Georgia 3A Area 2 Season Preview
Team Race: 3A Area 2 features three teams with two important characteristics of any team attempting to win an Area title. Each team has at least one returning State Qualifier and a significant number of wrestlers that return with post-season experience. The Spencer Greenwave return eight with 2015 post-season experience, including five State Qualifiers. After finishing 4th in the 2015 Dual State Tournament and 8th in the Traditional State Tournament, the Greenwave would have to be considered the favorites in 2015-2016. Central Macon and Rutland both return eight as well and should push the Greenwave in 2016. Central Macon return two State Qualifiers, Oliver Phillips and Joseph Spaulding, whereas Rutland returns just one, Chase Boutwell. Don’t count out Southwest Macon and Jordan as well. The Patriots qualified for the 2015 Dual State Tournament and finished 31st in the Traditional State Tournament, but lose six, including four State Qualifiers. They will need to reload if they are going to get back to the Dual State Tournament again in 2016. Jordan return seven, but none qualified for the State Tournament in 2015.
Contenders: With the graduation of Tuyen Bowles, Joshua Sampson, and Laython Warren of Spencer, Area 2 is devoid of any wrestlers that finished the 2014-2015 season on the podium in Macon. Does that mean none of the eight returning State Qualifiers will grab the top step on the podium in 2016? No. But it does mean that they, and the other returning wrestlers in Area 2, don’t begin the season as contenders for an individual title in 2016. It would be great to see one of the eight returning State Qualifiers prove us wrong in February.
Hunting the Podium: Eight 2015 State Qualifiers return in 2015-2016 and each will be looking to land a spot on the podium in 2016. Each has a great shot of earning a medal, having been to Macon in 2015, but given their 2015 performance, it appears Central’s Oliver Phillips, Rutland’s Chase Boutwell, Southwest’s Trenton Zellner, and Spencer’s Chris Baker and Nathaniel Moore are the most likely to be on the podium. Keep an eye on Central’s Joseph Spaulding, Kendrick’s Isiah Sellers, Southwest’s Rondarious Hanks, and Spencer’s Jasaad Graves. Each struggled at the 2015 State Tournament, but expect that to change in 2016.
Under the Radar: Keep an eye on the following wrestlers: Spencer’s Kameron Blackshear, Rutland’s Peyton Johnson, Jordan’s Justin Perry, Jackson’s Paul Schafer, and Central’s Zavion Muhammad.
NOTE: Fred Jones (2nd, 113, Sr.) - meaning 2nd last season at the Traditional State Tournament at 113 lbs. Is a Senior in 2015-2016.