A Fan's Guide to Georgia 1A State Tournament
We are excited to once again bring you "A Fan's Guide" to the GHSA State Tournament that are taking place this coming weekend at the Gwinnett Center. We are disappointed that the GHSA did not allow southeastwrestling.com to cover the state tournament. As a result, we are unable to provide any pics or follow-up coverage after each sectional tournament. Regardless, we are pleased to provide the casual fan an insider's look into each bracket and what may (or may not) happen over the course of the weekend. We make no predictions about who will win or grab one of the few spots on the podium For each weight class we provide a few bulletpoints to watch and then a copy of the bracket (which you can see for yourself on trackwrestling.com). Each weight class features:
- Favorite: Our favorite to win the weight class based on this past season and past performance.
- Contenders: A list of wrestlers that should challenge the favorite for the top step on the podium.
- Best 1st round match: The match we believe will be the closest during the 1st round of action.
- Darkhorse: A wrestler that did not finish 1st or 2nd in his/her area, but has all the tools to knock off everyone and take the top step.
- Predicted Finals Match: Obviously who we believe will be in the finals.
Individual Notes: SQ = 2015 State Qualifier; 1st = 2015 State Champ; 2nd = 2015 State Runner-up, etc.
- Favorite: Tucker Flint (Commerce)
- Chandler Crawford (Turner County)
- Karlos Nadal (Mt Pisgah)
- Brandon Shelnutt (Strong Rock Christian)
- Best 1st Round Match: Shelnutt vs. Vatour
- Darkhorse: Rodney Meeks (Treutlen)
- Finals: Flint vs. Crawford
- Summary: Returning State Placers Chandler Crawford and Karlos Nadal will battle it out on the top side with the winner likely meeting our pre-tournament favorite Tucker Flint of Commerce. Flint has been superb all season and that isn't likely to change this weekend. Nadal has finished 2nd to Flint for 2 consecutive weeks and another one could happen this weekend. The semifinal between Crawford and Nadal should be fun to watch. Don't sleep on Rodney Meeks of Treutlen ... he could give Nadal a match in the 1st round.
- Favorite: Kole Burchett (Commerce)
- Andy Meyer (ELCA)
- Que Beasley (Mt Zion)
- Carson Mullis (Treutlen)
- Best 1st Round Match: Beasley vs. Frager
- Darkhorse: Josh Frager (Turner County)
- Finals: Meyer vs. Burchett
- Summary: Both Meyer and Burchett pinned their way to a sectional title a week ago ... can either of them do it again this weekend? It looks like Meyer pinned Frager in overtime in the semifinal match ... and the two could meet again this weekend. Keep an eye on the Beasley vs. Frager match. Burchett looks to be the man to beat on the bottom side.
- Favorite: Jacob Brewer (Commerce)
- Payton Brooks (Treutlen)
- Jamey Floyd (Trion)
- Johnny Burgess (Turner County)
- Best 1st Round Match: Floyd vs. Mulvaney
- Darkhorse: Colin Mulvaney (St Anne Pacelli)
- Finals: Brooks vs. Brewer
- Summary: Payton Brooks took 3rd in 2015 at 106, Jacob Brewer is the returning 113 lb. State Champion ... the two should battle it out to see who takes the top step at 120. Brooks and Brewer easily handled their sectional brackets a week ago. Who will step up to challenge them this weekend? Floyd? Mulvaney? Burgess? Kirkpatrick? Watch those 1st round matches ... they will give you a lot of insight into whether anyone in the field can knock off either Brooks or Brewer.
- Favorite: Tyson Brooks (Treutlen)
- Jack Hale (Mt Vernon)
- Dylan Deaton (Commerce)
- Quiyon Ezell (Turner County)
- Best 1st Round Match: Ezell vs. Robinson
- Darkhorse: Ashton Robinson (Mt Zion)
- Finals: Brooks vs. Hale
- Summary: Great weight class. At least 4 wrestlers have a legitimate shot at taking the top step ... that is a rarity in 1A with just 8-man brackets. Brooks, a returning State Placer, pinned everyone in Section A and looked unbeatable last weekend. Hale, on the other hand, had to grind out a tough 3-2 win over Robinson and another 3-2 win over Deaton to take the Section B title. Hale and Robinson are also returning State Placers and will be looking to take the top step in 2016. A Deaton vs. Brooks semifinal should be fan-friendly.
- Favorite: Cole Luallen (Trion)
- Dalton Flint (Commerce)
- Gamal Lawton (Monticello)
- JC Ellis (Turner County)
- Best 1st Round Match: Ellis vs. Helton
- Darkhorse: Crofford Helton (Mt Zion)
- Finals: Flint vs. Luallen
- Summary: 2015 120 lb. State Runner-up Cole Luallen knocked off 120 lb. returning State Champion Dalton Flint 5-4 in last weekend's Section B Finals. Lawton and company from Section A are tough, but it looks like an all-Section B final Saturday afternoon. Keep an eye on St Francis' Ethan Sparks and his opening round match against Lawton.
- Favorite: Trent Johnson (ELCA)
- Collin Greer (Landmark Christian)
- Austin Brock (Commerce)
- Demetrice Smith (Turner County)
- Best 1st Round Match: Smith vs. Watson
- Darkhorse: Mark Watson (North Cobb Christian)
- Finals: Johnson vs. Greer
- Summary: We have put Johnson as the favorite and have a Johnson vs. Greer final, but that could all go out the window when the whistles blow. The difference between Johnson, Brock, Smith, Watson, and Greer is negligible and any of the five could be on the top step. It will all come down to wrestles the best this weekend ... be sure to watch Johnson vs. Brock, Smith vs. Watson (and the winner vs. Greer). Don't forget about Matt Lewis ... he is a returning State Placer and could give Johnson a great match in the opening round.
- Favorite: Owen Brown (Commerce)
- Jay Morrow (Turner County)
- Cal Helton (Mt Zion)
- Kyle Jones (Irwin County)
- Best 1st Round Match: Jones vs. Bowman
- Darkhorse: Aaron Hilliard (Tattnall Square Academy)
- Finals: Morrow vs. Brown
- Summary: Not to take anything away from the field, but Commerce's Owen Brown is on another level. Brown has wrestled many of the best 145's in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee and has won all but two in 2015-2016. A Brown loss would be right up there with either Bullard or Diaz losing ... it just doesn't seem very likely. Who in the bracket is ready to shock the world?
- Favorite: DJ Pollard (Irwin County)
- Pierce Erhardt (Mt Pisgah)
- Nathan Shirley (Fellowship Christian)
- Elijah Harris (Calvary Day)
- Best 1st Round Match: Harris vs. Patrick
- Darkhorse: Nick Patrick (Commerce)
- Finals: Pollard vs. Erhardt
- Summary: Returning State Runner-up DJ Pollard steamrolled the Section A bracket last weekend and will look to do the same this weekend. Pollard tallied 3 falls, including a 41 second pin over Section A Runner-up Elijah Harris of Calvary Day (a returning State Qualifier). On the other side, Mt Pisgah's Pierce Erhardt, a 2015 State Placer, had to grind out a pair of tough 3-2 wins to take the Section B title. Erhardt downed Nick Patrick 3-2 in the semi's and Nathan Shirley in the finals. Don't be surprised if you see a Patrick vs. Erhardt rematch with a trip to the finals on the line.
- Favorite: Chase Forrester (Commerce)
- Bryson Wilcher (Treutlen)
- Scott Frazier (Trion)
- Ryan Abrahams (Strong Rock Christian)
- Best 1st Round Match: Abrahams vs. Franke
- Darkhorse: John Franke (St Francis)
- Finals: Wilcher vs. Forrester
- Summary: Just like several other weight classes in 1A ... 160 features two sectional champions that were dominant last weekend. Wilcher posted 2 falls and a 13-0 decision over Ryan Abrahams. Forrester had 2 falls and a 15-4 decision over Cole Helton in semifinals.
- Favorite: Knox Allen (Commerce)
- Dalton Hardeman (ELCA)
- Jake Wells (Trion)
- Dre Dashiell (Brookstone)
- Best 1st Round Match: Wells vs. Blankenship
- Darkhorse: Ian Blankenship (Telfair County)
- Finals: Hardeman vs. Allen
- Summary: The story of two very different sectionals ... Section B featured returning State Runner-up Knox Allen dominating the bracket ... posting 2 falls and a 14-2 major decision over Jake Wells of Trion. Section A was a grinding affair with semifinal and final matches that came down to the final minute. What does that mean? Well Allen is certainly the favorite and Dashiell, Rogers, and Crockett will have to bring their "a" game to beat him on the bottom side. The top side is wide open ... Hardeman is the favorite up top, but Jake Wells and Ian Blankenship will pose a serious challenge in the semi's.
- Favorite: Cole Chancey (Commerce)
- Brent Sanders (Calvary Day)
- Logan Blevins (Trion)
- Jared Knight (Turner County)
- Best 1st Round Match: Knight vs. Fezza
- Darkhorse: Matthew Fezza (St Francis)
- Finals: Chancey vs. Blevins
- Summary: Returning 170 lb. 1A State Cole Chancey has been superb all season and there is little reason to expect that to change this weekend. Chancey won the Bradley Central Invitational over a stout field and finished 2nd at the Archer Invitational in early January. He hasn't lost to a Georgia wrestler in quite some time and it would be a surprise if that changed this weekend. The only returning State Placer on the top side is Tommy Stupek of Mt Vernon ... who finished 4th in Section B a week ago and gets Brent Sanders, the Section A Champion, in the opening round. Keep an eye on Knight vs. Fezza ... it is likely the best 1st round match at 182.
- Favorite: Cody Calhoun (Treutlen)
- Dontavious Mosley (Commerce)
- Garrett Harris (Mt Paran)
- Brice Adams (Georgia Military College)
- Best 1st Round Match: Adams vs. Agan
- Darkhorse: Stephen Agan (St Francis)
- Finals: Calhoun vs. Mosley
- Summary: Hard to pick a favorite at 195 ... both returning State Placer Cody Calhoun of Treutlen and returning State Runner-up Dontavious Mosley of Commerce were dominant last week in the sectional tournaments. It really doesn't matter who is listed as the favorite because these two are likely to settle it on the mat Saturday afternoon.
- Favorite: Christian Rodgers (Tattnall Square Academy)
- Michael Patton (Commerce)
- Daniel Anderson (Mt Zion)
- Nathan Tucker (Irwin County)
- Best 1st Round Match: Anderson vs. Rush
- Darkhorse: Brayden Rush (ELCA)
- Finals: Rodgers vs. Patton
- Summary: Returning State Placers Christian Rodgers and Michael Patton looked great last weekend and serve as the co-favorites entering the weekend. Keep an eye on Daniel Anderson, Nathan Tucker, Brayden Rush, and Aaron Nalepa. A Rodgers vs. Anderson and Tucker vs. Patton semifinal round would be intriguing and offer the fans some really good action.
- Favorite: Cade Ridley (Commerce)
- Brady Wynn (Turner County)
- Chandler Butler (Mt Zion)
- Zyon Ross (Irwin County)
- Best 1st Round Match: Ross vs. Cox
- Darkhorse: Josue Arroyo (ELCA)
- Finals: Butler vs. Ridley
- Summary: We have seen Commerce's Cade Ridley wrestle several times this season and has continued to impress. He is the odds-on favorite to take the top step this weekend. The top side of the bracket is intriguing with a very good 1st round match between Butler and Arroyo and the winner likely getting Section Champion Brady Wynn. Butler, a returning State Placer, should give everyone a challenge on the top side and it wouldn't be surprising to see a Sectional finals rematch in the state finals Saturday afternoon.