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State Duals Prelims Preview and Predictions 4A-7A

By Georgia Grappler, 01/14/22, 4:15AM AKST

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Big Weekend Ahead

4A

Cairo vs New Hampstead
Pickens at Hampton

Cairo has withdrawn and New Hampstead has been advanced on the GHSA brackets.  Pickens against Hampton has all the makings of a 4 seed 1st round upset.  Hampton also lost in the 1st round last year to #4 Madison Co.  If Pickens were to pull of the upset, they would be in great position to advance all the way to the Elite 8.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Pickens

 

Miller Grove vs Chestatee
Howard at Columbus

Columbus has emerged as one of the top threats in this classification to push Jefferson for the State Championship.  Chestatee is a little bit of a surprise coming in as a Region runner-up, but they will need several upsets to get past Columbus in order to advance past this weekend.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Columbus

 

Islands vs Bainbridge
Fayette Co at Central, Carroll

Central, Carroll finished 4th last year at the State Duals, but after suffering numerous losses to graduation, I wasn't sure they would have enough left to advance out of a very tough Region, boy was I wrong, not only did they advance they won the Region Championship.  They will probably see Bainbridge in round 2, but neither match this weekend will prove to be too difficult.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Central, Carroll

 

North Oconee vs Stephenson
Shaw at West Laurens

North Oconee and West Laurens will both advance to the sweet 16 fairly easily.  These two teams are very similar to one another in that where the are good, they are REALLY good.  The key to winning the dual will lay in the hands of each teams 2nd tier wrestlers.  West Laurens looks to be just a little bit stronger in the weights where they don't have their studs, and this will allow them to push through.

Advancing to the Elite 8- West Laurens

 

Jordan vs Perry
Madison Co at Marist

Madison Co is a late replacement to the bracket for Flowery Branch, who had to withdraw.  Last year Madison Co pulled a 1st round upset as a 4 seed, can they replicate that this year coming in as a 5?  If they can they should be able to push through all the way to the Elite 8 as Jordan and Perry both look to be a few steps behind both Marist and Madison Co.  Jordan has been steadily improving over the past 3 or 4 years, and Perry is having to replace a lot of great wrestlers that have graduated over the past 2 years.  I think Perry pulls out the win and advances to the Sweet 16, but their playoff will end there.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Marist

 

Heritage, Catoosa vs Mt Zion, Jonesboro
Monroe vs Benedictine

Region 7 is loaded and Heritage had to overcome quite a gauntlet of strong teams just to finish in the top 4 of their Region.  The Generals are much more battle tested than any other team in this quadrant and they will be able to go toe to toe with Benedictine in the Sweet 16.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Heritage, Catoosa

 

Baldwin vs Troup
BYE at Jefferson

Jefferson is the heavy favorite to win the State Championship, so whoever they face in the sweet 16 will have an quite an uphill climb to advance to the Elite 8.  Troup doesn't quite have all the faces they expected to have after last year, but they should be strong enough to get by Baldwin in round 1.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Jefferson

 

Luella vs Cedartown
Jenkins at Thomas County Central

Jenkins has withdrawn and TCC has been advanced to the 2nd round on the GHSA brackets.  Region 7 could advance all 4 teams to the Elite 8, and #2 seed Cedartown looks to have the toughest road out of the 4 teams, Pickens isn't a lock either.  Cedartown should be able to get by Luella in round 1, but they will have a very tough match with Thomas County Central in round 2.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Cedartown

 

Here is how I rank the teams that I have predicted to advance to the Elite 8, these are not seeds, just my rankings.
1. Jefferson
2. Columbus
3. West Laurens
4. Central, Carroll
5. Cedartown
6. Heritage, Catoosa
7. Marist
8. Pickens

5A

Coffee vs Jonesboro
Blessed Trinity at Southwest, Dekalb

This is a very balanced quadrant, however it isn't one of the tougher quadrants in the bracket.  I am not sure any of these 4 teams is in the top 8 in the classification, but it is a rare occasion when the random bracket draws fall perfectly.  Coffee advanced to the Sweet 16 last season, but ran into a very good Harris Co squad.  They should advance once again this year and will take on the 4 from the toughest Region, Blessed Trinity or the Region 5 Champs, Southwest, Dekalb.  Region 5 isn't the weakest Region in the classification, but it isn't too terribly strong either.  SWD has some very talented wrestlers in their lineup, but they also have some weights where they are more than likely going to give up 6.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Coffee

 

North Springs vs Jackson Co
Eagles Landing at Harris Co

Jackson Co won their Region last year, and squeaked by Calhoun in the Sweet 16 to advance to the Elite 8.  This year they finished 2nd in the Region, and their punishment is a 2nd round match up with very strong Harris Co squad.  The Tigers lost a bit to graduation, but they still return a great squad that is tough to match up with in a dual, especially in the light weights.  

Advancing to the Elite 8- Harris Co

 

Mundy's Mill vs Veterans
Northview at Cass

Cass and Veterans will advance to the Sweet 16 with very little trouble at all, I would be surprised to see a pair of 84-0 matches in round 1.  Cass was able to avenge a pair of losses from last year when they knocked off the defending State Duals Champions in the Region Finals, and Cass is heavily favored to return to the State Duals finals for yet another rematch with Woodland.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Cass

 

Greenbrier vs New Manchester
Northside, Columbus at Ola

Ola has a great team, and in most years they would be considered one of the top contenders for the State Title, they could probably compete for a spot in the State Finals in most of the other classifications this year, however in this classification you have two of the best teams in the State.  Greenbrier is one of the most improved programs in the entire State, regardless of classification.  Unfortunately, they will not be able to keep up with Ola in their Sweet 16 matchup.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Ola

 

Whitewater vs Jones Co
Loganville vs Villa Rica

This quadrant is very similar to the first quadrant, it is very balanced, and i would be surprised if any one of the four teams were able to advance to the Elite 8, however none of these teams would be considered one of the top 10 teams in the classification.  Loganville looks to be the biggest beneficiary of the bracket draws as they have a great chance at advancing to the Elite 8, and they definitely should advance to the Sweet 16.  However, I really like what Jones Co has done this season and they will not roll over for the Red Devils in the Sweet 16.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Jones Co

 

Calhoun vs Stone Mountain
Wayne Co at Woodward Academy

Calhoun would have benefitted greatly if they would have lost in the consolation finals at the Region Duals, but they had integrity and won the match, and now they will have to upset Woodward in the Sweet 16 if they want to push through to the Elite 8.  Woodward finished 4th at the State Duals last year, and while they may have been slightly better last season, they are practically unbeatable in the upper middle weights, and they have a chance at spoiling the Region 7 rematch in the State Finals.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Woodward Academy

 

Locust Grove vs McIntosh
Chapel Hill at Walnut Grove

The lighter half of Locust Grove's lineup is a nightmare for just about anyone, however if you can limit bonus down low or even win a match or two, they don't have enough in the upper weights to overcome that.  McIntosh has solid wrestlers throughout their lineup and they are very strong in the upper weights, and they are a bad match up for Locust Grove.  Walnut Grove will cruise in their 1st round match, and they will go strength vs strength against McIntosh in their 2nd round match.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Walnut Grove

 

St. Pius vs Woodland, Cartersville
Forest Park at Ware Co

If Loganville is the biggest beneficiary to the bracket draws, then Ware Co received the worst bracket draw possible.  They will have to face off against the defending State Duals Champions in the Sweet 16.  Woodland didn't really lose too much from last year's super team, but they apparently lost enough to fall in the finals of the Region Duals.  They will cruise to a win here as they look for a rematch against Cass in the State Finals.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Woodland, Cartersville

 

Here is how I rank the teams that I have predicted to advance to the Elite 8, these are not seeds, just my rankings.
1. Cass
2. Woodland, Cartersville
3. Woodward Academy
4. Ola
5. Harris Co
6. Walnut Grove
7. Jones Co
8. Coffee 

6A

Houston Co vs Lakeside, Evans
Riverwood at Alexander

The Cougars are one of the top programs in all of 6A, and they are in position to improve on last year's 3rd place finish.  They will probably see Houston Co in the Sweet 16, but a 1st round win by Lakeside wouldn't be too surprising.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Alexander

 

Allatoona vs Habersham
Westlake vs Brunswick

Last year Brunswick got byes all the wat to the Elite 8, this year they will have to put in a little bit of work if they want to return to the Elite 8.  Allatoona and Habersham will be a competitive 1st round match that Habersham should be able to win due to having a little more depth giving them more lineup flexibility. 

Advancing to the Elite 8- Brunswick

 

Evans vs Lee Co
South Paulding at Creekview

South Paulding vs Creekview is quite a treat in the 1st round, as Creekview edged South Paulding 39-32 in the Sweet 16 last year.  Creekview had a tough Region Duals finals match and they are the most prepared for a tough quadrant such as this, but the Creekview vs Lee Co match in the Sweet 16 could very well be the best 2nd round match in the State this weekend.  

Advancing to the Elite 8- Creekview

 

Dacula vs Lassiter
Glynn Academy at North Atlanta

 After being forced to withdraw from the State Duals last season, karma is with Lassiter this year, as they get a great draw for a 2 seed.  The Trojans should face Glynn Academy in the 2nd round and that is matchup that favors Lassiter.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Lassiter

 

Richmond Hill vs Hughes
Lanier at Pope

Another high quality Sweet 16 match up coming from 6A, while I don't think the matchup between Pope and Richmond Hill has quite the firepower that Creekview and Lee Co has, it will still be a great dual with a lot on the line.  Both teams are solid from top to bottom and both teams have top end talent scattered throughout their lineup.  Will Pope be able to muster enough points down low and through the middle weights to overcome Richmond Hill's advantage in the upper weights?

Advancing to the Elite 8- Richmond Hill

 

Cambridge vs Carrollton
Northside WR at Grovetown

What a great 1st round matchup between Cambridge and Carrollton.  This is a clash between two teams that are built differently from one another.  Cambridge's strength is centered around several studs that are nearly unbeatable in most duals with a solid supporting cast, while Carrollton is built around having a solid to exceptional wrestler at all 14 weights, where its hard to score big bonus, and you cant hide any weak wrestlers in your lineup.  The winner of this dual will face Grovetown in the Sweet 16 and ultimately advance to the Elite 8.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Carrollton

 

Lakeside, Dekalb vs South Effingham
Kennesaw Mountain at Buford

The Wolves are the heavy favorites to repeat as the State Dual Champions, and while South Effingham is a very good squad that could advance in several quadrants, they will not be able to keep up with Buford's high powered lineup.  

Advancing to the Elite 8- Buford

 

Dalton vs Sequoyah
Rockdale at Valdosta

Dropping a close match to Creekview in the Region finals was extremely costly for Sequoyah as they now have arguably the toughest road to the Elite 8 of anyone. Dalton was last season's surprise team as they knocked off Pope to advance to the Elite 8, and while they are still talented Sequoyah will prove to be too much for them in round 1.  Valdosta may not be favored to win the State Title, but they may have a better chance than anyone to advance through to the State Finals to square off against Buford.  

Advancing to the Elite 8- Valdosta

 

Here is how I rank the teams that I have predicted to advance to the Elite 8, these are not seeds, just my rankings.
1. Buford
2. Valdosta
3. Brunswick
4. Alexander
5. Creekview
6. Richmond Hill
7. Carrollton
8. Lassiter

 

7A

Lowndes vs Hillgrove
Berkmar at Woodstock

Woodstock was the surprise team in 7A last weekend winning the Region title, their reward is a match against Lowndes in the Sweet 16. Lowndes' lightweights are a matchup nightmare for just about everyone and they will be looking to improve on last season's 4th place finish at the State Duals.  Hillgrove is tough in spots, but they can't match Lowndes in overall firepower.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Lowndes

 

Lambert vs Mountain View
Parkview at East Coweta

The winner of the Lambert vs Mountain View match will advance to the Elite 8.  That dual will be very interesting as the two teams are constructed very differently.  Lambert relies on some serious high end talent that is scattered throughout their lineup, whereas Mountain View relies on being very good at all 14 weights and picking off your weaker wrestlers.  Mountain View will get their bonus points, but will it be enough to hold off Lambert's guaranteed wins at several weights.  East Coweta will roll through their first round match and advance to the Sweet 16, but that will be the end of the road for them.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Mountain View

 

Walton vs Colquitt
Alpharetta at Archer

Colquitt will once again try to assist Region 1 in advancing all 4 teams to the Elite 8.  Walton has a tough squad, but Colquitt will overwhelm them with top end talent throughout their lineup.  Archer will cruise to victory in round 1, but their young squad just doesn't have enough to overcome a veteran group like Colquitt that is looking to reach the State Finals for another crack at Camden.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Colquitt Co

 

North Gwinnett vs West Forsyth
Campbell at Brookwood

Brookwood will have no trouble advancing to the Sweet 16 to take on the defending State Duals runner-up Wolverines.  West Forsyth should advance to the Sweet 16, but it will be a closer match than many will anticipate.  The Sweet 16 matchup between Brookwood and West Forsyth should provide us with some great individual matchups like Walker vs Jett at 113, but the dual will ultimately come down to who can win the matchups when the teams 2nd tier wrestlers meet up.

Advancing to the Elite 8- West Forsyth

 

McEachern vs South Gwinnett
Collins Hill at North Forsyth

Collins Hill and North Forsyth both had some interesting results last weekend.  Collins Hill surprised many by keeping things close with several of their Region opponents, while North Forsyth turned a few heads because of the margin of victory over West Forsyth in the Region Finals.  This first round matchup is interesting because it will probably mirror what one of these teams did last weekend, it will either be much closer than many expect or North Forsyth will comfortably cruise to a victory.  McEachern and South Gwinnett will be a tight dual that I think South Gwinnett will pull out late.

Advancing to the Elite 8- North Forsyth

 

Discovery vs Cherokee
Tift Co at North Paulding

Will Tift Co once again be able to advance to the Elite 8 from a 4 seed?  If so Region 1 will send all 4 teams to the Elite 8 for the second year in a row.  However, this North Paulding squad is much better than many people realize and they can win duals in a number of ways.  They don't really have any major holes in their lineup to exploit and they have several wrestlers that will contend for State Placement.  Cherokee should advance to the Sweet 16 despite it being a rebuilding year, but they will not be able to pick up enough momentum to carry themselves through to the Elite 8.

Advancing to the Elite 8- North Paulding

 

Grayson vs Newnan
Gainesville vs Mill Creek

Gainesville has a sneaky good team, that came close to knocking off Lambert in the consolation finals last weekend, plus they matchup well with Mill Creek.  Newnan should be able to get by Grayson behind a very good group of lightweights, however they will not be able to advance to the Elite 8 no matter which of the two teams they face in the Sweet 16.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Mill Creek

 

Etowah vs Dunwoody
Marietta at Camden Co

Once again Camden Co is the heavy favorite to win the State Championship.  They are once again loaded, and they will breeze through this quadrant.  Dunwoody has been flying under the radar all year, and Etowah is very good in spots, but their supporting cast is a little lacking.  Look for Etowah to advance to face Camden.

Advancing to the Elite 8- Camden Co

 

Here is how I rank the teams that I have predicted to advance to the Elite 8, these are not seeds, just my rankings.
1. Camden Co
2. Colquitt Co
3. North Forsyth
4. Lowndes
5. North Paulding
6. West Forsyth
7. Mill Creek
8. Mountain View

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