North Paulding senior wrestler Bradley Bitting is a history-making athlete, his coach said.
Bitting is the first three-time state wrestling champion from a Paulding County high school. He also will become the first NCAA Division I wrestler from a Paulding school when he begins competing for the U.S. Air Force Academy next year, said his coach, Robby Prince.
Bitting recently won the GHSA Class 7A individual state championship at the 132-pound weight classification. He also helped lead North Paulding to a sixth place team finish in the traditional wrestling tournament behind Camden County, North Forsyth, Archer, Collins Hill and Brookwood.
It was Bitting’s third state championship after winning as a freshman and junior. He placed fifth his sophomore year. He finished the season with a 49-2 record, bringing his career record to 206-8, Prince said.
Prince said Bitting’s strongest skill was his ability “to slow a match down and force his opponent to wrestle the match the way Bradley wants it to go.”
“He also works year round to perfect his technique at various training centers,” Prince said.
He said Bitting has been competing at a championship level since the eighth grade when he went undefeated as a member of the high school junior varsity squad.
“Bradley was part of our starting varsity lineup since the first match of his freshman year, and he did not miss one event during his high school career,” he said.
He also predicted Bitting will be successful as a college wrestler at the Air Force Academy, which required him to receive a congressional nomination and acceptance by the academy for admittance.
“The same work ethnic and drive he has shown in high school will be valuable to him as he continues his wrestling and academic career in college,” Prince said.
Bitting defeated Tyler Dahlgren of Camden County in a tiebreaker match to win the title.
Along the way, he defeated Maurice Buchanan of Newnan, Matthew Silka of Cherokee and Tate Bissell of North Forsyth to get to the final match.
“I felt like I had a good matchup with everyone,” he said.
He said he learned throughout his career to develop a different approach to approaching his opponent. Bitting began his career as a defensive wrestler reacting to his opponent’s move. He steadily transitioned into a more offensive wrestler.
Bitting said Prince pushed him to get him ready for his final chance at a state title.
He said he will remember this season because it marked the first time North Paulding won both the region and dual championships.