New format for the State Duals this season. In the predictions that you see below, please understand that they are based on limited information that I have been able to find this season, along with individual results posted by these wrestlers last season. Please to not feel slighted if you feel like they are way off, I encourage you to go out there and prove these predictions wrong. The whole purpose of this preview is to generate interest in the upcoming events.
Teams: Bainbridge, Cairo, Dougherty, Monroe, Thomas County Central, Westover
Hosted by Cairo
Westover and Monroe will have lineups that are less than half full, so that leaves 4 teams to fight for the 4 positions in the State Tournament. Dougherty can only fill around 8 or 9 weight classes and Cairo will probably have a couple of forfeits as well. Bainbridge and Thomas County Central should have full lineups, or close at least very close.
Cairo qualified for the State Duals last season, and they return 3 wrestlers that are currently ranked in the top 10, led by Hadley at 106. TCC and Bainbridge both have 4 wrestlers ranked in the top 10, but TCC has two of theirs in the top 5. I look for these three teams to have a few close duals as they sort things out.
1. Thomas County Central
Teams: Carver Columbus, Columbus, Hardaway, Jordan, Kendrick, LaGrange, Shaw, Spencer, Troup Co
Hosted by Shaw/Spencer (not sure what that means)
A 9 team region that sees all but Carver and Kendrick having full or close to full lineups. I see this as a 5 team race to fit into the 4 State positions. These teams have had several duals amongst themselves this season, with Spencer and Columbus coming through undefeated. It will be interesting to see how changes to lineups with new people coming in and weight descents alter the results from earlier in the year. Each of these teams has 3 or 4 wrestlers ranked inside the top 10, and each of them has 2 or 3 wrestlers that are looking to make a name for themselves over the next few weeks. Spencer like always is loaded in the upperweights, and that strength, along with Hardy down at 120 makes it difficult to navigate their lineup. Columbus and LaGrange are young, but solid and they will be teams to keep an eye on, as those young wrestlers begin to emerge.
Teams: Benedictine, Islands, Jenkins, New Hampstead
Hosted by Benedictine
As best as I can tell, only Benedictine will be competing in the State series this season. Someone please send me an email if this isn't accurate.
Teams: Baldwin, Howard, Perry, Rutland, Spalding, West Laurens, Westside Macon
Hosted by Perry
This Region has been and will continue to be dominated by Perry and West Laurens. Both teams qualified for the State Duals last season with Perry knocking off West Laurens in the Region Duals. West Laurens would get their revenge in Macon, by winning over Perry in the consolation rounds. Howard and Westside will likely have less than half of a lineup, so that leaves Baldwin, Rutland, and Spalding fighting it out for the last 3 spots.
West Laurens is loaded in the upper weights, with some solid wrestler scattered throughout the rest of the lineup, where as Perry is strong in the middle of their lineup, with a few solid wrestlers spread through the top and bottom. Baldwin has the most complete lineup of the remaining three schools, so I like them in the 3rd spot. A match between Rutland and Spalding will more than likely come down to where the forfeits fall, as both teams will have a few.
Please give the fans a match between Williams (Perry) and Guyton (West Laurens).
1. West Laurens
Region 1 Champion Quad: @ Thomas Co Central
1-1 Thomas Co Central vs 4-4 Rutland
2-3 Lagrange vs 3-2 NONE
Region 2 Champion Quad: @ Spencer
2-1 Spencer vs 3-4 NONE
1-3 Cairo vs 4-2 Perry
Region 3 Champion Quad: @ Benedictine
3-1 Benedictine vs 2-4 Troup
4-3 Baldwin vs 1-2 Bainbridge
Region 4 Championship Quad: @ West Laurens
4-1 West Laurens vs 1-4 Dougherty
3-3 NONE vs 2-2 Columbus
Teams: Fayette Co, Hampton, Luella, McDonough, Mt Zion Jonesboro, North Clayton, Riverdale
Hosted by Hampton
McDonough and North Clayton roster size will not allow them to participate in the event. Fayette, Luella, and Riverdale will have numerous forfeits in their lineup, that should leave Hampton and Mt. Zion, Jonesboro as the two teams competing for the Region Title.
Hampton has 6 wrestlers ranked in the top 10 and as long as they can fill out the rest of the lineup, they should be in pretty good shape. Mt. Zion is jumping classifications, and they have 3 wrestlers ranked in the top 10, and several others that are close to breaking through.
2. Mt Zion, Jonesboro
5. Fayette Co
Teams: Arabia Mountain, Druid Hills, Hapeville, Marist, Mays, Miller Grove, Stephenson
Hosted by Marist
Druid Hills, Hapeville, and Mays have not assessed any wrestlers. Arabia Mountain and Stephenson will have half of a lineup, and Miller Grove will be a little bit over half of a lineup. This leaves Marist as the Champion, and I will be interested to see which teams besides Marist will show up to compete.
2. Miller Grove
4. Arabia Mountain
Teams: Cedartown, Central Carroll, Heritage Catoosa, Northwest Whitfield, Pickens Co, Ridgeland, Southeast Whitfield
Hosted by Heritage, Catoosa
Finally, a Region with 7 teams where all of the teams will have mostly full lineups, and solid lineups at that. Northwest Whitfield finished 4th last season at the State Duals, beating Central, Carroll by 1 in the consolation semifinals. I could see those two teams meeting up in the finals of Region this year as it looks like they have separated themselves a little bit from the rest of the region.
Central, Carroll is very strong in the upper weights and it will be interesting to see if Pickens and Ridgeland can counter that strength with their superb lower weights. Northwest Whitfield is solid from top to bottom, and their ranked wrestlers are nicely spread throughout their lineup to give them tremendous flexibility to get the matchups they desire. Heritage is the wild card in all of this, as they have some very good high end talent, but i am not sure if they have enough in the rest of their lineup to make a push for the top 4.
1. Northwest Whitfield
2. Central, Carroll
3. Pickens Co
5. Heritage, Catoosa
Teams: Cedar Shoals, Chestatee, East Hall, Flowery Branch, Jefferson, Madison Co, North Oconee
Hosted by Jefferson
Cedar Shoals is the only team in the region, that will have too many forfeits to overcome. East Hall has four highly ranked wrestlers, but in this very deep region, that will not be enough to overcome the others to make the top 4. Jefferson vs North Oconee will be your Finals match, and it will be one of the best dual matches in the State this Saturday (maybe just a touch behind Woodland vs Cass, but that's the next preview). Flowery Branch, Chestatee, and Madison Co will be battling it out for the final 2 spots, unfortunately, one of these talented teams will have to stay home.
The Jefferson vs North Oconee dual has been circled on my calendar since the GHSA released the new Region alignments last year. In that one dual, we could see as many as 6 matches between wrestler ranked in the top 5. At the beginning of the summer North Oconee was the preseason #1 team in 4A, however with the additions of Honiotes and Dendy, the Dragons took over that #1 ranking around the holidays.
Any chance someone can get us a live stream for this match? If so send me an email with the link and we will put it on the site- firstname.lastname@example.org
1. North Oconee
3. Flowery Branch
5. Madison Co
Region 5 Champion Quad: @ Hampton
5-1 Hampton vs 8-4 Chestatee
6-3 Stephenson vs 7-2 Central, Carroll
Region 6 Champion Quad: @ Marist
6-1 Marist vs 7-4 Ridgeland
5-3 Luella vs 8-2 Jefferson
Region 7 Champion Quad: @ Northwest Whitfield
7-1 Northwest Whitfield vs 6-4 Arabia Mountain
8-3 Flowery Branch vs 5-2 Mt. Zion, Jonesboro
Region 8 Champion Quad: @ North Oconee
8-1 North Oconee vs 5-4 Riverdale
7-3 Pickens Co vs 6-2 Miller Grove
1-1 Thomas Co Central
4-1 West Laurens
7-2 Central, Carroll
7-1 Northwest Whitfield
8-1 North Oconee