A Fan's Guide to Georgia 6A 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: Tariq Malik (Collins Hill)
  • Contenders:
    • Bradley Bitting (North Paulding)
    • Aaron Maxfield (Lee County)
    • Payton Mitchell (Lambert)
    • Hunter Burns (Lassiter)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Kendrick Banks vs. Walid Abdullahi
  • Darkhorse: Carlos Gonzales (Mountain View)
  • Bracket Breaker: Cameron Warren (Valdosta)
  • Finals: Malik vs. Bitting
  • Summary: Most people outside the Collins Hill wrestling room were probably a bit surprised when Tariq Malik knocked off defending State Champion Bradley Bitting in last week's sectional finals.  As a result, Malik vaults to the "favorite" spot in the 106 lb. bracket.  But being the favorite isn't always a kind position and look for everyone on the top side of the bracket to see Malik's presence as an opportunity to get themselves through to the finals.  Assuming Malik dispatches with East Coweta's Daniel Nelson, the next match against Gonzales or Bullock should be very difficult.  Lewis and Burns highlight the 2nd quarter of the bracket and either should (assuming they win their 1st round match) challenge Malik in the top semifinal.  The bottom side features Bitting, Payton Mitchell, and Aaron Maxfield.  Each is extremely tough and will look to grab the second spot in the finals.  After a dominant season, the Bitting loss has to boost the confidence of everyone else in the bracket.  A Maxfield vs. Bitting semifinal has all the makings of a state final - just one round early.
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113 lbs.

  • Favorite: Eric Diemert (Lambert)
  • Contenders:
    • Hasan Krigger (Central Gwinnett)
    • Paul Watkins (North Forsyth)
    • Dustin Nelson (East Coweta)
    • Vinnie Rosatti (Kennesaw Mountain)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Garrett Hipp vs. Kenneth Dodd
  • Darkhorse: Sam Ranta (South Forsyth)
  • Bracket Breaker: Dylan Parson (North Paulding)
  • Finals: Diemert vs. Krigger
  • Summary: Another great weight class that features a minimum of 5 wrestlers with a legitimate shot at claiming the top step.  Diemert and Krigger were excellent a week ago and each should be considered the favorite on his side of the bracket.  Diemert pinned each of his 3 opponents, including runner-up Paul Watkins, to claim the Section A title.  Krigger had a technical fall and a fall before downing returning State Placer Dustin Nelson 9-4 in the finals.  Keep an eye on Nelson and Watkins, both have the ability to knock off anyone and be on the top step.  Don't sleep on South Forsyth's Sam Ranta ... he is a tough draw in the quarters for Diemert if he can get by Rosales.


120 lbs.

  • Favorite: Todd Small (North Gwinnett)
  • Contenders:
    • Aslan Kilic (Wheeler)
    • Gavin Smith (Archer)
    • Cole Tenety (North Forsyth)
    • Miles Parramore (Valdosta)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Caleb Powell vs. Opie Hunter
  • Darkhorse: Keshawn Laws (Central Gwinnett)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jordan Krueger (Harrison)
  • Finals: Small vs. Kilic
  • Summary: Defending State Champion Todd Small has been phenomenal all season and there is little reason to expect that won't continue this weekend.  Kilic, Smith, Tenety, and Parramore will challenge him, but it would be a surprise if he didn't claim another title in 2016.  Parramore and Smith didn't meet last week and their potential quarterfinal match-up should be a fun one to watch.  Kilic handled the Section B tournament a week ago and should be in the finals against Small on Saturday night.  Keep an eye on the Tenety/Caldwell quarterfinal (Tenety pinned him in last weekend's semi's), but the winner will need to wrestle extremely well to beat Kilic.  If you are an average fan ... pay no attention to Laws' record - I'd be surprised if it is correct and he is an excellent wrestler with the talent to beat anyone in the bracket.


126 lbs.

  • Favorite: Codi Russell (Collins Hill)
  • Contenders:
    • Andrew Burpee (Habersham Central)
    • Tray Walton (Valdosta)
    • Xavier Rodriguez (Pope)
    • Spencer Dooley (North Forsyth)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Chandler Deaver vs. Tate Wells
  • Darkhorse: Jake Pratt (Tift County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Grant Harney (Centennial)
  • Finals: Russell vs. Burpee
  • Summary: This was supposed to be Russell vs. Artigues 2016 part 2.  The first match was a great match with Russell coming out on top in the 3rd period ... but an illness to Artigues derailed our plans.  Instead Russell will likely meet Andrew Burpee of Habersham Central.  Tray Walton, Xavier Rodriguez, Spencer Dooley, and Jake Pratt are all extremely tough and could change that narrative, but it seems unlikely.  Keep an eye on the Burpee vs. Dooley quarterfinal and the winner vs. Walton in the bottom semifinal.  


132 lbs.

  • Favorite: Matthew Sheetz (Lambert)
  • Contenders:
    • Quen Campbell (Tift County)
    • Reese Dalton (Parkview)
    • Stephen Hart (Rockdale County)
    • Spencer Wilson (Lakeside)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Taqee Muhammad vs. George Felouzis
  • Darkhorse: Logan Smith (Archer)
  • Bracket Breaker: Blake Hedgecock (Lowndes)
  • Finals: Sheetz vs. Campbell
  • Summary: Sheetz and Campbell seem to be on a collision course.  Neither has ascended to the top step at the state tournament before and each has been fantastic so far this season.  There are several wrestlers (Dalton, Smith, Hart, Wilson, etc.) that could change a Campbell vs. Sheetz final, but it doesn't look likely.  Keep an eye on the Taqee Muhammad vs. George Felouzis and Spenser Wilson vs. Blake Hedgecock 1st round matches ... they should be fun to watch.


138 lbs.

  • Favorite: Denver Stonecheck (West Forsyth)
  • Contenders:
    • Jason Moore (Newnan)
    • Walker Yarbrough (Pope)
    • Alonso Reyes (Mountain View)
    • Peter Myndresku (Archer)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jovany Osuna vs. Max Homyak
  • Darkhorse: Slater Cruz (Lee County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jacory Griffin (Brookwood)
  • Finals: Stonecheck vs. Moore
  • Summary: Stonecheck, a 2015 State Placer, is our favorite heading into the final weekend of the season.  Stonecheck had 3 falls and an injury default over Alonso Reyes of Mountain View to claim the Section A title last weekend.  Newnan's Jason Moore had to grind out a tough 4-3 decision over Lee County's Slater Cruz in the semifinals and a 9-7 decision over Pope's Walker Yarbrough to claim the Section B title.  Look for Cruz to try to avenge his loss to Moore in the bottom quarter of the bracket (he must be careful not to look past Jackson Baraff of South Forsyth).  A Yarbrough vs. Myndresku quarterfinal match will be a fan favorite.


145 lbs.

  • Favorite: Chris Diaz (Archer)
  • Contenders:
    • Josh Parr (Peachtree Ridge)
    • Jacob Speeth (Cherokee)
    • Jesse DeJames (North Paulding)
    • Vontrell Calhoun (Tift County)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Kevin Alderman vs. Daniel Morin
  • Darkhorse: Bradley Thomas (North Forsyth)
  • Bracket Breaker: Cory Hall (Roswell)
  • Finals: Speeth vs. Diaz
  • Summary: Defending State Champion Chris Diaz is operating on another level from the rest of the bracket.  If he (or the two Bullards) don't win another title it would be the biggest surprise of the tournament.  Diaz has been dominant all season and punctuated that dominance with four 1st period falls last weekend.  The biggest question in this bracket is who will meet him in the finals.  That isn't to take anything away from Jesse DeJames, Bradley Thomas, or the other very skilled wrestlers on the bottom side of the bracket, it is as close to a certainty as you get (although that is why we wrestle the matches ... can someone "shock the world"?).  The top side is wide open and should feature Josh Parr, Leon Jarda, Vontrell Calhoun, and Jacob Speeth battling it out for the spot opposite Diaz.  Should be some really close matches on the top side.  


152 lbs.

  • Favorite: Justin George (Mountain View)
  • Contenders:
    • David Key (Brookwood)
    • Chandler Miele (Mill Creek)
    • Dalton Burks (Tift County)
    • Conner Carroll (North Forsyth)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Garrett Klinger vs. Brycen Colon
  • Darkhorse: Felipe Hayes (South Forsyth)
  • Bracket Breaker: Zacc Palmer (Rockdale County)
  • Finals: George vs. Key
  • Summary: Mountain View's Justin George took a while to get going this season, but once George was in motion he has been unstoppable.  He should get one of his toughest matches on the top side from Felipe Hayes of South Forsyth in the quarters.  Degrenier, Palmer, and Burks should battle it out in the 2nd quarter of the bracket.  Mill Creek's Chandler Miele is very tough and should give Brookwood's David Key all he can handle in the bottom semifinal (assuming they both advance to that point ... not an incredibly safe assumption with Conner Carroll, Garrett Klinger, and Brycen Colon in the mix).  George only beat Carroll 3-2 and Colon 7-3 at last weekend's sectional tournament ... neither had the opportunity to wrestle Miele.
    • NOTE:  The bracket has been updated to reflect the removal of Felipe Hayes of South Forsyth.  The information above has not (and will not be changed).

160 lbs.

  • Favorite: Gabriel Lee (Archer)
  • Contenders:
    • Tavion Askew (Collins Hill)
    • Marquel Broughton (Mountain View)
    • Abe Elias (Pope)
    • Brennan McCrum (South Forsyth)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Justin Favors vs. Andy Leggett
  • Darkhorse: Rayder Schemmel (Tift County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Stephen Jackson (Westlake)
  • Finals: Lee vs. Askew
  • Summary: Alright raise your hand if you were surprised that there wasn't a Bullard at 160 when the area brackets were posted 2 weeks ago.  Watching Gabriel Lee throughout the season you could tell he was nowhere close to 182 ... the question was - would Archer bump up the Bullards and put Lee in at his more natural weight?  Well there you have it ... and the result was Lee winning Section B at 160 (not easily by any stretch of the imagination).  With Thomas Bullard at 160 ... this weight class is wide open and features at least five wrestlers with a shot at the top step.  It is hard to argue with Lee and Askew after their sectional performances, but you better keep an eye on Marquel Broughton, Abe Elias, Brennan McCrum, and Rayder Schemmel.  The middle two quarterfinal matches are "can't miss" viewing if you are there.


170 lbs.

  • Favorite: Thomas Bullard (Archer)
  • Contenders:
    • Matt Picus (Chattahoochee)
    • Nolan Miles (Brookwood)
    • Omari Hodge (Kennesaw Mountain)
    • Tr'Sean Williams (Marietta)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Braylen Taylor vs. Brantley Little
  • Darkhorse: Jamar McEachern (Mountain View)
  • Bracket Breaker: Edward Bakos (Peachtree Ridge)
  • Finals: Bullard vs. Picus
  • Summary: The 170's are stuck with one of the most dominant Georgia wrestlers in recent memory.  Thomas Bullard has not only won multiple state titles, but he has a Super 32 title and is ranked in the top 3 nation (depending on who you ask).  Picus, Miles, Hodge, Williams, and others will attempt to "shock the world", but the likelihood seems very small.  Keep an eye on the Picus/Miles semifinal ... it should be a good one (assuming they both get there).


182 lbs.

  • Favorite: Daniel Bullard (Archer)
  • Contenders:
    • Eric Kohlins (Lambert)
    • Matthew Key (Brookwood)
    • Connor Cross (North Forsyth)
    • Brandon Reibly (Etowah)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Devyn Villafane vs. Harrison Spikes
  • Darkhorse: Michael Thurman (Alcovy)
  • Bracket Breaker: Leonard Johnson (Dacula)
  • Finals: Bullard vs. Kohlins
  • Summary: We could simply re-state what we wrote at 170 ... Daniel Bullard shares his brother's accolades (minus a Super 32 title), but he is as much of a dominant force as anyone in the state (including his brother).  The question I had when I was at the Archer Takedown Invitational was ... "who wins when they wrestle" ... the answer - it doesn't happen often because they both have a mean streak ... no one stepped up to finish the answer.  Regardless, Bullard is as close to a lock as you get ... but that is why we wrestle.  Kohlins, Key, Cross, and others will try to knock him off.  The top side of the bracket should be fun to watch.


195 lbs.

  • Favorite: Carlin Powell (Hillgrove)
  • Contenders:
    • Charley Powell (Tift County)
    • Cole Anderson (Roswell)
    • Kamal Feracho (Lakeside)
    • Que Taylor (Lovejoy)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jalen Smith vs. Hunter Loyd
  • Darkhorse: Austin Brown (Mountain View)
  • Bracket Breaker: Chris Reynolds (Kennesaw Mountain)
  • Finals: Powell vs. Powell
  • Summary: After having two Bullards in a row, we have an opportunity to get back to "normal" with several wrestlers having a legitimate shot at the top step.  Carlin Powell, last year's State Runner-up, appears to be the favorite, but Charley Powell of Tift County is wrestling unbelievable at the moment.  It seems like it could be an all-Powell final, but don't look past Cole Anderson of Roswell, Kamal Feracho of Lakeside, and Que Taylor of Lovejoy.  Carlin Powell was in control of a really bracket last weekend ... winning with 2 falls before beating Taylor 8-1 in the semifinals and Feracho 9-0 in the finals.  Charley Powell, on the other hand, had to survive two very close matches to claim the Section B title ... a 12-8 decision over Jalen Smith of East Coweta and a 3-2 overtime win over Cole Anderson.  Keep an eye on the bottom semifinal ... it could be one of the most exciting matches of the round.


220 lbs.

  • Favorite: Bronson Rechsteiner (Etowah)
  • Contenders:
    • Quinn Miller (Archer)
    • Collins Tensley (Lee County)
    • Hector Mendoza (Meadowcreek)
    • Aaron Johnson (Kennesaw Mountain)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Ricardo Atkinson vs. Elijah Mackey
  • Darkhorse: Nic Jarvis (Colquitt County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Brad Clayton (West Forsyth)
  • Finals: Miller vs. Rechsteiner
  • Summary: Defending State Champion Quinn Miller and returning State Runner-up Bronson Rechsteiner had a battle for the ages last weekend in the semifinals of the Section B tournament.  It seems very likely that the two will meet again this weekend ... this time with the title on the line.  Collins Tensley of Lee County is extremely talented and could derail Miller, as could Hector Mendoza of Meadowcreek (the Section A Champion).  Rechsteiner will have to deal with the talented freshman Nic Jarvis in the quarterfinals and either Johnson or Robinson in the semifinals (assuming all goes as we think it will).  We are ready for someone to surprise us and prove us wrong.


285 lbs.

  • Favorite: Shane Defritas (Brookwood)
  • Contenders:
    • Hunter Jolly (West Forsyth)
    • Brian Gordon (Dacula)
    • Will Choloh (Archer)
    • Kobe Gadson (Kennesaw Mountain)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Kobe Gadson vs. Seth Spillers
  • Darkhorse: Jackson Bardall (North Forsyth)
  • Bracket Breaker: James Monteiro (Lee County)
  • Finals: Jolly vs. Defritas
  • Summary: Perhaps the most wide open weight class in 6A.  As many as 6 wrestlers could be on top of the podium on Saturday afternoon.  On the top side, Hunter Jolly streamrolled the competition last weekend and took home the Sectional title.  He had 3 falls and a 13-1 major decision over Lakeside's Gordan Lewis in the finals.  Defritas was equally dominant in the Section B tournament and the two look like the favorites to advance to the finals.  Both have suffered losses throughout the season and that opens the door for Will Choloh, Brian Gordan, Gordan Lewis, Jackson Bardall, and others.