GHSA Traditional Wrestling State Championship Preview

In the highest classification, Camden County will attempt to complete its eighth-consecutive title sweep—which is the longest active streak in the state and second all-time only to Jefferson’s 18-straight sweeps (2002-19). The Wildcats qualified wrestlers in 11 different weight classes to undertake this feat and are fresh off an absolutely dominant performance in their run to this year’s Class 7A Dual Championship. Camden County outscored Lambert 64-3 before scoring a 64-0 win over North Paulding and a 56-18 victory over North Forsyth in the finals.  There are several other Class 7A programs that qualified double-digit wrestlers to provide enough depth to challenge Camden County’s bid for its eighth-straight traditional title, including Archer (10) and Brookwood (10). Camden County will have defending 120-pound state champion Riley Dahlgren and many top finishers back this year. Konlin Weaver won the 126-pound title last year and will now be in the 145-pound class. Also, CahMari Johnson is back to compete for the 170-pound title after a second-place finish last year.

In Class 6A, Buford is coming off last month’s dual championship victory and the Wolves will at full-capacity after qualifying wrestlers in all 14 weight classes. Ryan Ilbold won the 106-pound title last year as a freshman and will be returning to defend his title as a sophomore. Ilbold is one of 11 underclassmen leading Buford’s title run this weekend. Tyler Henley earned third-place last year at 126 pounds and is competing at 132 pounds. Buford’s victory at last year’s traditional tournament was a narrow 183-point total to second-place Lassiter’s 171. Lassiter will have 10 wrestlers this year, Valdosta will have 11 and Brunswick will have 13 wrestlers after last year’s fifth-place finish.

Cass captured its first wrestling state title since 2008 last month with a dramatic 36-34 victory over Woodward Academy in the Class 5A duals. The Colonels will have 11 wrestlers competing for the traditional title this weekend as the program looks to complete its first-ever title sweep. Senior Cole Hunt is back to defend his 120-pound title and carries a 36-0 record. Additionally, sophomore Jake Crapps will compete at 126 pounds after a third-place finish last year in the 113-pound division. As the duals showcases, Class 5A is deep with talented programs and will have a long list of potential contenders. Defending state champion Woodland-Cartersville qualified eight wrestlers and Woodward Academy and Jackson County will each have 10 wrestlers and Ola will have 12.. Woodward Academy’s Colby McBride will compete at the 113-pound class this year after winning last year’s 106-pound title.

West Laurens scored a stunning victory over Jefferson in the Class 4A duals and will look to complete its first championship sweep since 2006. The Raiders have 11 wrestlers qualified and Jefferson will have nine—including Luke Cochran who is competing at 195 pounds after taking last year’s 170-pound title. Marist has nine wrestlers that qualified for state—including defending 182-pound state champion Nolan Pozzobon.

Rockmart’s championship last year was the program’s first wrestling state title since 2003 and the Yellowjackets followed that up by earning a top finish at this year’s duals in a narrow 31-30 win over Gilmer. Rockmart qualified 11 wrestlers, Gilmer will have 12 wrestlers competing and Sonoraville is sending 10 wrestlers to state. In Class 2A, Lovett cruised to the dual title and snapped a championship drought that dated back to 2003. Now, the Lions will have a chance to sweep titles and will have 13 wrestlers leading the way.  Oglethorpe County (12), Dade County (10) and Fannin County (9) will also be boasting significant depth.

Trion has won two dual state titles in the last three seasons, but has not earned a traditional title since 1994. The Bulldogs qualified wrestlers for all 14 weight classes and will look to complete the sweep against the Class A field. Social Circle qualified 13 wrestlers and recently won five-straight traditional titles in Class 2A (2015-19). Also, Commerce qualified 11 wrestlers and is coming off a third-place finish in the duals.

Girls division gears up for exciting Year 4

It’s been four years since the launch of the first-ever traditional girls state championships. The introduction of this separate competition followed a historic achievement that was celebrated at the 2018 state championships. It was that year when Statesboro’s Kasey Baynon made history by placing fifth in the boys Class AAAAA 106-pound bracket. In doing so she became the first-ever girl to place in the traditional wrestling state championships.

Baynon’s success and a growing interest behind the possibility of adding a girls division quickly became a reality and the new format made its debut following the inaugural 2019 competition. State qualifiers in 10 different weight classes competed for individual girls titles. The weight classes were divided into 95, 106, 116, 126, 136, 146, 156, 166, 176 and 225. The 10 classes slightly shifted last year to 102, 112, 122, 132, 142, 152, 162, 172, 197 and 225-pound divisions. The result was a thrilling championship weekend and there will be a ton of intriguing storylines to keep an eye on on again this year.

The 102-pound division will have a new champion after Mountain View’s Kennedy Shropshire’s victory last year. Catarina Velasquez was defeated in the finals, but she will be back to lead the field as a senior and is coming off a top qualifying finish and and boasts a 16-1 record. Lisa Glymph placed third in the 102-pound division last year and will be competing in the 112-pound class this year. Glymph earned a top finish in her qualifier and is 3-0 heading into the championships.

The 122-pound title was won by Ola’s Amani Jones the last two years, but Jones has since graduated and the field appears wide open. Columbus sophomore Jasmine Jenkins-Bey won her qualifier and is heading into the traditional championships with an outstanding 33-1 record. The 132-pound bracket will also be highly-competitive. Kennesaw Mountain’s Genevieve An earned a second-place finish in the 132-pound bracket last year, but will be headlining the 142-pound class this season. Alexander’s Brooke Ligon carries a 23-1 record and will be among the contenders in this year’s 132-pound class.

An is not the only top finisher that moved from up from the 132-pound to 142-pound class. Jackson County junior Raven Cook also moved up and she is coming off last year’s third-place finish in the traditional championships. Unlike most of the previously-mentioned weight classes, the 152-pound division will present an opportunity for a title defense. White County senior Sidney Sullens is back to defend her title and she has already had an outstanding career. Sullens placed second in 2020, but triumphed over Ashley Godizez of Chestatee to take last year’s crown. Godizez will be competing in the 162-pound class this year, but Sullens will still have a stacked field of competitors, including Greenbrier sophomore Arieana Bacon.

Godizez will look to take the 162-pound title after he second-place finish last year and will be joined by defending state champion Caitlyn Mixon of Ware County. Northside-Warner Robins junior Beyonce McColumn is back in the 172-pound field after earning a second-place finish a year ago and so is Gilmer’s Taylor Scheisser—who earned a third-place finish last year as a freshman.

In the 197-pound division, defending state champion Amariah Marenco of Carrollton will be back as a junior and she is carrying a 26-3 record. Marenco will headline the field with Jackson County junior Lilly Chavis—who qualified with a top finish and is 15-1 on the year.

The 225-pound division has been extremely competitive over the years. Kyleigh Haney claimed the title in 2019 and 2020 before Chestatee’s Isabella Redlinger took the crown this past year. Redlinger will be back to defend her title as a junior and the field includes Osborne senior Kiarra Nylander—who posted a runner-up finish last year.




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