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5A State Tournament Preview and Predictions

By Georgia Grappler, 02/15/23, 8:45AM 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.

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

13 of the 14 top ranked wrestlers won their Sectional Tournament

Team Race: This is a 2 team race between Jefferson and Cass, with Jefferson holding the edge heading into the tournament.  Cass will need to find a way to make up ground to catch the Dragons.  We will highlight those 2 teams in each weights preview.

The 5A State Tournament will begin at 1pm 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

Lee Camp of Cass and Nick Nguyen of Harris Co were 1 and 2 heading into the sectional tournament.  Camp pinned Nguyen in the finals and he has a pretty clear path to the State Finals because of it.  Nguyen will now have to get by Kinnamore of Woodland, who he pinned at sectionals, and then Durden of Ola in the semis.  There are a lot of weights in 5A where 1 and 2 were in the same sectional, look for a rematch in the State Finals here.

Team Race: Clayton of Jefferson finished 6th at Sectionals, and he has a tough draw in which to score any points from.  This is one of the weights where Cass needs to really pile up the bonus and placement points if they want to catch Jefferson, any thing shot of 1st place will be a big blow to their team title chances.

Best 1st round match: #8 McCleskey (Jones Co) vs #5 Phillips (Ware Co)

Best Quarterfinal match: #2 Nguyen (Harris Co) vs #4 Kinnamore (Woodland, Cart)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Lee Camp, Cass
2nd- Nick Nguyen, Harris Co
3rd- Austin Kinnamore, Woodland Cartersville
4th- Lincoln Durden, Ola
5th- Robert Magana, Chapel Hill
5th- Gideon Griffiths, Northgate


Another weight where 1 and 2 were in the same Sectional, Roman Belardo of Jefferson and Mason Moody of Locust Grove met in the finals, and Belardo came away with an 8-2 decision.  These two are heavy favorite to repeat that finals match this Friday in the State Finals.

Team Race: Barrett of Cass and Belardo of Jefferson both walked away as Sectional Champs last week.  Belardo is the top guy in this weight and he should advance to the Finals.  Barrett must make the semis or he could run into some difficulties on the backside.  If he does get to the semis, he will have a good chance to reach the consolation finals, Cass desperately needs for that to happen to keep up with Jefferson.

Best 1st round match: #4 Christian (Eastside) vs #5 Riggins (Cambridge)

Best Quarterfinal match: #6 Barrett (Cass) vs #8 Clark (Chattahoochee)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Roman Belardo, Jefferson
2nd- Mason Moody, Locust Grove
3rd- Ryan Clayborn, Greenbrier
4th- Hunter Barrett, Cass
5th- Jacob Riggins, Cambridge
5th- Nolan Christian, Eastside


Just like 113, you had Jefferson and Locust Grove as the top 2 wrestlers at the weight meeting in the sectional tournament.  However McDonald of Jefferson won 12-5 in the semis over Malette of Locust Grove.  McDonald should roll into the finals on the bottom half of the bracket, but on the top side, Malette will have to go through a tough Alford of Cass in the semis to ensure the rematch.

Team Race: Again both Cass and Jefferson came away from sectionals with Champions at this weight, and again Jefferson should advance to the Finals, while Cass has the #2 ranked wrestler in the semis.  An upset in the semis by Alford of Cass would be huge in their attempt to overtake Jefferson.

Best 1st round match: #7 Sampson (Eagles Landing) vs #11 Parker (Calhoun)

Best Quarterfinal match: #4 Adams (Cartersville) vs #5 Cates (Coffee)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Chaz McDonald, Jefferson
2nd- Tristan Malette, Locust Grove
3rd- Caden Alford, Cass
4th- Grant Adams, Cartersville
5th- Bryan Cates, Coffee
5th- Nat Jujaloen, Greenbrier


Stop me if you have heard this before, but the top 2 guys met at the Sectional tournament with Jake Crapps of Cass getting a tech fall over Hunter Keane of Cambridge in the Finals.  Crapps is one of the top wrestlers in the state of Georgia, regardless of classification, regardless of weight.  He will win his 2nd State Title on Friday night.

Team Race: Max points is expected out of Crapps for Cass at this weight.  Jefferson brings in Sectional Champ Tucker Kazienko, and it would be great for the Dragons if he could upset Keane in the semis, but I don't see that happening.  He should be able to advance to the consolation finals, and those points will help Jefferson maintain their edge of Cass.

Best 1st round match: #11 Moss (Ola) vs #10 Petras (McIntosh)

Best Quarterfinal match: #5 Neal (Cartersville) vs #4 Kazienko (Jefferson)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Jake Crapps, Cass
2nd- Hunter Keane, Cambridge
3rd- Tucker Kazienko, Jefferson
4th- Jonah Lavendar, Union Grove
5th- Eaiden Neal, Cartersville
5th- Dylan Baynes, Eastside


Finally a weight where #1 and #2 were in opposite sections, however #2 Carpenter got upset in the semis and dropped to 3rd, so he is now on the same side as #1 Dallas Russell of Jefferson.  Pulling the upset was 5th ranked Rowdy Duck of Cass, and he now has a great chance to advance to the Finals to give us a head to head team race match up between him and Russell.

Team Race: Once again both Jefferson and Cass came away with sectional championships at this weight.  If Duck can reach the finals, it will help Cass to cut into the cushion that Jefferson had heading into the tournament.

Best 1st round match: #6 Redmon (Ola) vs #8 Gainer (Woodland, Cart)

Best Quarterfinal match: #2 Carpenter (Chattahoochee) vs #3 Melendez (Greenbrier)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Dallas Russell, Jefferson
2nd- Jordan Hittle, Eastside
3rd- Rowdy Duck, Cass
4th- J'Veion Redmon, Ola
5th- Sebastian Melendez, Greenbrier
5th- Durban Carpenter, Chattahoochee

Middleweights 138-165

Back to normal at 138, I guess, as #1 Davis Dollar and #2 Conner Kimbrough met in the semifinals at sectionals.  Kimbrough came away with the upset win, 8-4, pushing Dollar down to 3rd place.  These two should meet up again in the State Finals this week if Dollar can get by 3rd ranked Hayden Santora of Woodland in the semis.

Team Race: After finishing 3rd at Region, Tanner Toups of Cass came into the sectional tournament ranked 13th.  He ended up finishing 2nd at the sectional tournament, and its performances like his that Cass will need if they want to catch Jefferson.  Dollar is ranked #1 and Jefferson needs him to at least make the finals, however things will begin to get tight if Toups shines once again and Dollar drops a match before reaching the finals.

Best 1st round match: #7 Schwarz (Northside, Col) vs #9 Watts (Locust Grove)

Best Quarterfinal match: #3 Santora (Woodland, Cart) vs #4 Nix (Cartersville)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Conner Kimbrough, Ola
2nd- Davis Dollar, Jefferson
3rd- Hayden Santora, Woodland Cartersville
4th- Talen Nix, Cartersville
5th- Will Thomas, Cambridge
5th- Tanner Toups, Cass


FINALLY..... #1 and #2 in opposite sectionals, and both wrestlers took home the title.  To me this is the most anticipated finals match in the entire classification.  #1 Tyler McKnight of Cass vs #2 Brian Papcun of Ola, they have a combined record of 71-1 and both were State Placers last year at 145.  

Team Race: Cass needs McKnight to max out on his way to the finals, and they really need him to win it all.  Jefferson has a sectional runner-up in Goodwin, but he has a very tough quarterfinal match to even get to McKnight in the semis.  If Goodwin were to fall in the quarters he would have an important blood round match against 5th ranked Reed from Coffee.

Best 1st round match: #4 Riemer (Villa Rica) vs #10 Robertson (Ware)

Best Quarterfinal match: #4 Riemer (Villa Rica) vs #6 Goodwin (Jefferson)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Tyler McKnight, Cass
2nd- Brian Papcun, Ola
3rd- Crisjaniel Martinez, Greenbrier
4th- Tristen Riemer, Villa Rica
5th- Zachary Wallace, Woodland Cartersville
5th- Arthur Reed, Coffee


Another #1 vs #2 meeting in the sectional finals, but this one is with a twist, neither top ranked wrestler is from Cass or Jefferson.  #1 Kane of Cambridge came away with a 5-2 win over #2 Lundquist of Harris Co in the finals last week.  Both guys will be eyeing a rematch in the State Finals, and I don't see anything that would suggest otherwise.

Team Race: Neither Cass or Jefferson are expected to score many points at this weight, so any scoring done here will be a bonus.

Best 1st round match: #8 Clark (Flowery Branch) vs #5 Tompkins (Cass)

Best Quarterfinal match: #2 Lundquist (Harris Co) vs #3 McDermott (Greenbrier)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Cullen Kane, Cambridge
2nd- Davin Lundquist, Harris Co
3rd- Boston McDermott, Greenbrier
4th- Jared Walker, Ola
5th- Randel Sliger, Dalton
5th- Zach Addison, Locust Grove


Seth Larson will be looking for State Title number 3 on his quest to become a 4 timer, and he has a pair of wrestlers from Region 7 that stand in his way.  Roe of Cass and Green of Calhoun have swapped results the last two weeks with Green winning in the sectional finals, so Roe will meet Larson in the semis.

Team Race:  Jefferson does not have a wrestler at this weight, and Cass will see the 2x State Champion in the semis.  While an upset would be great for Cass, it just isn't in the cards, so Roe will need to pick up some bonus on the backside to help the Colonels close the gap.

Best 1st round match: #11 Ashton (Chapel Hill) vs #8 Deal (Ware Co)

Best Quarterfinal match: #6 Rackley (Jones Co) vs #5 Conley (Arabia Mountain)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Seth Larson, Flowery Branch
2nd- Isaac Green, Calhoun
3rd- Kriecg Roe, Cass
4th- Cooper Comer, Greenbrier
5th- Malik Conley, Arabia Mountain
5th- James Rackley, Jones Co


#1 McKnight from Cass and #2 Hinson from Locust Grove are on opposite sides of the bracket, so we should see that match in the finals.  McKnight is a 2x State Runner-up that is looking to cap his career with that elusive State Title.

Team Race: Cass is expecting max points here, and they will need them if they want to keep pace with the Dragons.  Jefferson has Clayton Beine, and while he has a tough draw he has a shot at getting placement points, but he must win in the first round.

Best 1st round match: #5 Beine (Jefferson) vs #6 Richardson (Calhoun)

Best Quarterfinal match: #5 Beine (Jefferson) vs #3 Dossett (Ola)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Zach McKnight, Cass
2nd- Canton Hinson, Locust Grove
3rd- Xander Dossett, Ola
4th- Heath Tatum, Woodland Cartersville
5th- Rex Richardson, Calhoun
5th- Clayton Beine, Jefferson



Upperweights 175-285

Creed Thomas of Jefferson is the heavy favorite and he knocked off 2nd ranked Zion Smith of Ola in the semis at sectionals with an 11-4 decision.  He then defeated 3rd ranked Chi Anderson by pin in the finals, so he is well on his way to back to back State Titles.  Look for a rematch in the State Finals with either Smith or Anderson this week.

Team Race: Cass does not have anyone qualified for this weight class and Jefferson should be your run away winner here.  That will make the spread between Cass and Jefferson status quo, unless Thomas were to lose somewhere along the lines.

Best 1st round match: #8 Rodriguez (Ware Co) vs #4 Blakely (Arabia Mountain)

Best Quarterfinal match: #2 Smith (Ola) vs #3 Anderson (Jones Co)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Creed Thomas, Jefferson
2nd- Zion Smith, Ola
3rd- Chi Anderson, Jones Co
4th- Jabare Holmes, Northside Columbus
5th- Michael Turner, Loganville
5th- Langston Blakely, Arabia Mountain


Things would have been set up for a great 1 vs 2 showdown in the finals between the two teams battling it out for the team title, but #2 Parker Dunn of Cass got knocked off in the sectional finals, so now we will see his match with top ranked Luke Cochran of Jefferson in the Semis.  An upset win by Dunn would be huge on several levels, but especially in the team race.  Cochran should advance to the finals where he will probably see Region foe Rockenbach of Flowery Branch.

Team Race: Jefferson needs max points out of Cochran and they should get it.  Cass would love an upset in the semis of Dunn over Cochran, but that isn't likely so they will need Dunn to get a few bonus points on the backside on his way to 3rd.

Best 1st round match: #9 Carroll (Centennial) vs #5 Barnes (Heritage, Conyers)

Best Quarterfinal match: #7 Perez (Villa Rica) vs #3 Rockenbach (Flowery Branch)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Luke Cochran, Jefferson
2nd- Cal Rockenbach, Flowery Branch
3rd- Parker Dunn, Cass
4th- Jatavius Williams, Coffee
5th- Kadeem Barnes, Heritage Conyers
5th- Brandon Perez, Villa Rica


If the 144 final isn't the most anticipated final in 5A then it has to be 215.  #1 Jason Eligwe of Loganville against 2nd ranked Charles Higdon of Woodland.  Eligwe looks to have a little bit more difficult of a path to the finals with 3rd ranked Stryker Woods of Dalton in the semis, but this should be a great matchup if both of them can make it to the finals.

Team Race: Cass does not have an entry at this weight and Jefferson has unranked Nolan Martin, who finished 2nd at sectionals last weekend.  If Martin can stay hot and find his way to the podium, it will be tough for Cass to make up ground against the Dragons,

Best 1st round match: #11 Daniell (Villa Rica) vs #7 Coghlan (Northgate)

Best Quarterfinal match: #5 George (Ware Co) vs #3 Woods (Dalton)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Jason Eligwe, Loganville
2nd- Charles Higdon, Woodland Cartersville
3rd- Stryker Woods, Dalton
4th- Jabare George, Ware Co
5th- Nolan Martin, Jefferson
5th- Kelly Wells, Calhoun


I was really looking forward to a finals match between #1 and #2 with both wrestlers being returning State Champions.  However #2 Gavin Proffitt of McIntosh was upset at Sectionals so now we will have to see his match with #1 Sammy Brown of Jefferson in the semifinals.  That is if Proffitt doesn't get knocked off by 3rd ranked Wilson of Woodland in the quarters.  

Team Race: Cass does not have an entry at this weight and Jefferson is favored to win it.  However, Brown has a lot of obstacles in his way to the top of the podium, and this could be a spot where Jefferson could lose some of their cushion.

Best 1st round match: #8 Agudelo (Jones Co) vs #13 Sappington (Harris Co)

Best Quarterfinal match: #3 Wilson (Woodland, Cartersville) vs #2 Proffitt (McIntosh)

Final Predictions:
State Champion- Sammy Brown, Jefferson
2nd- Riley Souther, Dalton
3rd- Gavin Proffitt, McIntosh
4th- Kwadrus Wilson, Woodland Cartersville
5th- Travis Nollman, Ola
5th- Delroy Hurst, Cartersville

Final 5A Team Standings

1. Jefferson
2. Cass
3. Ola
4. Woodland, Cartersville
5. Greenbrier
6. Cambridge
7. Locust Grove
8. Dalton
9. Eastside
10. Flowery Branch
11. Cartersville
12. Harris Co
13. Calhoun
14. Jones Co
15. Loganville