s why Cartersville’s Garvin Edwards believes having Vassil attend the Muskogee, Okla., college on an athletic scholarship is the start of a good partnership.
“I think it’s a great move for Gerry,” Edwards said. “I think he will be a good fit for Bacone and coach Brett Oleson and the Warriors.”
Edward said Vassil has been a good student academically at Cartersville and an even better athlete and leader for the Purple Hurricanes.
“He’s a solid student and a hard worker,” Edwards said. “He’s been very committed to our program and school. He was one of those kids who was not out a lot. He was always there and very committed.”
The wrestling coach said Vassil does the little things needed to improve. “He has outstanding work habits. He was one of our team captains the past two years and his effort was always very good.”
Edwards said Vassil is very competitive on the mat.
“I think he’ll be outstanding as a collegiate wrestler,” the coach said. “His strength is when he’s on his feet, in the standup position. Gerry is outstanding at takedowns.”
The coach said Vassil can expect to be challenged at Bacone. He noted it has been ranked in the top 15 nationally each of the past two years.
He said Vassil was A four-year starter for Cartersville and earned recognition for himself and the school.
Vassil finished his senior year with a 44-7 record, including 4-1 at the state finals in Macon, winning the consolation bracket as well as area and region tournament champion and runner up in the sectional tournament.
He went 25-10 as a junior, 22-15 as a sophomore and 20-12 as a freshman. Vassil had a 111-39 overall record.
“He was a three-time state qualifier and placed at state this year,” Edwards said.
Vassil was joined at state this year by junior Evan Cole, who placed third in the state’s 145-pound division.
Edwards said having two wrestlers place so high at state speaks well of both individuals and the program, too.
“It always speaks well of your program when you have young men who can go to college and have an opportunity to compete at the next level.
“I’ve always been very proud of Gerry and his work ethic and commitment and his effort. He’s been an example for returning wrestlers to try to follow.”
Vassil, who wrestled in the 152-, 160- and 172-pound classifications at Cartersville, said he became interested in Bacone after the school contacted him by letter shortly after the state competition was held and invited him to come to the college for a visit.
Vassil said he drove to Bacone, a four-year college, after the invitation and liked what he found at the NAIA school.
“The school has a very good tradition with its wrestling program, and I look forward to working hard for Bacone College in the quest for a national title and earning a degree in criminal justice. I have wanted to wrestle in college and they are giving me an opportunity.”
Vassil said he became a wrestler at a young age.
He added some friends talked him into participating at about age 11 or 12 and it worked out for him.
“It’s good competition but it takes a lot of hard work,” he said.