GHSA State Duals: Defending champs set pace Day 1

Credit: Craig Sager

Credit: Craig Sager

By Score Atlanta

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.

Class AAAAA defending dual state champion Camden County dominated the first round with a 64-3 decision over Luella. The Wildcats face Starr’s Mill in the quarterfinals, after the Panthers survived a 35-34 thriller over South Paulding. South Paulding bounced back from the heartbreaking loss to beat Luella 45-30 in the loser’s bracket and awaits the loser of Jones County and Woodland, which defeated LaGrange 46-30 and Effingham County 57-18, respectively in the first round.

Lambert and Tift County provided Class AAAAAA with a thriller of its own as Lambert advanced with a narrow 37-36 victory. The Longhorns await an 11:30 AM Friday match with Pope, after the Greyhounds’ impressive 45-24 win over Newnan. Tift County ended Newnan’s tournament in the loser’s bracket and advanced to face the loser of North Forsyth and Rockdale County’s quarterfinals head-to-head. Area 7 champion Mountain View rolled over Walton 71-4 in the first round to set up a quarterfinal tilt Lee County, which beat East Coweta 39-25. Seven-time dual state champion Collins Hill started its tournament with a win over Kennesaw Mountain, but faces a daunting task on Friday. Archer has sent the Eagles to the consolation bracket in the semifinal round each of the past two seasons, but now, the three-time defending state champs await Collins Hill in the quarterfinals. Archer opened with a 67-6 win over Alcovy, which extended the Tigers’ dual winning streak to 93 matches. Archer outscored Collins Hill 111-31 in the last two state dual meetings.