With the GHSA conducting their spring meetings in late June, we are now somewhat certain about what the postseason will look like.
For the State Duals, classes 1A, 2A, and 3A will undergo a little bit of a makeover, and will have different classification assignments for State Duals and State Traditional. For the State Duals series 1A and 2A Private schools will compete together, completely separated from the public schools. 1A public schools and some 2A public schools will be placed together in a classification, and the 3A public schools will be combined with the rest of the 2A public schools to form the final classification. When we get to the Traditional State tournaments, public and private schools will be back together and each school, 1A-7A, will compete in its designated classification.
This week we will preview at the 2A/3A Duals Classification and we will start things off with Area 1-4.
Teams: Americus-Sumter, Central Macon, Cook Co, Crisp Co, Jackson, Mary Persons, Pike Co, Upson Lee
8 Team Region, with 5 of the schools competing in 3A last season, and 3 schools dropping down from 4A. Pike Co advanced to the State Duals last season and went 2-2 while advancing to the consolation quarterfinals. Pike Co also finished 6th at the Traditional State Tournament in 2019. Central, Macon is the only other school to score points at the Traditional tournament last season. There are 8 returning State Qualifiers in the Area, with Central, Macon and Pike Co each returning 1 State Placer.
Pike County returns 5 State Qualifiers from last season, but only 6 sectional qualifiers, they will need to fill in some depth at the other 8 weights in order to hold off Central, Macon and Jackson, both of which return over half of their line up. Pike is strong in the middle weights with sophomore Luke Woerner finishing 1 match away from placing at 138 and Senior John Lovett finishing 2nd in the State at 160.
Central, Macon returns 8 sectional qualifiers, however only 3 State qualifiers. They will be led by senior heavyweight Adam Lamar, who finished 4th at State last season. Jackson returns the most sectional qualifiers, with 9, but they do not return any State qualifiers.
Upson Lee and Mary Persons will be dropping down to 3A after competing at 4A the last 2 season. While neither team will be returning any State qualifiers, both teams have a good core of Sectional Qualifiers coming back to give them a great shot a t top 4 finish in the Area Duals.
Crisp Co will return 5 Sectional qualifiers from last season, but they will need to solidify a full lineup before they will have a chance to crack into the top 4 and qualify for the State Tournament. Cook Co returns 3 Sectional qualifiers, and Americus-Sumter returns 1 Sectional Qualifier. None of these 3 teams return any State Qualifiers.
1. Pike Co
2. Central, Macon
3. Upson Lee
4. Mary Persons
Best Wrestler: Lovett, Pike Co- 160
Keep an Eye on: Ethan Pollock, Crisp Co-182
Teams: Burke Co, Cross Creek, Harlem, Hephzibah, Morgan Co, Richmond Academy, Westside Augusta
7 team Area that will see schools come together from 3 different classifications. Burke Co, Cross Creek, and Richmond Academy were in 4A last season, and Morgan Co competed in 3A last year, while the rest of the Area competed in 2A. Burke Co was the only team in this Area to qualify for the 2020 State Duals, however only Harlem and Morgan Co were able to score any points at the Traditional State Tournament in Macon. There are 9 returning State Qualifiers in the region, but only 1 returning State Placer.
Harlem looks to be returning the most complete team from last season, with 9 returning Sectional qualifiers. The Bulldogs have 3 returning State qualifiers, and the Area's only Returning State Placer in Senior Chandler Diles, who placed 6th at 170 last season.
The other 6 teams teams in the Area will all have a legitimate shot at placing top 4 and qualifying for the State Duals. While Harlem may not necessarily be a shoe-in to win the Area Duals title, they should be one of the top 4 teams. Ultimately, it will come down to which 4 teams can produce a full lineup.
Hephzibah returns 6 Sectional qualifiers and will be led by their only returning State qualifier, Isaiah Grant. Burke Co, Cross Creek, and Richmond Academy will each return 5 Sectional qualifiers. Cross Creek will be led by Constantin Nimo, who qualified for State at 113 last season, and Richmond Academy will be returning 182 pound State Qualifier, Rhys Deloach.
Morgan Co and Westside will each be returning 4 Sectional Qualifiers from last season.
2. Burke Co
4. Richmond Academy
Best Wrestler: Chandler Diles, Harlem-170
Keep an Eye on: Chance Diles, Harlem- 106
Teams: Appling Co, Beach, Brantley Co, Groves, Johnson Savannah, Pierce Co, Savannah, Savannah Arts, Windsor Forest
A huge 9 team Area where all of the teams competed in 3A last season. Pierce Co and Brantley Co, both qualified for the State Duals last season, and both teams went 0-2. Pierce saw the most success at the Traditional tournament, finishing in 7th place. There are only 4 returning State qualifiers in this Area and none of them are returning placers.
History says Pierce and Brantley Co will once again be battling out for the top 2 spots in the Area Duals. Both teams return 2 State Qualifiers and both teams return 6 Sectional qualifiers. The winner of that Dual, could very well be the team that wins the matchups between returning qualifiers.
Appling Co returns 8 Sectional qualifiers but no returning State qualifiers. However, with so many returning starters, they should be in a good position to grab a hold of one of the State Playoff births.
Savannah Arts, Groves, and Windsor Forest each return a handful of Sectional qualifiers and should be in position to battle it out for the last spot in the State Playoffs.
Beach, Johnson-Savannah, and Savannah each return 2 or fewer sectional qualifiers and will find it difficult to put together enough of a lineup to contend for one of the top 4 spots in the Area Duals.
1. Pierce Co.
2. Brantley Co.
3. Appling Co.
4. Savannah Arts
Best Wrestler: Stone, Brantley Co-113
Keep an Eye on: Wyatt Greene, Brantley Co-182
Teams: Adairsville, Bremen, Gordon Central, Haralson Co, Pepperell, Rockmart, Sandy Creek, Sonoraville
8 teams that competed across 3 different classifications last season. Sandy Creek is coming down from 4A with Adairsville, Haralson, and Sonoraville coming in from 3A. The other 4 teams competed in 2A last season. There are 29 returning State qualifiers in this Area, with 14 of them being returning Placers. Adairsville, Bremen, and Sonoraville advanced to the State Duals last season. Adairsville and Bremen both made it to the consolation semifinals, and Sonoraville finished as State Runner-Up. 5 of these teams finished in the top 10 at the State Traditional tournament. This Area is also loaded with individual talent, and it features 6 State Finalists.
Sonoraville is the top team in this Area and should cruise to the Duals Championship. They return 5 State Placers and 7 State qualifiers. They will be led by a pair of State Champions, Senior Eli Knight won it at 126 lbs and Junior Jebb Knight won it at 170 pounds.
Bremen, Rockmart, and Adairsville should be battling it out for the opportunity to face Sonoraville in the finals of the Area Duals. Bremen returns 10 Sectional Qualifiers, with 6 of those also qualifying for the State Tournament. Bremen will be led by 106 pound State Champion, Braden Sauls. Rockmart is returning 6 State qualifiers with 3 of them being returning State Placers. They will be led by 170 pound 3rd place finisher, Dalvin Millhollan. Adairsville has the most work to do in order to make the Area Duals finals, as they return 4 State qualifiers. They will be led by 160 pound State Runner-up, Dalton Cornett.
Of the remaining teams, Pepperell has the best chance at breaking into the top 4. They return 3 State Placers, led by 170 pound State Champ, Drake Miller. Haralson Co returns 3 State Qualifiers with returning State Placer, Jacob Wilson.
Sandy Creek and Gordon Central do not return any Sectional Qualifiers for this season.
Best Wrestler: Eli Knight, Sonoraville-126
Keep an Eye on: Cody Allen, Bremen-132