A Fan's Guide to Georgia 5A 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 Infinite Energy 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 section, but has all the tools to knock off everyone and take the top step.
  • Bracket Breaker: A wrestler that finish 6th-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: Kyle Gollhoffer (Woodland)
  • Contenders:
    • John Watts (Coffee)
    • Tyler Crew (Camden)
    • Matthew Tankersly (Dalton)
    • Bryson Neace (Union Grove)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Abraham Perez vs. London Dubroc
  • Darkhorse: Bryson Neace (Union Grove)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jayce Williams (Allatoona)
  • Finals: Golhoffer vs. Watts
  • Summary: After their performances at the sectional tournaments, Golhoffer and Watts showed why they are the favorites entering this weekend.  The two were dominant in the run to a sectional title.  Golhoffer had 2 falls, a 14-5 decision over a very tough Bryson Neace and a technical fall win over 2015 State Placer Matthew Tankersly.  Watts pinned all four of his opponents, including Camden's Tyler Crew and unbeaten John Jones, to take the Section B title.  It would be a surprise if Golhoffer, Crew and Watts didn't advance to the semifinals.  The 3rd quarterfinal match between Neace and Tankersly should be a good one.  Either could pose a problem for Watts in the bottom semifinal.

 

113 lbs.

  • Favorite: Bryce Davis (Creekview) - 1st @ 106
  • Contenders:
    • Lucas Nelson (Camden) - 2nd @ 106
    • Brandon Foster (Ware County)
    • Benjamin Preal (Luella)
    • Cleveland Belton (Clarke Central)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Zach Kinard vs. Jesus Montero
  • Darkhorse: Makenzie Rannals (Lanier)
  • Bracket Breaker: Michael Parker (Dutchtown)
  • Finals: Davis vs. Nelson
  • Summary: Davis vs. Nelson Part 2.  A season ago Bryce Davis narrowly downed Lucas Nelson to take the 106 lb. State Title.  It looks like the two will once again battle it out for the top step.  Will Nelson avenge his earlier loss or will Davis make it two in a row?  Foster, Preal, Belton, Rannals, and Evans will all be in the hunt.  Both Davis and Nelson had to win tough matches at sectionals and that isn't likely to change this weekend.  Keep an eye on the Preal/Belton winner vs. Nelson in the bottom semifinal.  That is the one we will be watching.

 

120 lbs.

  • Favorite:  Raydan Wilder (Camden) 
  • Contenders:
    • Davion Fairley (Union Grove)
    • Jackson DiSario (Ola)
    • Pierre Dowling (Cross Creek)
    • Jahvar Lewis (Woodland)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Collin Kasler vs. Zach Corcoran
  • Darkhorse: Alex Starnes (Alexander)
  • Bracket Breaker: Aundarrius Weems (Luella)
  • Finals: Wilder vs. Fairley
  • Summary: Who to pick at 120?  Phenomenal freshman Raydan Wilder is a stud, but so is Davion Fairley, Jackson DiSario, Pierre Dowling, and Jahvar Lewis.  Really tough weight class with a minimum of five wrestlers that could claim the top step.  Look for the DiSario/Lewis quarterfinal to be a fan favorite.  If DiSario wins we will have freshman vs. freshman for a spot in the state finals on the line in the bottom semifinal.  Fairley will be pushed by Starnes, Weems, or Dowling on the top side ... overall this will be one weight class that you shouldn't miss.

 

126 lbs.

  • Favorite: Will Formato (Allatoona) 
  • Contenders:
    • Isiah Royal (Effingham)
    • Patrick Isip (Clarke Central)
    • Dawson Woods (Woodland)
    • Sam Torres (Greenbrier)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Chris Solo vs. Noah Isley
  • Darkhorse: Lifahn Adams (Heritage)
  • Bracket Breaker: Bryce Crew (Camden)
  • Finals: Formato vs. Royal
  • Summary: Formato's win over Royal last weekend at Sectionals vaults him to the favorite spot.  But like 120, this weight class has more than 5 wrestlers with a legitimate shot at taking the top step this weekend.  The gap between Formato and the #5 or #6 wrestler in the weight class is negligible.  Clarke Central's Patrick Isip claimed the Section A title with a narrow 7-6 win over Woodland's Dawson Woods.  Isip should handle the top quarter of the bracket, but the second quarter could feature defending State Champion Isiah Royal.  A Isip vs. Royal semifinal on the top side is worth the price of admission.  On the bottom side, Bryce Crew of Camden is lurking after forfeiting to 6th at sectionals.  If he is healthy the 3rd quarter with Woods, Wilson, and Adams better be aware of Crew.

 

132 lbs.

  • Favorite: Logan Sims (Woodland)
  • Contenders:
    • Will Moon (South Paulding)
    • Zion Graham (Camden)
    • Harrison Kemp (Allatoona)
    • Cole Burton (Loganville)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Logan Dasaro vs. Jordan Mitchell
  • Darkhorse: Ronny Link (Flowery Branch)
  • Bracket Breaker: Bangahly Touray (Clarke Central)
  • Finals: Sims vs. Moon
  • Summary: Good weight class, but it is hard to bet against Woodland's Logan Sims.  Sims handled the Section A bracket with relative ease ... winning with 2 falls, 17-4 and 7-1.  Section B, on the other hand, was a knock down drag out affair with Moon edging Graham 4-3 to take the title.  Look for Sims to get either Berry or McDonald in the top quarter and then Kemp of Graham in the semifinals.  Graham beat Kemp 9-4 last weekend so it looks like a Camden vs. Woodland semifinal on the top side.  On the bottom side, Loganville's Cole Burton came from the #4 spot in the area to finish 2nd at sectionals.  Does he have another run in him this weekend?  Flowery Branch's Ronny Link, Alexander's Logan Dasaro, and Burton will all look to trip up Moon on the bottom side.

 

138 lbs.

  • Favorite: Denton Spencer (Camden)
  • Contenders:
    • Brandon Filosi (Cambridge)
    • Hunter Quinn (Cass)
    • Drew Jowers (Coffee)
    • Cody Anderson (Allatoona)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jerson Garcia vs. Josh McAlister
  • Darkhorse: Ryan Camp (Creekview)
  • Bracket Breaker: Daniel Newman (Starrs Mill)
  • Finals: Spencer vs. Quinn
  • Summary: After watching Brandon Filosi take out Brandon's Frank Bruno at the Heart of Dixie, we were certain that it would be a Filosi vs. Spencer final.  We were wrong ... again.  Cass' Hunter Quinn showed that he should be in the conversation with a 9-6 win over Filosi in the sectional finals.  Quinn's 4-0 win over Camp and 9-6 win over Filosi show that he can grind out wins over some very good competition.  If you watching from the stands ... check out the matches on the bottom side.  Spencer is a sensational junior (who missed out on a state title a year ago by 1 point), Filosi was a 2014 State Champion and missed 2015 with injury, and Ryan Camp is a 2015 State Placer.  Look for fireworks on the bottom side of the bracket.

 

145 lbs.

  • Favorite: Justin Ruffin (Union Grove)
  • Contenders:
    • Adrian Hughes (Camden)
    • Logan Chastain (Northside, Columbus)
    • Spencer Cooper (Woodland)
    • Javon Walker (Carver, Columbus)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jaylen Callahan vs. Ruston Robinson
  • Darkhorse: Evan Gianfala (Creekview)
  • Bracket Breaker: Little Nelson (Alexander)
  • Finals: Ruffin vs. Hughes
  • Summary: I don't know if Justin Ruffin has been given a nickname by his teammates, but when we watch him wrestle ... all we can think of is smooth.  He is rarely out of position and transitions from move to move effortlessly.  That is why he was a State Champion in 2015, as a freshman.  Ruffin's lone loss this season came in Florida against Tampa Prep's Anthony Artalona ... and we will see if he can continue his streak against Georgia wrestlers.  His main competition should come from Camden's returning State Runner-up Adrian Hughes.  Hughes handled a very tough sectional tournament with relative ease and looks like he might be the answer to Ruffin.  Don't sleep on this very talented field ... Logan Chastain was a State Runner-up in 2A in 2015 and Spencer Cooper was the 5A 138 lb. State Runner-up.  Neither #2 wrestled #3 at last week's sectional tournament, so a Walker vs. Chastain and Cooper vs. Gianfala quarterfinal should be outstanding.  If you an fan of wrestling ... know that this might be the best weight class in the building.

 

152 lbs.

  • Favorite: Will Britain (Cambridge)
  • Contenders:
    • Brian Stanford (Camden)
    • Jack Woods (Allatoona)
    • Cody Cochran (Woodland)
    • Trent Parker (Ola)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Khalil Farmer vs. Adam Coviello
  • Darkhorse: Cole White (Ware County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Justin Jordan (Dutchtown)
  • Finals: Will Britain vs. Cody Cochran
  • Summary: Trent Parker pins defending State Champion Cody Cochran in the semifinals and we have chaos.  Not really, but it does go to show you that anyone is beatable ... and that makes for an exciting state tournament.  The top side featuring Will Britain, Khlail Farmer, Cole White, Jack Woods and others is a grind, but is pales in comparison to the meat grinder that is the bottom side.  Cochran should get another shot at Parker in the quarters and the winner should get a very tough Brian Stanford of Camden.  Expect the quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals to be great matches.  Who is your pick to win it all?

 

160 lbs.

  • Favorite: Braden Johnson (Creekview)
  • Contenders:
    • Bunmi Smith (Camden)
    • Ian Darling (Starrs Mill)
    • Joseph Jones (Woodland)
    • Thomas Granat (South Effingham)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jalon Causey vs. CJ McKnight
  • Darkhorse: Liam Quigley (Riverwood)
  • Bracket Breaker: Calvin Nimely (Clarke Central)
  • Finals: Johnson vs. Smith
  • Summary: Camden's Bunmi Smith has been knocking on the top step for the past 2 years ... will 2016 be the year?  Given his success this season it is hard for us to not put him as the favorite, but until you beat the man (the defending State Champion Braden Johnson) ... expect Smith to get his shot Saturday afternoon.  That is if Johnson and Smith get that far ... the path is difficult and there are plenty of wrestlers ready to knock them off.  Keep an eye on Ian Darling, Joseph Jones, Thomas Grant, and Liam Quigley.  

 

170 lbs.

  • Favorite: Antonio Stewart (Camden)
  • Contenders:
    • Blake Meadows (Ola)
    • Jake Mctyre (South Paulding)
    • Emilio Evans-Pagan (Hardaway)
    • Luke Williams (Cambridge)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Melvin Nimely vs. Connor Hoven
  • Darkhorse: Houstan Jones (Cass)
  • Bracket Breaker: Ethan Wilson (Lanier)
  • Finals: Stewart vs. Meadows
  • Summary: Tough to pick a favorite at 170.  Antonio Stewart has been simply outstanding this season, but so has returning State Placer Blake Meadows.  It should come down to the two of them Saturday afternoon, but don't be surprised if Mctyre, Evans-Pagan, Williams or Jones has other plans.  Meadows won the Section A title with relative ease ... posting 13-5, 7-1, and 9-2 wins en route to the title.  Stewart, on the other hand, was a pinning machine ... notching four falls en route to the Section B title.  The bracket is tough, but it would be a surprise if Stewart and Meadows weren't wrestling for the top step.  Keep an eye on Emilio Evans-Pagan of Hardaway.

 

182 lbs.

  • Favorite: Dominique Hargrave (Camden)
  • Contenders:
    • Owen Graham (Clarke Central)
    • Daniel Curry (Jones County)
    • Luke Vinson (Union Grove)
    • Raekwan Hicks (Woodland)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Chance Scrutchins vs. Chris Valentine
  • Darkhorse: Sam Ashway (Kell)
  • Bracket Breaker: Irving Smith (East Paulding)
  • Finals: Hargrave vs. Graham
  • Summary: Another tough weight class to pick.  Returning State Runner-up Dominque Hargrave has looked sensational all season, including the sectional tournament.  State Placer Owen Graham has also looked sensational and it looks like the two are on a collision course.  Don't sleep on Daniel Curry, Luke Vinson, Raekwan Hicks, and Sam Ashway.  Each has the ability to beat anyone in the bracket, but to knock off either Graham or Hargrave they are going to need something special.  Keep an eye on Graham's quarterfinal match against either Scrutchins or Valentine ... both very talented wrestlers.

 

195 lbs.

  • Favorite: Torrez Finney (Jones County)
  • Contenders:
    • Tripp Breeden (Cass)
    • Camden Johnson (Union Grove)
    • Guy Wegienka (LaGrange)
    • Matt Wall (Camden)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Brett Shedd vs. Britton Jones
  • Darkhorse: Eric Cizek (Cambridge)
  • Bracket Breaker: Dalton Howell (Hiram)
  • Finals: Finney vs. Breeden
  • Summary: A little more than a month ago, defending State Champion Torrez Finney downed Tripp Breeden in the 1st round of the Archer Takedown Invitational.  Six weeks later and the two are sectional champions and are likely to face one another for the title.  Finney dominated the Archer Takedown Invitational and has continued to dominate everyone since.  He is the odds on favorite to win another title this weekend.  Breeden had to win a hard fought 11-10 decision over Union Grove's Camden Johnson to take the Section A title a week ago (he also had to outlast Anthony Constantini 11-9 in the quarters).  The top side should be a brawl between Breeden, Shedd, Jones, Wall, and Wegienka.  The bottom side - barring a surprise - should be Finney.

 

220 lbs.

  • Favorite: Brooks Alfred (Carver, Columbus) 
  • Contenders:
    • Michael Farmer (South Paulding)
    • Richard Walker (Heritage)
    • Anthony Woodall (Flowery Branch)
    • Trey Wolfe (Cambridge)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Knute Jones vs. Sebastian Legarra
  • Darkhorse: Hunter Hardin (Woodland) 
  • Bracket Breaker: Sebastian Legarra (Forsyth Central)
  • Finals: Alfred vs. Farmer
  • Summary: Alfred's 5-2 decision over defending State Champion Michael Farmer in the finals of the Section B tournament vaulted him to the favorite spot.  But don't be fooled into thinking this is just a two person race.  Section A Champion Richard Walker, Anthony Woodall, Trey Wolfe and others all have the ability to turn this bracket on its head.  Expect Walker to be pished by either Hardin or Hill in the top quarter, Farmer to be pushed by either Jones or Legarra in the 2nd quarter, Woodall and Wolfe to battle it out in the 3rd quarter, and Turner or Sumner to push Alfred in the bottom quarter.  That isn't to say that Elliot, Charles, Echols, etc. won't pull the upset, but the top wrestlers have looked very tough so far and that isn't likely to change this weekend.

 

285 lbs.

  • Favorite: Gabe Smith (Camden)
  • Contenders:
    • Emmanuel Mann (LaGrange)
    • Hunter Fox (McIntosh)
    • Dalton May (Woodland)
    • Seven Richards (Cass)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Daniel Gathard vs. Logan Driver
  • Darkhorse: Joel Maldonado (North Atlanta)
  • Bracket Breaker: Trenalas Cradock (SW Dekalb)
  • Finals: Smith vs. Mann
  • Summary: Returning State Placer Gabe Smith has gotten better and better as the season has gone along and he is certainly our favorite to claim the top step this weekend.  The top side of the bracket is wide open with May, Gothard, Driver, Fox, Cradock, and Mann.  Don't be surprised if you have two "lower" seeds in the semi's ... it has to happen in one weight class and the level of competition on the top side of the 285 lb. bracket is fairly even.  The bottom side should belong to Smith, but don't sleep on Joel Maldonado of North Atlanta.