Georgia 4A Area 5 Season Preview
Team Race: One of the more entertaining and evenly matched Areas in 4A. Area 5 features six really good teams and some outstanding individuals. Carrollton and Troup County qualified for the State Dual Tournament a season ago, going 2-2, and finished in the top 5 in the Traditional State Tournament. Each will need some new faces to step up if they are going to hold off the challengers, but each has a solid line-up and will be expecting to duplicate, and better, their 2015 results in 2016. They would have to be considered the teams to beat heading into the season. One luxury fans of Area 5 have is watching several teams and line-ups battle week in and week out. Fayette County, Whitewater, Sandy Creek, and Woodward Academy are all poised to grab the top spot if Carrollton or Troup County were to falter. Just like Carrollton and Troup County, each needs to find some new faces to step up in 2016. Woodward Academy with 120 lb. State Placer Grady Pastor and three State Qualifiers appears to have the best opportunity to make the largest jump.
Contenders: Area 4 returns six that finished the 2014-2015 season on the podium in Macon. Jake Lee (3rd at 106) of Sandy Creek, Nick Voiles (4th at 132) of Carrollton, Jacob Taylor (4th at 106) of Fayette County, and Grady Pastor (4th at 120) of Woodward Academy enter the 2015-2016 season as either the favorite or one of the favorites at their weight class. Each will need to win some close matches if they are going to bring home the title in 2016. Martez Hudson (5th at 285) of Carrollton and Hudson Newton (5th at 220) of Troup County will also be in the conversation. All six could be wrestling in the finals Saturday evening. Who will emerge with an individual in 2016?
Hunting the Podium: Sixteen 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 the following nine have the best of landing on the podium. They include: Luke Frost, Cristian Gutierrez, and Tucker Sippola of Carrollton, Caleb Sellers of Fayette County, Chase Seals and Trevor Upchurch of Troup County, Jason Higgins and James Teague of Whitewater and Tucker Witmer of Woodward Academy. Keep an eye on Grant McKinley and Daniel Parivechio of Carrollton, Joshua McClendon and Brantley Robinson of Troup County, Coleman Morgan and Terry Myrick of Woodward Academy, and Trevor Rhone of Fayette County. Each struggled at the 2015 State Tournament, but expect that to change in 2016.
Under the Radar: Keep an eye on the following wrestlers: Kendall Holmes of Fayette County, Byron Butts, Darius Hanson, and Hunter Wood of Troup County, Michael Allen and Gregory Pasquarella of Whitewater, and Josh Seeb, Ethan Zager, and Jason Seeb of Woodward Academy.
NOTE: Fred Jones (2nd, 113, Sr.) - meaning 2nd last season at the Traditional State Tournament at 113 lbs. Is a Senior in 2015-2016.