Favorites Stand Out At Duals Tournament
The grappling action has already begun in Macon as Classes 4A-6A got it on yesterday in the round of 16. Today, the state’s best wrestling squads will compete for spots in tomorrow’s finals.
In Class 6A, No. 1 Archer is expected to cruise to the finals as the Tigers have been nearly untouchable in state this season. Opposing them Saturday afternoon will likely be the winner of Collins Hill and Camden County, which would take place tonight in the semifinals if the Wildcats get past Brookwood and the Eagles surpass Wheeler. Camden was the upset winner of the duals last season, a victory that ended a four-year run of championships in 5A for Collins Hill. The Eagles are led by Ryan Millhof, a junior who is undefeated at the 120-pound weight class at 17-0 with six pins, and fellow junior Sean Russell, Millhof’s childhood friend. Russell wrestles at 113 and is 18-2 with eight pins this year.
Archer faces No. 4 North Gwinnett today in the quarterfinals in a matchup that looks better on paper than it likely will on the mats. No. 2 Collins Hill draws upstart Wheeler and Camden County faces No. 5 Brookwood.
In Class 5A, Pope is the proverbial big dog that is expected to dominate the tournament this weekend. The Greyhounds, ranked nationally by multiple websites, boast Air Force commitment Brooks Climmons, one of a few Georgia wrestlers to be ranked nationally. Climmons competes in the 182-pound weight class. Pope, last year’s duals champion, is considered by many in the state to be the best wrestling squad regardless of class.
Three-time defending champion Gilmer is expected to roll in Class AAAA, while Woodward Academy is the favorite in Class AAA. Woodward is headed by brother combo Chad and Chandler Pyke. Chad won his 300th high school match last weekend while Chandler, a junior, already has 200 wins. Chad will head to N.C. State next season where he will wrestle for the Wolfpack.
The sky is blue, the grass is green, and Jefferson is dominating Class AA wrestling. The Dragons have won fur straight duals titles in AA after moving up in 2009 from Class A, where they won the first seven duals titles since state dual tournaments were initiated by the GHSA in 2002. Jefferson is probably the best team in any class below 5A.
Class A was the site of a debate last year as both Holy Innocents’ and Gordon Lee claimed the state duals title. They ended up spitting it per GHSA vote, and are back on opposite sides of the bracket in this year’s tournament. Gordon Lee and Holy Innocents’ should wrestle in the finals tomorrow night.