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Class 2A State Duals Preview

By Georgia Grappler, 01/18/22, 7:30PM AKST

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State Dual Finals this Weekend

State Dual Championships

Initial Reactions

- 7 of the 8 Areas are represented with only Area 1 being absent, Area 7 was able to get two squads into the Elite 8.

- 5 teams from last season's Elite 8 are returning this year, including the top 4 finishers from 2021. The 3 new schools to crash the party are Fannin Co, Haralson Co, and Pepperell

- The brackets could be considered a tad unbalanced, but i think this is a 3 team race, and none of those teams are meeting in round 1, so I can live with 3 of the top 4 teams all being on one side of the bracket.  

- Vidalia and Lamar Co will be meeting in the 1st round for the 2nd year in a row.  Vidalia won last season 47-36.

1st Round

Oglethorpe Co vs Pepperell: Defending State Duals Champion Oglethorpe Co comes into the Elite 8 with a perfect 16-0 record, and they will face Area 7 runner-up Pepperell who is 20-13.  Not the easiest draw for the number 1 seed, but I have definitely seen worse.  Oglethorpe is one of three teams that make up the front runners to win the title, and they should be able to advance to the semis convincingly. 

Lamar Co vs Vidalia:  Vidalia won against Lamar Co in round 1 last season, and that catapulted them all the way to a 4th place finish last year.  This season Vidalia has lost a tad more than Lamar did from last year, and that should help the Trojans squeak out a close win.  

Lovett vs Fannin Co:  This should be the best dual meet of the quarterfinal round in 2A.  Lovett definitely has what it takes to contend for the State Championship with an outstanding set of lightweights that is bolstered by a couple of top notch upper weights.  Fannin has elite level talent scattered through out their lineup, making it easier for them to get desirable matchups because their best wrestlers aren't stacked back to back to back.  However, this strength can be turned against them if they come out on the wrong end of the toss.  Lovett will have just enough firepower to advance on to the semis.

Dade Co vs Haralson Co:  Dade lost in the finals last season to Oglethorpe Co and will be looking for redemption this season.  They bring back more of their 2021 lineup than anyone else in the field making them one of the favorite to take home the Championship.  They will cruise past a scrappy Haralson Co team that continues to surprise me each year.

Semifinals

Oglethorpe vs Lamar Co: This is where Oglethorpe will benefit greatly over the other two teams that are the front runners to win the title.  They should be able to advance past Lamar without taxing all of their guys, and may be able to rest some of their weapons that need to be at their best in the Finals.  Lamar Co will win a few matches, but Oglethorpe is the defending Champs and #1 seed for a reason, they depth that they have through the middle weights is unmatched in 2A.

Potential Matchups: Obviously this could and will change based on coaches moving people around to optimize their lineups.
106- Miles Mason vs Reid Flournoy
113- Logan Tatum vs Nathan Layton
120- Bryan Valladares vs Lily Watson
126- Chayton Tuck vs Sam Blevins
132- Tanner Mask vs Braden Pines
138- Shane Watson vs Hunter Hammock
145- Kyle Frankel/Austin Kort vs Jacob Gibson/Nathan Stubbs
152- Clay Forst vs Jacob Gibson/Nathan Stubbs
160- Landon Autry vs Cayden Sloan
170- Christian Palma vs Gary Morton
182- Caleb Hall vs Mason Pino
195- Edward Bridges vs Christian Bostic
220- Logan Steward vs James Gilroy
285- Dylan Anglin vs Clinton Williamson

Oglethorpe Co is heavily favored to win 8 of these matchups, and in areas where Lamar Co could potentially make a move to get a better match up, Oglethorpe can counter that with a very solid back up, or an even better wrestler in the next weight class.  Best case scenario for Lamar Co would be an 8/6 split, but I thing 9/5 or even 10/4 is a more realistic outcome.  195 match between Bridges and Bostic could be the highlight of this dual.

Dade Co vs Lovett: This is one of those duals that will see tons of strategy in getting the right matchups, everything will play a role in determining the outcome, from who weighs in at what weights all the way to who wins the toss.  Both teams boast 10 returning State Qualifiers in the lineup and they both have a returning State Champ, and they both have weights in their lineup that the other team can capitalize on, and they both have flexibility in spots that give them moves to make depending on who has to report first.

Potential Matchups: Obviously this could and will change based on coaches moving people around to optimize their lineups.
106- Hayden Langley vs Cael Kusky
113- Gideon Moore vs Alex Hyman
120- Jake Gatlin vs Jack Ghegan
126- Garrett Dunn vs Logan Lutz
132- Andy Breeden/Gavin Childress vs Jack Kennedy?
138- Brandon Willerson vs Parker Coy
145- Heidi Raines vs Nicholas Moffett
152- Cayden Cooper vs Chris Mance
160- Zach Smith vs Will LeCompte
170- Grayson Brown/Ryker Stanley? vs Finn Bresnahan
182- Landon Williams vs Luke Graham
195- Cody Williams vs Aiden Kauffman
220- Austin Sorrelle vs Christian Bell
285- Dakota Whitmore vs William Stimmell

We will not see very many of the matches listed above as I see both coaches moving their lineup around to get the matchups that they want.  In a straight up match I see this as a 6/4 split with 4 HUGE Toss up matches.  At 126 we could see two round of 12 guys face off with Dunn and Lutz, huge question mark for Lovett at 132, will they have Jack Kennedy available, if so they are favored to win that match, if not, who do they go with?  152 could be the match of the dual between Cayden Cooper and freshman phenom Chris Mance.  To round everything out, Sorrelle vs Bell at 220, a match between state placers from last year.  Lovett has the pieces to knock off Dade, and they match up better with them than just about anyone else.  In the end I think Dade is able to come away with a narrow victory due to their ability to score big bonus points in several spots, and I think they pick up an upset in a result we never saw coming.

Consolation Rounds
Pepperell over Vidalia
Fannin Co over Haralson Co

Lovett over Pepperell
Fannin Co over Lamar Co

Consolation Finals
Lovett vs Fannin Co: A round 1 rematch that should once again go Lovett's way.  However, Lovett could have a slight negative dip in momentum after narrowly losing in the semifinals.  If they can fully overcome the heartbreak in their consolation semis match vs Pepperell, then they should be in position to knock off Fannin again.  I see this match as an 8/6 split in favor of Lovett, and Lovett wins the battle of bonus points as well.  The absolute highlight of this Dual will be at 113 in a battle between Alex Hyman and Blake Summers.

Final Score: Lovett 39   Fannin Co 29

 

State Championship Dual
Oglethorpe Co vs Dade Co:
106- Miles Mason vs Hayden Langley
113- Logan Tatum vs Gideon Moore
120- Bryan Valladares vs Jake Gatlin
126- Chayton Tuck vs Garrett Dunn
132- Tanner Mask vs Andy Breeden/Gavin Childress
138- Shane Watson vs Brandon Willerson
145- Kyle Frankel/Austin Kort vs Heidi Raines
152- Clay Frost vs Cayden Cooper
160- Landon Autry vs Zac Smith
170- Christian Palma vs Grayson Brown/Ryker Stanley?
182- Caleb Hall vs Landon Williams
195- Edward Bridges vs Cody Williams
220- Logan Steward vs Austin Sorelle
285- Dylan Anglin vs Dakota Whitmore

Dade Co will move their lineup around to try and get the desired matchups, but Oglethorpe is so strong in the middle weights that if Dade has to report first, their hands could be tied in a couple of places.  I see Oglethorpe as the heavy favorite at 7 weights, and they will pick up big bonus at several of those weights.  Dade Co has weights where they are favored as well with big bonus, but there are at least 2 legitimate toss ups, plus a couple of other matches where Dade may be the favorite, but an Oglethorpe win isn't out of the realm of possibility.  152 will be a great matchup if we get to see Frost vs Cooper, to me that is a true toss up along with 113 between two relative unknowns.  Dade will need to win those toss ups and pick up an upset in order to win the dual, because I think Oglethorpe takes the match if it's a 7/7 split.  

Final Score: Oglethorpe 37   Dade Co 25

Top 4
1. Oglethorpe Co
2. Dade Co
3. Lovett
4. Fannin Co

 

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