Class AAA-AAAAAA opened up the 2016 GHSA State Dual Wrestling Championships on Thursday and the defending champs in the state’s highest four classifications set the pace early by outscoring opponents by a combined 263-36. In Class AAA, 14-time defending champion Jefferson got off to a hot start with a 66-12 win over Central-Carroll. Notably, Jackson County impressively blanked Glenn Hills 79-0 and Lumpkin County cruised past Jordan 75-6 to set up a quarterfinal match with Toombs County, which held off Calhoun 40-34. The loser of tomorrow’s Lumpkin County and Toombs County match will face Spencer and the winner will get the never-beaten Jefferson Dragons or McNair. Spencer, which fought its way to the consolation finals a year ago is having to battle through the loser’s bracket again after Blessed Trinity pulled away for a 38-33 opening round victory. The Green Wave faced Franklin County in the loser’s bracket opener following the loss to the Titans and prevailed 39-36 to stay alive. Josey, Jordan and Glenn Hills join Franklin County as Class AAA teams sent home Day 1.
In Class AAAA, Gilmer’s quest for a seventh straight dual state title opened with a 66-15 win over an experienced Upson-Lee team. North Hall (56-21 winners over Crisp County), awaits the decorated Bobcats and Woodward Academy, Locust Grove, Buford, West Laurens, Pike County and Marist create the rest of a deep and talented Elite 8. In the consolation bracket, St. Pius, Carrollton, Crisp County and Heritage-Catoosa advanced and Upson Lee, Burke County, Cook and Eastside were sent home. Buford, which won the dual state title in Class AAA two years, ago faces West Laurens in the quarterfinals Friday at 9:45 AM.