LILBURN - When Ryan Galloway hears the names Tyler Parker, Dustin Kawa and Francois McDaniel he thinks of an elite group of wrestlers.
"They're all very, very, very talented," Galloway said. "They're in a league of their own."
Parker, Kawa and McDaniel are just three members of a very inclusive wrestling group in Gwinnett County. The trio is part of a seven-person fraternity of four-time Gwinnett County champions.
Today and Friday at the Gwinnett County wrestling tournament at Mill Creek High School, Galloway has the chance to join that group as a four-time champion.
"I take that as a very nice compliment," Galloway said. "I definitely look up to them."
If Galloway were to win the 130-pound county title on Friday he would be the third Parkview wrestler to win four county titles, joining Brandon Bentley and Brent Shiver. McDaniel won two with Collins Hill before moving to Parkview to win two as a junior and senior.
"It just tells you he belongs in that category and it doesn't happen often," Parkview co-head coach Dennis Stromie. "You get in that category and that's some elite company right there."
There are actually fewer four-time Gwinnett County champs than four-time state champions, so to accomplish the feat in one of the toughest wrestling areas is quite an amazing feat.
But Galloway has bigger plans for the rest of the season.
"It's nice, but my ultimate goal is to be a state champion," Galloway said.
"To me the county tournament is the start of state. That's when people start getting into set weight classes. If you're a county champ, you're obviously the top of the county and Gwinnett and Cobb County are the top counties in the state. If you win a county championship, it's looking like a pretty decent season for you coming up."
The defending state champ is off to a great start, winning the Most Outstanding Wrestler award last weekend at the McCallie Invitational in Tennessee.
In the finals, Galloway defeated a Tennessee state champ to win the tournament. Galloway also won the Summer Slam in South Carolina earlier this season.
"I want to go undefeated, but if that doesn't happen no one cares if you're a state champion," Galloway said. "That's the ultimate thing. We've got a tough schedule, so that will be quite an accomplishment for me. I've never gone undefeated."
Galloway isn't sure what his record is this season other than he's 'whatever and 0.' He's actually 17-0, but Galloway is not worried about how many wins he has or how many takedowns or pins, he's only focused on the match before him.
"On the mat, he's strong in all three positions," Stromie said.
"Some guys are good on their feet, sometimes good on top, sometimes good on bottom, Ryan is good at all three. That's such a huge asset for him.
"Right now he's getting on top of people and he's turning everybody."
The senior doesn't even take credit for his success this season. He thinks more of it is due to his teammates and coaches.
"A lot of it I think goes to my drill partners and I think I have (two) of the best coaches in the country with coach Stromie and coach Beuglas," Galloway said. "They're both very, very good and I've had good drill partners all four years, so a lot of it goes to them."
Galloway won the 119-pound state title last season with a 33-2 record. His only losses where when he bumped up a weight class to help the team and a forfeit in the area finals due to injury.
As a sophomore he placed fifth at state and was one match away from placing as a freshman. He currently holds a 150-20 career record.
Galloway maintains a 3.0 GPA and is just as smart on the mat. He's nicknamed "worm" for the way he moves on the mat and his ability to get out of situations.
"That's been a big part of his success, he's so coachable," Stromie said.
"There are tons of times where we've gone into matches and we say, 'Here's what the guy does and here's what you need to do to stop that,' and he makes the adjustments. As a coach that's what you want, someone that is coachable."