A Fan's Guide to Georgia 3A 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.
  • Bracket Breaker: A wrestler that finish 7th or 8th at the Sectional Tournament, but has the ability to be somewhere on the podium Saturday evening.
  • 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.

106 lbs.

  • Favorite: Ian Statia (Jefferson)
  • Contenders:
    • Trevor Burdick (Sonraville)
    • Salvador Grimaldo (Adairsville)
    • Devin Mullinax (Banks County)
    • Tanner Stone (Ringgold)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Justin Kiss vs. Devan Moore
  • Darkhorse: Wyatt Smith (Dawson County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Terron Hairston (McNair)
  • Finals: Statia vs. Burdick
  • Summary: Statia did what Dragons do ... he won another title for 3A power Jefferson.  Statia obliterated the bracket with 2 1st period falls and a 6-0 decision over Mullinax in the finals.  Burdick had 2 falls and a technical fall before grinding out a really tough 2-0 win over Salvador Grimaldo.  Statia, Burdick, Grimaldo, and Mullinax all looked extremely good and it would be a surprise if the four weren't in the semifinals.  Keep an eye on Callway's Justin Kiss - he could make things very interesting in the bottom quarter.

 

113 lbs.

  • Favorite: Dawson Bates (Jefferson)
  • Contenders:
    • Tyler Hunt (Sonoraville)
    • Masud As-Siddiq (McNair)
    • Jordan Silvey (Oconee County)
    • Truett Bowman (Rockmart)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Ricardo Santana vs. Brice Wade
  • Darkhorse: Kelton LeBaron (Dawson County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Ethan Rohrer (Ringgold)
  • Finals: Bates vs. Hunt
  • Summary: Defending 3A 106 lb. State Champion Dawson Bates and Sonoraville's Tyler Hunt were absolutely dominant en route to Sectional titles last weekend.  Bates had 3 falls and a 15-0 technical fall over Jordan Silvey in the finals.  Hunt had 3 falls and a technical fall to capture the Section B title.  The two should meet in the finals this weekend.  The rest of the action should be very good as the 14 others battle for 3rd-6th.  Keep an eye on Masud As-Siddiq, Jordan Silvey, Truett Bowman and others.  

 

120 lbs.

  • Favorite: Mitchell McGhee (Jefferson)
  • Contenders:
    • Tillman Chestnutt (West Laurens)
    • Luke Gonzalez (Jackson County)
    • Jamarcus Allen (Elbert County)
    • Aaron Aguirre (Calhoun)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Kaden Spann vs. Kevin Berisko
  • Darkhorse: Logan Brown (Lumpkin County)
  • Bracket Breaker: James Stoudenmire (East Hall)
  • Finals: McGhee vs. Gonzalez
  • Summary: 3A Area 8 flexed its muscle in last week's Section A tournament ... finishing 1st (McGhee), 2nd (Gonzalez), 3rd (Allen), and 5th (Berisko).  McGhee, the defending 113 lb. State Champion, is the man to beat.  He had 2 1st period falls, a 7-0 decision, and then a 7-3 decision over Gonzalez to take the Section A title.  The wrestlers on the top side will need to wrestle extremely well if they are going to stop him from making another state finals appearance.  The bottom side should be very competitive with Gonzalez and Allen in the 3rd quarter of the bracket (it would be a surprise if either lost their 1st round matches) and the winner likely getting Chestnutt in the semifinals. 

 

126 lbs.

  • Favorite: Marcellino Lopez (Murray County)
  • Contenders:
    • Will Davidson (East Hall)
    • Noah Kile (Blessed Trinity)
    • Cole Potts (Jefferson)
    • Jacob Love (Jackson County)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Scotty Arthur vs. Jaxon Croy
  • Darkhorse: Scotty Arthur (Appling County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Keshawn Kent (Cedartown)
  • Finals: Davidson vs. Lopez
  • Summary: 4A 120 lb. State Runner-up Marcellino Lopez of Murray County enters as the favorite after a dominating run to the Section B title.  Lopez had a 17-2 technical fall and then 3 falls (including one over Noah Kile) to claim the title.  Trying not to look ahead, but it is difficult to not see the potential Senior vs. Freshman semifinal matchup that is looming between Lopez and Potts.  On the top side Davidson had a terrific Section A tournament and downed Potts 4-3 to claim the title.  The potential matches on the top side make this "must see" viewing this weekend.  

 

132 lbs.

  • Favorite: Tanner Thurmond (Jefferson)
  • Contenders:
    • Muadh As-Siddiq (McNair)
    • Devin Darden (Rockmart)
    • Chandler Saine (Jackson County)
    • Holden Moss (Ringgold)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Dawson Hunt vs. Will Fogler
  • Darkhorse: Mokeil Eason (Appling County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jack Polhemus (Westminster)
  • Finals: Thurmond vs. As-Siddiq
  • Summary: There might be no greater favorite in 3A than Tanner Thurmond.  Thurmond, one of the best 132's in the state regardless of classification, destroyed the bracket a week ago and it would be no surprise to see him do it again this weekend.  His primary competition should come from Holden Moss, Devin Darden, Chandler Saine, and/or Muadh As-Siddiq.  It looks like it will be Thurmond vs. As-Siddiq, but it wouldn't surprise anyone if someone else emerges on the bottom side of the bracket ... Saine, Eason or someone else?

 

138 lbs.

  • Favorite: Jody McAlister (Morgan County)
  • Contenders:
    • Vincent Baker (Blessed Trinty)
    • Chris McCrackin (Banks County)
    • Elijah McNickels (Spencer)
    • Christian Hardin (Franklin County)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Coy Strong vs. Joey Collins
  • Darkhorse: Jacob Callahan (Calhoun)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jordan Williams (Jackson County)
  • Finals: McAlister vs. McCrackin
  • Summary: McAlister's overtime win over defending State Champion Chris McCrackin vaults him to the favorite spot.  Regardless of who ends up on the top step, this weight class is certain to be a fan favorite.  McAlister, McNickels, Perdue, Strong and Collins are likely to battle it out up top ... Perdue vs. Williams should be a great 1st round match.  Hardin, McCrackin, Baker, and Callahan should battle it out on the bottom side.  McCrackin lost to McAlister last weekend, but given his past performance at the state tournament it is hard to bet against him on the bottom side.  McNickels nearly won Section B Losing 5-4 to Baker) - could he be the one to take the top step?

 

145 lbs.

  • Favorite: Griffin Green (Ringgold)
  • Contenders:
    • Brandon Baert (Rockmart)
    • Jacob Lindenmeyer (East Jackson)
    • Luke Mitchell (Morgan County)
    • Connor Crump (Jackson County)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Daniel Fulcher vs. GeQuan Fletcher
  • Darkhorse: Peyton Johnson (Rutland)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jacob Webb (Oconee County)
  • Finals: Johnson vs. Green
  • Summary: East Jackson's Jacob Lindenmeyer might be the only Area 4th place finisher to battle back and win a sectional (at least he's the first we've come across so far).  His run through sectionals makes the bottom side of the bracket unbelievably difficult.  Ringgold's Griffin Green, who handled the Section B bracket with relative ease, now gets Luke Mitchell of Morgan County, Connor Crump of Jackson County, and Daniel Fulcher of Blessed Trinity on the bottom side (Green major decisioned Fulcher 10-0 in the section semifinals).  The top side features Lindenmeyer, Lumpkin County's Carter Hopkins, Brandon Baert, Abe Hafez, and Rutland's Peyton Johnson.  Johnson's only loss was a disqualification in the semifinals to Baert of Rockmart.  Don't sleep on GeQuan Fletcher.

 

152 lbs.

  • Favorite: Kevin Almond (Elbert County)
  • Contenders:
    • Will Ballard (Jefferson)
    • Jacob Smith (Pepperell)
    • Jeremy Burgess (Spencer)
    • Dalton Malone (Pike County)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Eshun Hall vs. Knight James
  • Darkhorse: Kenton Baggett (Cook County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Mason Woodham (Morgan County)
  • Finals: Almond vs. Ballard
  • Summary: Great weight class.  If you enjoy the possibility of 3, 4, or 5 wrestlers really having a shot at taking the top step then look no further than the 3A 152 lb. brcacket.  Returning State Runner-up Kevin Almond leads the group, but the distance between him and the pack is very small.  Almond downed a very tough Will Ballard of Jefferson 6-5 to win Section A.  Ballard, who finished 3rd in 2015, must battle through a tough bottom side of the bracket to get another shot at Almond (assuming he makes it through the top side).  Returning State Qualifier Jacob Smith of Pepperell looked tough in capturing the Section B title and should be the biggest obstacle to Ballard making the finals (Ballard won by technical fall over Pike County's Dalton Malone in the 1st round of the Section A Tournament a week ago).  

 

160 lbs.

  • Favorite: Chris Couch (Oconee County)
  • Contenders:
    • Daelen Harrison (Adairsville)
    • Antonio Robinson (Morgan County)
    • Christian East (Calhoun)
    • Jake Ross (Pepperell)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jordan Stewart vs. Chris Guthrie
  • Darkhorse: Nathan Belch (Toombs County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Antonio Coley (SW Macon)
  • Finals: Couch vs. Harrison
  • Summary: Tough to pick a favorite at 160.  Chris Couch and Daelen Harrison each handled their sections and either could be considered the favorite ... as long as they take care of their side of the bracket, they will be able to battle it out for the top step on Saturday afternoon.  Neither will have an easy path to the finals however.  Couch should have to contend with Jefferson's Mason Corbett and either Pepperell's Jake Ross or Calhoun's Christian East.  Harrison will likely have to beat Antonio Robinson, Nathan Belch or Antonio Coley in the semifinals and Jordan Stewart or Chris Guthrie in the quarters.  Strap in ... this could be a wild and crazy bracket.

 

170 lbs.

  • Favorite: Rexx Hallyburton (Oconee County)
  • Contenders:
    • Kameron Blackshear (Spencer)
    • Dylan Goiune (Banks County)
    • Benjamin Mills (Gordon Central)
    • Chuck Allen (Jefferson)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Andrew Thomas vs. Will Morrison
  • Darkhorse: Tielor Johnson (Murray County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Caleb Johnson (Appling County)
  • Finals: Hallyburton vs. Blackshear
  • Summary: Both Hallyburton and Blackshear were dominant in their runs to a Sectional Title a week ago.  Hallyburton beat a very tough with relative ease ... getting a 1st period fall and a 15-0 technical fall before dispatching Dylan Gouine 8-3 in the finals.  Blackshear had 4 1st period falls to increase his record to 35-1.  The two should battle it out Saturday afternoon for the top step.  Keep an eye on Goiune vs. Allen and Mills vs. Johnson in the quarterfinals.  Don't be surprised if one of the 6's, 7's, or 8's really has a great day and surprises everyone.

 

182 lbs.

  • Favorite: Caleb Little (Jefferson)
  • Contenders:
    • James Copeland (Rockmart)
    • D'Monta Wright (Morgan County)
    • John Brooks (Banks County)
    • Deaundre Wilson (Decatur)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Noah Denard vs. Clipper Smith
  • Darkhorse: Terry Grier (McNair)
  • Bracket Breaker: John Herrin (Brantley County)
  • Finals: Little vs. Copeland
  • Summary: There may not be a larger favorite in 3A than defending State Champion Caleb Little of Jefferson.  Little has been absolutely dominant all season and is one of the best 182's in the entire state regardless of classification.  It would be a huge surprise if he were not in the finals on Saturday afternoon.  The bottom side should be interesting. James Copeland of Rockmart had 4 consecutive falls to take the Section B title a week ago.  He wasn't challenged en route to the title.  He would be a surprise if he weren't challenged this week on the bottom side.  Morgan County's D'Monta Wright and Banks County's John Brooks are both formidable opponents and should give Copeland a very good match in the semifinals.

 

195 lbs.

  • Favorite: Deshon Lester (Jefferson)
  • Contenders:
    • Isaiah Sellers (Kendrick)
    • AJ Edmond (Elbert County)
    • Ru Usey (Westminster)
    • Tay Brown (Oconee County)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Zion Hester vs. Tyler Daniels
  • Darkhorse: Justin Cantrell (Lumpkin County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Ladarrius Andrews (Morgan County)
  • Finals: Lester vs. Edmond
  • Summary: A great weight class that has quality from top to bottom.  There isn't much separation between the top wrestlers and those that will find themselves off the podium on Saturday afternoon .... meaning this weight class should be highly competitive with some very close matches.  Lester's 4-3 win over Edmond in the Section A finals puts him in the position of favorite, but don't be fooled into thinking his path is easy on the top side.  Keep an eye on Justin Cantrell, Brice Craig, and Ru Usey.  Don't sleep on Ladarrius Andrews of Morgan County either.  On the bottom side we have returning State Qualifier, and Section B Champion, Isaiah Sellers, returning State Placer AJ Edmond, and Tay Brown.  Expect some really good matches.

 

220 lbs.

  • Favorite: Jesse Wade (Ringgold)
  • Contenders:
    • Zach Matthews (Lumpkin County)
    • Draven Smith (Rockmart)
    • Jacob Bagwell (Sonoraville)
    • Ervin Mincey (Toombs County)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jackson Bowen vs. Maurice Hayes
  • Darkhorse: Cole Lewis (Brantley County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Walter Richards (Cook County)
  • Finals: Matthews vs. Wade
  • Summary: A great weight class to watch.  Once again we have a highly competitive weight where any number of wrestlers have a legitimate shot at taking the top step.  Section B Champion and returning State Placer Jesse Wade of Ringgold enters as the favorite.  His 4-3 decision over State Placer Draven Smith of Rockmart sets him up for a slightly easier path to the finals.  Smith will likely need to beat Sonoraville's Jacob Bagwell (who he only beat in overtime in the semifinals last week) and a very tough Zach Matthews of Lumpkin County.  Matthews, also a returning State Placer, is our pick to make the finals on the top side.  He gets the nod over Bagwell and Smith because the two must wrestle in the quarters before getting to him (Matthews likely quarterfinal opponent is Jackson Bowen - who he pinned in the 1st period last weekend).  On the bottom side Wade will need to beat Ervin Mincey, Cole Lewis, Walter Richards and/or Jasaad Graves (remember Graves lost 4-2 to Wade at last weekend's sectional tournament).  Expect some great matches at 220.

 

285 lbs.

  • Favorite: Kenny Cooper (Sonoraville)
  • Contenders:
    • Aaron Spires (Dodge County)
    • Enrique Maravilla (Ringgold)
    • Nick Holman (Jefferson)
    • Eduardo Aguilar (Calhoun)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Stephen King vs. Hinton Bolinger
  • Darkhorse: Hinton Bolinger (Pepperell)
  • Bracket Breaker: DQ Woods (Rutland)
  • Finals: Spires vs. Cooper
  • Summary: Another really good weight class that features at least 5 wrestlers with a legitimate shot at the top step.  The early round matches will be key.  King vs. Bolinger and Baker vs. Wilson should best the best matches in round 1.  Expect the winner of the King/Bolinger match to push Spires and the winner of Baker/Wilson to challenge Cooper.  The other quarterfinals will be outstanding with Aguilar vs. Maravilla and Holman vs. Young the likely match-ups (don't be surprised if those are not the match-ups because the difference between each of the wrestlers in the weight class is very small).