Georgia 4A Area 1 Season Preview
Team Race: 4A Area 1 has several evenly matched teams and that should make for an interesting team race 2015-2016. Cook County and Crisp County both qualified for the Dual State Tournament a season ago and finished in the mid-30’s in the Traditional State Tournament. Both teams will look to punch their tickets again for the Dual Tournament and break into the top 20 at the Traditional Tournament in 2016. For that to happen, and for each team to hold off the competition, they will need some new faces to step up and replace State Qualifiers from last season. The greatest challenge to either of them wrestling in the Dual State Tournament is Cairo. Cairo missed out on a trip to Macon for the duals last season, but finished 24th at the Traditional State Tournament largely on the wrestling of Marcus and Maurice Gaines. Unfortunately for the Syrupmakers, the Gaines duo have graduated and the team will need to rely on others to lead them in 2015-2016. Keep an eye on Bainbridge and Thomas County Central. Both return a significant number of wrestlers and should be led by returning State Qualifiers. Either team could grab one of the two dual spots or break into the top 20 at the Traditional State Tournament if the supporting cast comes through.
Contenders: With the graduation of 182 lb. State Runner-up Marcus Gaines of Cairo, the Area is devoid of any real contenders in 2015-2016. Getting wrestlers to the state tournament as freshmen and/or sophomores helps a great deal in getting them on the top step of the podium later in their career. There are a couple of those wrestlers that will be hunting the podium in 2015-2016. Could the next individual Champ come from that group?
Hunting the Podium: Seven 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 Bainbridge’s Tyler Storey, Cairo’s Koby Pryz, and Crisp County’s TK Clay are the most likely to be on the podium. Keep an eye on Bainbridge’s Ryan Adams, Cook’s Jordan Seago, Crisp County’s Montay Glee, and Thomas County Central’s Brooks Bradley. Each struggled at the 2015 State Tournament, but expect that to change in 2016.
Under the Radar: Keep an eye on the following wrestlers: Tristan Manley and Hunter Odom of Bainbridge, Harley Ponder and Hunter Faircloth of Cairo, Tanner Smith, Jon Thomas, and Jeffrey Pinkney of Cook County, KJ Bryant, Travis Green, and TC Williams of Crisp County, Jared Kiser of Dougherty, Morgan Glover of Monroe, Eric Goodson, Dontonio Daniels, and William Wilhelm of Thomas County Central, and Anthony Chase-Hill of Westover.
NOTE: Fred Jones (2nd, 113, Sr.) - meaning 2nd last season at the Traditional State Tournament at 113 lbs. Is a Senior in 2015-2016.