It's time for Class 7A, remember, we will only be releasing 4A-7A at this time, because we don't know how things will shake out for the 1A-3A Classifications. There are still several things to be determined about the landscape of Georgia HS wrestling for the 20-21 season in regards to the number of classifications for Traditional and Duals.
We are fairly certain that the Duals portion of the State tournament will have 7 classifications, and it has been proposed that the postseason will have a new format. Each Region will send 4 teams to the State Duals, however, the tournament will be a 2-week process. The first weekend will see eight 4 teams tournaments, that will be hosted by each Region Champion. It will be set up similar to how the GHSA operates the playoffs for most of the other sports with Region Champions facing a 4th place team from another region, and Region Runner-ups facing a team that got 3rd in the Region. The winners would then wrestle to determine which team would advance to Macon the next weekend, for am 8-team double elimination tournament. As it stands right now, we believe that classes 4A-7A will have the same Region alignment that all the other Region sports have, but at this time, we are unsure of what the Region alignments will be at 1A-3A.
The Traditional State Tournament is completely undecided. There has been talk of reducing the Traditional Tournament down to 5 Classifications, with 1 classification consisting of all the Private Schools from 1A and 2A. The other 4 classifications would split up the remaining schools into 4 equal sized classes. If this option were to pass, then there would be 16-man brackets for each of the 5 Classes.
Another option being considered would be to keep things at 7 Classes, with a breakdown that would look something like this:
If this option is chosen, then it looks like each classification would only have 8 qualifiers per weight for the State Traditional Tournament, however this hasn't been fully decided upon yet.
The final option on the table at this time would give us 8 classifications. It would maintain the Classifications of 1A-7A, however the Private schools would be removed from Class 1A and would compete together in their own classification. If this option is selected, then each class would definitely have 8 man brackets at State.
With that being said, on to the Preview!!!
Teams: Camden Co, Colquitt Co, Lowndes, Tift Co
This Region remains unchanged from this past season, a season that saw Camden Co once again win the State Duals and Traditional Championships. Colquitt Co qualified for the State Duals and finished 7th at Traditional State, and Lowndes finished 6th at Traditional State. The Region returns 20 State Qualifiers, with 8 of them being Returning State Placers.
We have all heard the phrase, "we don't rebuild, we reload" and Camden Co lives this cliche to its fullest. The Wildcats have been counted out many times before, and once again they are facing staggering losses due to graduation. Will this be the year that someone finally catches up to them, or will they once again reload? Camden only returns 5 State qualifiers from this past season, but 4 of them are State Placers, however, none of them were State Finalists. They will be led by 3rd place finishers Riley Dahlgren (106), and Garret Gaston (220), along with 4th place finisherat 132 Kaleb Clark.
Colquitt Co brings back 11 starters from last years squad, and 8 of them are returning State qualifiers. Jeremy Paradice was your State Runner-up at 138lbs and crowd favorite in Macon, James Bledsoe finished 5th at 220. If Camden should struggle to "reload" this year, Colquitt could be the team to take them out in the Duals.
If Colquitt has the best shot in the Region at overcoming Camden in Duals, Lowndes may have the best chance at overcoming them in the Traditional tournament. Lowndes returns a pair of State finalists in Dominic DiTomasso (106) and Tyson McCullough (113), plus a couple of other superb lightweights that couldnt find their way into the lineup.
Tift Co returns 3 State qualifiers with Timothy Wright at 138 and Garrett Sumner at 285 falling 1 match short of reaching the podium.
1. Camden Co
2. Colquitt Co
4. Tift Co
Best Wrestler: Paradice, Colquitt-138
Intriguing Potential Matchup: McCullough vs Dahlgren
Keep an Eye on: Gabriel Freeman, Colquitt Co-106
Teams: Campbell, East Coweta, McEachern, Newnan, Pebblebrook
McEachern moves into this Region, coming over from Region 3, but all of the teams in this Region were in 7A last year. 3 teams qualified for the State Duals in 2020, McEachern had the most success, advancing to the consolation quarters, while Newnan and East Coweta also qualified. There are 13 returning State Qualifiers from this Region, but only 1 of them is a returning State Placer.
Newnan returns 6 State Qualifiers, but only Connor Marsh at 106 and Quinn Inman at 220 won matches at the State Tournament. The Cougars also return 6 others that qualified for sectionals, giving them 12 returning starters that advanced to the post season.
McEachern and East Coweta will each return 3 State Qualifiers. McEachern will be led by 4th place finisher at 220 Ese Dubre and Shamaad Price, who finished 1 match away from placing at 113. East Coweta brings back Christian Gordon (113) and Jaxon Garner (145), with both of them going 1-2 at the State Tournament.
Keep an eye on Campbell, as they return 9 Sectional qualifiers from last season, including State Qualifier at 182 Omarion Lewis. Pebblebrook returns 3 Sectional qualifiers, but none of them qualified for State.
3. East Coweta
Best Wrestler: Dubre, McEachern-220
Intriguing Potential Matchup: Gordon vs Price
Keep an Eye on: Shemani Price, McEachern-120
Teams: Harrison, Hillgrove, Marietta, North Cobb, North Paulding, Walton
6 team Region that sees Harrison move up from CLass 6A to join with 4 teams from Region 3 7A and Walton, who moves over from Region 4. Only North Paulding qualified for the State Duals last year and they went 0-2, and Harrison is the only team to finish inside the Top 15 at Traditional State. There are 12 returning State Qualifiers from this Region, but only 2 of them are returning State Placers.
Walton and Harrison return the most State qualifiers in this Region with the Raiders bringing back 4 and the Hoyas returning 3. Walton does not have any returning State Placers, but Caden Canzano finished 6th in 2019. Harrison returns 3rd place finisher at 132, Jarrod Pominville along with Wyatt Sligh, who was 1 match from placing at 106. Hillgrove returns 2 State qualifiers including 2019 State Champion Connor Powell, who finished 3rd in 2020 at 120 lbs, Those three teams should battle it out for the top spot in the region this season.
North Paulding has graduated a lot of talent over the past several years, and they return 1 State qualifier this season, Matt Veiga finished 8th at Sectionals at 160. Marrietta and North Cobb each return 1 State Qualifier. Alex Hurley finished 8th at sectionals at 138 for Marietta, and Tyler Rogers finished 6th at Sectionals at 160 for North Cobb.
4. North Paulding
Best Wrestler: Powell, Hillgrove- 120
Intriguing Potential Matchup: Gallegos vs Canzano
Keep an Eye on: Payton Quathamer, Harrison-195
Teams: Brookwood, Grayson, Newton, Parkview, South Gwinnett
A 5 team Region that combines parts of the old Region 7 and 8 from class 7A last season. Brookwood and Parkview qualified for the State Duals last season, and Brookwood was able to advance to the consolation semifinals. Brookwood also finished tied for 3rd at the Traditional State Tournament. There are only 9 returning State qualifiers in this Region, but 3 of them are returning State Placers.
Brookwood leads the way with 5 returning State qualifiers including 2 State Placers. Xavier Bentley finished 3rd at 113 and Landon Moss finished 6th at 182. Despite graduating 3 State placers, the Broncos do return over half of their starters from last season.
Grayson returns only 1 State qualifier, Davon Mayfield, and he finished 4th in the State at 160. The Rams do bring back a total of 8 Sectional qualifiers including everyone below 132. Parkview returns 9 Sectional qualifiers and will be led by State qualifier, Mike Scott who finished 3rd at Sectionals at 120 lbs. South Gwinnett will return 11 Sectional qualifiers and will be led by returning State qualifier, Khalil Suhail, who finished 8th at Sectionals at 113 lbs. These three teams should have quite a battle for the number 2 spot in this Region.
Newton returns 6 Sectional qualifiers, including State qualifier Landyn Camp who was an alternate at 113 and got into the State Tournament. Newton may not be able to battle their way up to the number 2 spot in the Region, but they could make a push for 3rd or 4th.
3. South Gwinnett
Best Wrestler: Bentley, Brookwood- 113
Intriguing Potential Matchup: Leiva vs Rouche
Keep an Eye on: Kevin Contreras, South Gwinnett-195