Wrestling: State duals tournament preview

Photo by Sonny Kennedy

The state dual wrestling tournament will take place Thursday through Saturday at the Macon Centreplex. A total of 72 teams will make the trip, including 23 that did not qualify last year. Classes AAAA-AAAAAA consist of 16 teams each and Classes A-AAA each enter the tournament with eight teams.

The top three classes each hit the mats for their Round of 16 Thursday while Friday marks the quarterfinals and semifinals for all six classes. Saturday morning determines the third through sixth-place finishers in the consolation bracket. The championship bell will ring at 3 p.m. on Saturday and six state champions will be crowned.

The historical dominance of No. 2 Collins Hill (which has won five state titles) is threatened by No. 1 Archer, the defending Class AAAAAA champion. The Tigers own a perfect 18-0 dual record this season and have racked up nine tournament titles. Archer punched its ticket to Macon with a shut out of its area opponents (South Gwinnett, Parkview and Grayson) by a combined score of 240-0. The Tigers will meet Lowndes in the first round after topping the Vikings 62-10 in last year’s Round of 16. Sophomore twins Daniel and Thomas Bullard lead Archer along with senior M.J. Couzan. Collins Hill senior Ryan Millhof, an Oklahoma commitment, has never lost a match in his 4-year career with the Eagles.

In Class AAAAA, Pope reigns as the defending duals state champ and opens with Ware County. The Greyhounds topped Ware County 43-40 last year in the semifinals and topped Whitewater 51-16 in the quarterfinals.

Class AAAA features an opening-round matchup between defending champion Gilmer and a surging Fayette County team that failed to qualify for the tournament last year. Defending state champion Banks County leads the Class AAA field and Buford is one of the four Class AAA teams in the Elite 8 that did not make the tournament last year. The Wolves will face Sonoraville in the quarterfinals and would wrestle the winner of Appling County and Woodward Academy in the semifinals.

In Class AA, Lovett faces Social Circle, which sent the Lions into the consolation bracket last year. In Class A, Gordon Lee returns as the state champion and opens with Treutlen County before a possible matchup with the winner of Athens Christian and Eagle’s Landing Christian.

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