Georgia 2A Area 4 Season Preview
Team Race: A season ago this was clearly a two-team race, well really a one-team race with Social Circle on top and then a clear #2 in Greater Atlanta Christian. Social Circle and GAC represented two of the best teams in 2A, along with Bremen out of Area 2. The top hasn’t changed in 2015-2016, with Social Circle still the clear favorite to win not only the Area and Section Titles, but also another State Title (unless Bremen can knock them off). The battle in 2015-2016 is from the #2 spot in Area 4. GAC has a very solid program, but was decimated by graduation in 2015 and will be rebuilding in 2015-2016. They still return two State Placers and a State Qualifier, but some new faces will need to step up if they are going to hold onto that #2 spot behind Social Circle. Do they have the depth to maintain that spot? Wesleyan appears to have the best shot to take their place. The Wolves (Wesleyan) return eleven with 2015 post-season experience including State Placers George Bielan and William Delk. Keep an eye on Rabun County and Oglethorpe as well.
Contenders: Sixteen Area 4 wrestlers, who return in 2015-2016, finished the 2014-2015 season on the podium in Macon. Not surprisingly, that group is led by a host of Social Circle wrestlers, including State Champions James Corasaniti (132), David Engstrom (195), Reid Harris (138), Cameron Paschal (160) and State Runners-up Cade Lackey (152) and Levi Leach (120), Greater Atlanta Christian’s 126 lb. State Runner-up Ian Politz, and Riverside Military’s 160 lb. State Runner-up Nick Fernandez. Expect the eight of them to be back in the finals on Saturday night. Don’t be surprised if Greater Atlanta Christian’s Aiden Jarrett (3rd at 195), Social Circle’s Kyle Morris (3rd at 106) and Travis Tyson (3rd at 145), and Wesleyan’s George Bielan (4th at 152) are also on top of the podium in 2016. State Placers Nial Al Hasi (6th at 106) of Monticello, Trent Smith (5th at 106) of Oglethorpe County, Mitchell Clegg (4th at 126) of Social Circle, and William Delk (5th at 126) of Wesleyan have an outside shot at taking the top step as well.
Hunting for the Podium: Just two 2015 State Qualifiers, Brandon Toomey of Greater Atlanta Christian and Sam Butikofer of Rabun County, failed to find the podium in 2015. Both will need to perform better if they are going to medal in 2016.
Under the Radar: Keep an eye on the following wrestlers: Rabun County’s Noah Brown, Social Circle’s Stevie Howard, Washington-Wilkes’ Sergio Rodriguez, and Wesleyan’s Chase Kelley.
NOTE: Fred Jones (2nd, 113, Sr.) - meaning 2nd last season at the Traditional State Tournament at 113 lbs. Is a Senior in 2015-2016.