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Class 3A State Duals Preview

By Georgia Grappler, 01/19/22, 11:15AM AKST

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State Dual Finals this Weekend

State Dual Championships

Initial Reactions

- Only 5 of the 8 Areas are represented in the Elite 8, with Area 4 getting two teams in and Area 5 qualifying 3 teams.  Murray Co, North Murray, and Oconee Co qualified this season after missing out last year.  Areas 1,2, and 7 did not qualify a team for the Elite 8.

- We will get a new Champion in 3A this season, as last year's Champion had their title vacated, and then didn't qualify this year. 

- Why are Gilmer and Murray Co wrestling in round 1 if they are coming from the same Area?

- Like 2A, 3A looks to be a three horse race for the State Title.  The bracket is well balanced with 2 of those teams on the bottom, and the other on the top, and the likely 4th best team is also on the top.  None of these teams are slated to meet in the quarterfinals.

1st Round

Gilmer vs Murray Co:  Not really sure why the GHSA allowed for this matchup to occur in the 1st round.  They usually split teams from the same Area/Region on to separate sides of the brackets, and in cases where 3 teams from the same Area qualify they put the Area Champ opposite of the other two teams (see 7A the last 2 years).  Gilmer is 34-5 in duals this year and they beat Murray Co twice by scores of 72-12 and 72-6, I would look for that to change much for round 3.

Oconee Co vs Adairsville:  This will be the most competitive quarterfinal match up in 3A, as it should be as I have these teams as the 4th and 5th best in the bracket.  Adairsville comes in with a less than stellar dual meet record this season, but they haven't been whole and that below .500 record isn't indicative of how tough they are.  Oconee Co comes in 27-7 on the year including a 46-30 win over Adairsville in early December.  Both of these teams will feature much different lineups this time around, and I expect that score to be much closer, but Oconee Co will still come out on top.

Sonoraville vs Morgan Co:  Reports of some Area bracket shenanigans have surrounded Morgan Co for a little over a week now.  None of that will help them here as Sonoraville is loaded and come in with a 16-2 dual meet record, with their only losses coming to South Paulding and Trion.  The Phoenix will roll in this match and advance to the semifinals.

Rockmart vs North Murray: The Yellow Jackets are 40-1 in duals this year with their only loss being on opening weekend at the hands of Gilmer.  They defeated North Murray 53-12 in mid December, and this match will follow a similar script advancing Rockmart to the semifinals for a huge matchup with Sonoraville.

Semifinals
Gilmer vs Oconee Co: Gilmer may be the best team in the State at reloaded with fresh faces year after year after year.  They return a lot from last season, including 5 State Placers, but they have several new faces to the lineup as well.  Those new faces will be the key to Gilmer winning a State Title.  Oconee Co brings back a lot of starters this season, but those starters are just a step behind the returners from Gilmer.

Potential Matchups: Obviously this could and will change based on coaches moving people around to optimize their lineups.
106- Juan Rafael vs Trip Garbin
113- Carson Farist vs Mac Brown
120- Arturon Gonzalez vs Ezra Bauer
126- Kellan Watts vs Hank Veit
132- Carlos Jacinto vs Kr'eme Smith
138- Carson Bentley vs Daniel Jaeck
145- Frisly Ambrosio vs Nathan Bowen
152- Miguel Jacinto vs Pyren Queen
160- Diego Jacinto vs Zane Fairbanks
170- Daniel Reynoso vs Eric Thompson
182- Hunter Brown vs Simms Dresch
195- Owen Moss vs Elijah Canup
220- Dylan Galloway vs Garrett Short
285- Tony Olea vs Jason Berko

In just about every weight where Oconee returns a State Qualifier, Gilmer returns a State Placer.  Gilmer has a few holes in their lineup that can be exploited, but Oconee is a thin team that doesn't have much room to maneuver their lineup around to take advantage of those holes.  Gilmer is favored in 10 weights, but they could win any of the 14, but i doubt they could win ALL 14.  Oconee is favored in a couple of weights, with a couple of toss ups as well.  Gilmer should win comfortably, but there will be some quality individual matchups, highlighted by Diego Jacinto vs Zane Fairbanks at 160.

Rockmart vs Sonoraville:  These two teams squared off in the consolation finals in 2021 with Rockmart coming away victorious 48-36.  This will be a very interesting dual with Rockmart being absolutely loaded in the light weights, and Sonoraville being loaded in the upper weights.  Rockmart's formula for winning is to overwhelm teams down low and then lock it up at 220 and 285, however that plan will not work with Sonoraville having Peppers and Knight at 220 and 285.  This one will be decided in the middle between these teams tier 2 wrestlers.

Potential Matchups: Obviously this could and will change based on coaches moving people around to optimize their lineups.
106- Logan Opdycke vs Noah Chastain
113- TK Davis vs Thomas Young
120- Izaeah Beavers vs Wade Parker
126- Gunner Chambers vs Jack Burke
132- James Murray vs Logan Moore
138- Bleu Winters vs Jayden Moore/Caden Blevins
145- Hunter Wilson vs Drew Davey/Reece Heaton
152- Skyler Edwards vs Braxton Mealer/Robert Mitchell
160- Nahzir Turner vs Dirk Junkins
170- Cameron Jenkins vs Colt Weaver
182- Austin Wooten vs Gavin Harper
195- Tyler Malone vs Jebb Knight
220- JaKamron Ammons vs Draven Peppers
285- Jase Davis vs Jaxx Knight

Rockmart is the favorite in 8 weight classes, and could possibly win 9 matches depending on the outcome of the Ammons vs Peppers match at 220.  Sonoraville just doesn't have the depth between 138 and 160 to be able to hang with a State Placer Winters and 3 State Qualifiers that Rockmart will throw out through those weights.  In order for Sonoraville to knock off Rockmart they will need to win the bonus battle (which is possible) and pick up at least 2 wins at the following weights 106, 126, 138, 145, 152, 160, or 220, and Rockmart is pretty solid at all 7 of those weight classes.

Consolation Rounds
Adairsville over Murray Co
North Murray over Morgan Co

Sonoraville over Adairsville
Oconee Co over North Murray

Consolation Finals
Sonoraville vs Oconee Co:  Sonoraville will dominate in the upper weights and are heavily favored from 170 up.  Oconee will be able to do some damage through the middle weights keeping the match close, but Sonoraville will be able to pick up enough wins in the light weights to give them a 3rd place finish.  I see this as an 8/6 split if Oconee Co has Hank Veit back in the lineup at 126, if not it could be 9/5.  If Oconee wants to pull the upset, they will have to win at 126 and pick up an upset at 120 or 132, both of which are possible.  If this does end in a 7/7 split, the bonus number favors Sonoraville and their dominant upper weights.

Final Score: Sonoraville 38  Oconee Co 27

State Championship Dual
Gilmer vs Rockmart:
106- Juan Rafael vs Logan Opdycke
113- Carson Farist vs TK Davis
120- Arturo Gonzalez vs Izaeah Beavers
126- Kellan Watts vs Gunner Chambers
132- Carlos Jacinto vs James Murray
138- Carson Bentley vs Bleu Winters
145- Frisly Ambrosio vs Hunter Wilson
152- Miguel Jacinto vs Skyler Edwards
160- Diego Jacinto vs Nahzir Turner
170- Daniel Reynoso vs Cameron Jenkins
182- Hunter Brown vs Austin Wooten
195- Owen Moss vs Tyler Malone
220- Dylan Galloway vs JaKamron Ammons
285- Tony Olea vs Jase Davis

Lots of places for both teams to adjust their lineup to get the matchups they prefer.  We will see a lot of strength on strength in this dual, and things ultimately could hinge on who wins the toss and three key matchups, 113 Farist vs Davis, 120 Gonzalez vs Beavers, and 220 Galloway vs Ammons.  Whichever team wins 2 of those 3 matchups should be the winner, but I doubt we will see all 3 of those matches.  These two met in the semifinals last year and I thought it would be a close match, but Gilmer ended up winning 46-21.  Gilmer also beat them in early November 42-31 in a match that was missing a number of each team's stars.  This one should be one of the best finals matches in the entire State on Saturday.

Final Score: Gilmer 28   Rockmart 26

Top 4
1. Gilmer
2. Rockmart
3. Sonoraville
4. Oconee Co

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