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1A State Tournament Preview and Predictions

By Georgia Grappler, 02/14/23, 8:00AM AKST


Individual State Champions will be Crowned!!!!!


It's time for the Traditional State Tournament, but before we get to that, just a few stats on how our Rankings stacked up to Sectional results.

146 of the 168 State Qualifiers were ranked in our final top 15 Rankings.

12 of the 14 top ranked wrestlers won their Sectional Tournament

Team Race:  This is a 3 team Race between Mt. Pisgah, Social Circle, and Trion, we will highlight those 3 teams in each weights preview.

The 1A State Tournament will begin at 8am on Thursday (2/16) and the Finals will be held Friday (2/17) evening at around 7:00

Good Luck to all the Wrestlers and Coaches this week as you chase your dreams and goals!!!  If we don't predict you where you want to be, then go out there and prove us wrong.


Lightweights 106-132

With Jayden Brown of Temple winning Section A, it puts the 3 top ranked wrestlers all on the bottom half of the bracket, which ultimately helps Social Circle in the team race if Cuendet can get by Brown in the semifinals. 

Team Race: Trion doesn't have an entry at this weight, and Mt. Pisgah's Conner Doherty is the favorite to win the title.  Social Circle will need a few upsets along the way if they want to win the title, and this is one of the places that they can earn a few more points than expected. 

Best 1st round match: #6 Wadley (East Laurens) vs #7 Pawlish (St. Francis)

Best Quarterfinal match: #5 Cuendet (Social Circle) vs #6 Wadley (East Laurens)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Conner Doherty, Mt. Pisgah
2nd- Mason Cuendet, Social Circle
3rd- Bryson Rutledge, Chattooga
4th- Jayden Brown, Temple
5th- Raymond Bentley, Oglethorpe Co
5th- Eli Pawlish, St. Francis


We get #1 and #2 on opposite sides of the bracket in this weight class, as both Loghridge, Trion and Mitchell, Social Circle, won their sectional.  Mitchell looks to be coming out of the tougher Section, which means Loughridge will have the tougher half of the bracket at the State Tournament.

Team Race: All 3 teams have an entrant here, but all eyes will be on the previously mentioned Sectional Champs.  Prinzo could pick up some valuable team points for Mt. Pisgah, but he isn't favored to win in round 1.

Best 1st round match: #10 Prinzo (Mt Pisgah) vs #8 McCollister (Armuchee)

Best Quarterfinal match: #4 Brink (Athens Christian) vs #3 Moeser (Mt Vernon)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Braydon Mitchell, Social Circle
2nd- Clayton Loughridge, Trion
3rd- John Charles Moeser, Mt Vernon
4th- Johann Brink, Athens Christian
5th- Dusty McCollister, Armuchee
5th- Eli Woolum, Temple


James Willingham of Trion upsetting 2x State Champ Kolby Dempsey has turned this bracket all kinds of upside down.  Dempsey will now see Castillo in the semifinals instead of the much anticipated showdown in the finals.

Team Race: The upset has also had a tremendous impact on the team race, as now we will get a huge semifinal matchup between Trion and Mt. Pisgah in the semifinals on the top half.  The reason this is so big is because it means that one of these two teams could get finals team points at a weight where it wasn't expected.  On the flip side, it makes the path to the finals more difficult for Castillo from Social Circle, and they desperately need finals points here.

Best 1st round match: #7 Sam Robbins (Screven Co) vs #11 Cainan Gladden (Treutlan)

Best Quarterfinal match: #3 Nick Samples (Mt Zion, Carroll) vs #1 Kolby Dempsey (Armuchee)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Kolby Dempsey, Armuchee
2nd- Pierre Nelson, Mt Pisgah
3rd- Connor Castillo, Social Circle
4th- Nick Samples, Mt Zion Carroll
5th- Miles Mason, Oglethorpe Co
5th- Pace Linefeld, St. Francis


The top 2 ranked wrestlers came from the same sectional, but didn't meet in the tournament as Moten got up set in the quarters.  Lange of Mt. Pisgah was the top ranked wrestler in the other sectional and he lost in the finals to Duren of Social Circle.  While the strength of the bracket is very balanced, the wrestlers aren't where we expected them to be, giving us some intriguing matchups.  I anticipate this to be a wild bracket that will be way of from our predictions.

Team Race: All 3 of the top teams have entrants in the weight and we could get a semifinal match up between Mt. Pisgah and Trion on the top half.  Trion desperately needs to win the matches where they are favored, and will need to pick up a few extra wins if they want to keep pace with Social Circle and Mt. Pisgah.  Social Circle is in position to pick up a few more points than expected at this weight, if Duren can get by Moten in the semis.

Best 1st round match: #9 Brown (Oglethorpe Co) vs #10 Fontenette (Mt Zion, Carroll)

Best Quarterfinal match: #6 Usher (Commerce) vs Lange (Mt Pisgah)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Seth Huskins, Trion
2nd- Curtis Duren- Social Circle
3rd- Cory Moten- Pepperell
4th- Christian Lange- Mt. Pisgah
5th- Wesley Usher, Commerce
5th- Aden Davis, Darlington


The top 2 ranked wrestlers in the weight both won their sectionals, giving us a great chance to have a 1 vs 2 finals match on Friday night.  Brady Nardella moved into the top spot when he dropped a weight class late in the season, and he looks to improve upon his State Runner-up finish from last season.  Gavin Carlton of Chattooga has knocked off Crawford Lee of Trion in the finals each of the last 2 weeks, Lee will have to get through Nardella to set up round 3.

Team Race: Trion and Mt. Pisgah should meet in the semifinals, with Nardella being a slight favorite over Lee.  Trion really needs to pull the upset here if they want to still be in the hunt when Friday's matches roll around.  Social isn't expected to score much at this weight, and any points here would be unexpected.

Best 1st round match: #8 Skinner (Screven Co) vs #7 Carter (Coosa)

Best Quarterfinal match: #3 Lee (Trion) vs #4 Pierce (Irwin Co)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Brady Nardella, Mt. Pisgah
2nd- Gavin Carlton, Chattooga
3rd- Crawford Lee, Trion
4th- Carter Fleming, Elbert Co
5th- Waylon Carter, Coosa
5th- Gideon Moore, Dade Co





Middleweights 138-165

Marley Washington is the heavy favorite to pick up his first State Title in his 3rd trip to the finals.  He was definitely in the weaker of the two sectionals, so his path to the finals will be tough, but he should roll on his way to the top of the podium.  

Team Race: Andrew Jones of Trion greatly helped his teams chances by winning Sectionals and finding his way to the opposite side of the bracket from Washington.  Trion has a lot of points to make up and this is one of several weight classes where they can do just that.  Social Circle would like to see Farmer make the podium, but his draw doesn't seem to favor that outcome.

Best 1st round match: #6 Farmer (Social Circle) vs #9 O'Neal (Dublin)

Best Quarterfinal match: #3 Edge (Pepperell) vs #2 Gillespie (Heard Co)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Marley Washington, Mt. Pisgah
2nd- Andrew Jones, Trion
3rd- Mason Gillespie, Heard Co
4th- Kolton Edge, Pepperell
5th- Isiah Davis, Elbert Co
5th- Caden Atkins, Armuchee


The top 2 ranked wrestlers met in the finals at sectionals, as did the 3rd and 4th ranked wrestlers.  That sets us up with a classic 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 semifinal making this bracket close to having true seeds.  The Jace Parent vs Braderick Bennett semifinal will be a fun one to watch and possibly the best semifinal that doesn't impact the team race in the entire tournament.

Team Race: Mt. Pisgah is absent from this bracket, while Trion and Social Circle are on opposite sides, so it is unlikely that we will see any head to head matches impacting the team race.  Jackson of Trion has a tough draw facing Parent in the quarters, but he needs to score big in the conso rounds to keep up with Social and Mt Pisgah.

Best 1st round match: #8 Hammock (Lamar Co) vs #5 Jackson (Trion)

Best Quarterfinal match: #3 Bennett (Temple) vs #6 McCormick (Charlton Co)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Lance Thacker, Social Circle
2nd- Jace Parent, St Francis
3rd- Braderick Bennett, Temple
4th- Zachery Lee, Swainsboro
5th- Tanner Mask, Oglethorpe Co
5th- Carter Jackson, Trion


2x State Champion and 3x Finalist, Tyler Nelson will be the favorite to win the title at this weight.  He will face some tough competition in the finals against either Hames of Trion or Eldridge of Social, but I can't see anyone keeping him off the top of the podium this year.  

Team Race:  Nelson will assuredly give Mt Pisgah big points here, but with a potential Trion vs Social, #3 vs #2 matchup in the semis on the top half, this weight could be huge in the team race for everyone involved.  Trion comes into the tournament behind the other two on points, they need a finals appearance in this weight to catch up.  Social Circle can't afford to drop any matches where they are favored if they want to keep pace with Mt Pisgah who is favored to win.

Best 1st round match: #8 Gresham (Temple) vs #12 Brown (Oglethorpe Co)

Best Quarterfinal match: #4 West (Commerce) vs #2 Eldridge (Social Circle)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Tyler Nelson, Mt. Pisgah
2nd- James Eldridge, Social Circle
3rd- Gus Hames, Trion
4th- Fischer West, Commerce
5th- Rome Thornton, Montgomery Co
5th- Cole Page, East Laurens


The top 2 ranked guys in this bracket were in the same sectional, but on opposite sides of the bracket, however they did not meet in the finals due to the 3rd ranked wrestler, Parent of St Francis, knocking off #2 in the quarters.  Parent and Kacen Taylor of Social Circle will wrestle again in the quarters this weekend, with the winner likely facing off against Bertrand of Mt. PIsgah in the finals.

Team Race: Trion doesn't have an entry at this weight, and Mt. Pisgah is almost a shoe in to make the finals.  Social Circle will need for Kacen Taylor to avenge last weeks loss against Parent and make the finals, or they could be in trouble when it comes to the team race.  If he does drop another one to Parent, he will need to get lots of bonus on the backside to make up for the lost placement points.

Best 1st round match: #2 Taylor (Social Circle) vs #7 Scott (Montgomery Co)

Best Quarterfinal match: #2 Taylor (Social Circle) vs #3 Parent (St Francis)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Joey Bertrand, Mt Pisgah
2nd- Cade Parent, St Francis
3rd- Kacen Taylor, Social Circle
4th- David McFarland, Screven Co
5th- Jackson Lawrence, Pepperell
5th- Austin Bowlden, Lamar Co


Brayden Phillips and Miles Watts reversed their Area Finals results in the sectional finals, so now we should see two former State Champions in the semis on the top half when Watts meets Toby Maddux.  Phillips Sectional Final win gives him a great draw to the State Finals as only Antonio Benjamin of Dublin is ranked in the top 5 on the bottom half of the bracket.

Team Race: Maddux is undefeated and the clear front runner at this weight for Trion.  Mt. Pisgah does not have an entrant at 165, and Crews of Social Circle got a pretty tough draw with Watts in the quarters.  Crews needs to rack up a lot of bonus points in the consolation rounds to help Social Circle close the gap with Mt. Pisgah.

Best 1st round match: ##7 Cook (Chattooga) vs #6 O'Toole (Mt Vernon)

Best Quarterfinal match: #4 Crews (Social Circle) vs #2 Watts (Rabun Co)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Toby Maddux, Trion
2nd- Brayden Phillips, Commerce
3rd- Miles Watts, Rabun Co
4th- Sean Crews, Social Circle
5th- Zayden Cook, Chattooga
5th- Antonio Benjamin, Dublin

Upperweights 175-285

The top 2 guys at this weight met in the semifinals at sectionals with Waddell of Pepperell picking up a major decision win over Blaschke of Trion.  I wouldn't be surprised to see those two meet up again in the finals, but Blaschke will have to contend with 3rd ranked Lange of Mt. Pisgah in the semis.

Team Race:  Huge semifinal match up between Lange of Mt Pisgah and Blaschke of Trion.  Losing in the semis last week could have a double benefit for Trion as it gives Blaschke a 1st round match, where he should get bonus points, and it puts him on the same side as Lange, where he can help to prevent Mt. Pisgah from picking up big finals placement points.  Social Circle has Jaxon Ethridge at this weight, he should be able to advance to semifinals and will have the opportunity to pick up some decent bonus points and placement points on the backside.

Best 1st round match: #4 Lonon (Screven Co) vs #8 Cowan (Darlington)

Best Quarterfinal match: #4 Lonon (Screven Co) vs #3 Lange (Mt. Pisgah)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Matthew Waddell, Pepperell
2nd- Cohen Blaschke, Trion
3rd- Josh Lange, Mt. Pisgah
4th- Jaxon Etheridge, Social Circle
5th- Vasquez Lonon, Screven Co
5th- Michael Pozzobon, Mt Vernon


Logan Eller is an absolute beast, and with Hoke Poe moving up to 215, he is a virtual lock to win his 2nd title this season after finishing 2nd last year.  

Team Race: Eller will have the ability to knock both Social Circle and Mt. Pisgah into the consolation rounds, as he will see Brock in the quarters and Steele Brown in the semis.  Brock could have a tough road through the backside, but he may need to come back through to pick up placement points for Social to stay in contention.

Best 1st round match: #10 McCoy (Temple) vs #7 Hall (Oglethorpe Co)

Best Quarterfinal match: #3 Price (Montgomery Co) vs #7 Hall (Oglethorpe Co)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Logan Eller, Trion
2nd- Ethan Price, Montgomery Co
3rd- Steele Brown, Mt. Pisgah
4th- Tysean Wiggins, Commerce
5th- Justin Cody, Rabun Co
5th- Caleb Hall, Oglethorpe Co


1 vs 2 in the finals in match up that could give us defending State Champions battling it out the title.  Hoke Poe wrestled at 190 at times throughout the year, and recently moved up to 215 for the post season, Landon Williams of Dade Co is 31-2 on the season, and both wrestlers won their sectional tournament.

Team Race: Social Circle doesn't have an entry at this weight, while Mt. Pisgah and Trion come in ranked 3rd and 4th respectively.  Both should advance to the semifinals, and should eventually meet up in the consolation finals.  Will the team race be over by the time they meet up, or will that be an important match that decides the whole thing?

Best 1st round match: #11 Davis (ECI) vs #15 Harrell (Crawford Co)

Best Quarterfinal match: #3 Chane (Mt. Pisgah) vs #5 Galbreath (Rabun Co)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Hoke Poe-Hogan, Commerce
2nd- Landon Williams, Dade Co
3rd- Lane Harris, Trion
4th- Joy Chane, Mt. Pisgah
5th- Jet Galbreath, Rabun Co
5th- Jacob Griffith, East Laurens


The heavyweights are always the toughest to predict, one wrong move and the match is over, and it can happen to anyone no matter how big of a favorite you are.  While we didn't come by it in a traditional way, we do have the #1 ranked wrestler opposite of the #2 and 3 ranked wrestlers, however there were definitely some surprising finishes at sectionals by wrestlers like Jordan Castellanos of Dade and Wyatt Halstead of Schley Co.  However you are bound to see some weird brackets in this format when the top 5 guys are all in the same sectional.  

Team Race: JD Duval of Social Circle is the only wrestler from the top 3 teams that is in this weight class.  He will have a tough semifinal match up against Williamson of Lamar Co, but if he can win that he could find himself in the finals.

Best 1st round match: #7 Joiner (Irwin Co) vs #5 Anglin (Oglethorpe Co)

Best Quarterfinal match: #3 Duval (Social Circle) vs #2 Williamson (Lamar Co)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Zander McLane, Commerce
2nd- Clint Williamson, Lamar Co
3rd- JD Duval, Social Circle
4th- Levi Shaw, Montgomery Co
5th- Dylan Anglin, Oglethorpe Co
5th- Austin Spivey, East Laurens

Final 1A Team Standings

1. Mt Pisgah
2. Social Circle
3. Trion
4. Commerce
5. Pepperell
6. St. Francis
7. Oglethorpe Co
8. Armuchee
9. Elbert Co
10. Montgomery Co
11. Chattooga
12. Temple
13. Lamar Co
14. Rabun Co
15. East Laurens

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