Dual Wrestling Championship Preview

ajc.com

The Team Dual Wrestling Championships will be held at seven separate host sites this Saturday and the brackets are loaded with the state’s most accomplished programs. This is certainly the case in Georgia’s highest classification where seven-time defending dual state champion Camden County will be represented as the No. 1 seed. West Forsyth has been defeated by Camden County in each of the past two years, including last year’s finals. This year, the Wolverines will open with against a tough North Paulding squad and will have a potential rematch with Camden County in the finals.

Buford won last year’s Class 6A championship in what was the program’s first-ever year in the classification. The Wolves clinched that title with a 46-17 win over Creekview in the finals. This year, Buford will open up the championships against Lassiter and will potentially face Creekview or Richmond Hill in the quarterfinals. Buford, Valdosta, Richmond Hill and Alexander have all won dual state titles in the last five years and lead a stacked Class 6A field.

COMMITTED TO WINNING

Woodland-Bartow cruised past the competition last year to clinch its third-straight Class 5A dual state title and will head to McDonough High School to compete against a familiar field of contenders, including Woodward Academy, which joined the classification last year following the latest reclassification cycle, Ola, Cass and Jackson County. Woodland-Cartersville will open the championships against Locust Grove, while last year’s runner up—Cass—opens up with Coffee.

Jefferson has an opportunity to capture its 20th all-time dual state title this weekend and all 19 of its previous championship runs have occurred over the last 20 seasons. In fact, 2020 was the first and only time the Dragons were not represented at the top of the podium in the sports history. Jefferson returned to form last year by conquering a tough Class 4A field and will open this year’s championships against Bainbridge. Incredibly, six of the eight teams heading to LaGrange to compete for this year’s title failed to qualify for state a year ago: Bainbridge, Hampton, Columbus, Marist, Cedartown, Heritage-Catoosa.

UP FOR GRABS

North Hall had its duals state title vacated last season and the Trojans were denied a return to the championships this year with a 50-26 loss to Gilmer in a rematch of last year’s (37-27) finals this past weekend. As a result, Gilmer is riding in with tremendous momentum and will aim for its first state title since 2016 when the program captured its seventh-straight duals state title. Sonoraville, Rockmart, Morgan County and Adairsville return to the championships again, while Oconee County, North Murray and Murray County arrive after failing to qualify a year ago.

Oglethorpe County entered last year’s championships as a No. 2 seed and celebrated the program’s first-ever wrestling state title with a dramatic 38-29 win over Dade County in the finals. The Patriots are back to defend their crown after a dominating run in the prelims that included a 71-6 win over Coosa and an 80-0 win over Putnam County. Oglethorpe County’s next opponent will be Pepperell, which last hoisted a wrestling state title in 1975.

In Class A, Commerce had won six-straight state titles leading up to Trion’s victory in 2020 and Mt. Pisgah’s triumph at last year’s duals. Trion’s state title was its first since the 1994 traditional title, while Mt. Pisgah’s run to the title last season was its first-ever crown. Now, the question remains if another program can claim a historic first-ever dual title this year or if this is the year that Commerce or Class A newcomer Social Circle regains its championship grasp. Social Circle entered Class A last year, following a run in Class 2A that included five-straight state titles (2015-19). Landmark Christian, Charlton County, Screven County and St. Anne-Pacelli are also heading into the championships following impressive performances in the prelims.

CHAMPIONSHIP LOCATIONS

7A - Lambert HS

6A - Brunswick HS

5A - McDonough HS

4A - LaGrange HS

3A - Stephens County HS

2A - Bremen HS

1A - Commerce HS