Georgia 4A Area 6 Season Preview
Team Race: 4A Area 6 features one of the best teams in 4A in Marist, 3rd at the 2015 State Dual Tournament and 2nd at the Traditional State Tournament. The War Eagles were hit hard by graduation, losing State Champions Kenneth Brinson and Jack Kratzenberg, State Placers Layton Self and Jack Trainor and two State Qualifiers. The War Eagles could be vulnerable in 2015-2016, but have a solid program and return three State Placers. At this point, they remain the team to beat until they are knocked off the top step. The battle for the #2 spot between Lithonia and St Pius X was excellent in 2015, with St Pius X taking the Dual Qualifier spot, but Lithonia finishing higher at the Traditional State Tournament. Expect Lithonia to drop back a bit in 2015-2016 with the loss of three State Placers and three State Qualifiers to graduation. With three State Placers and four overall State Qualifiers, St Pius X appears ready to push Marist for the top spot in duals and a top 10 finish at the Traditional State Tournament. Keep an eye on Redan, Arabia Mountain and Chamblee.
Contenders: Area 4 returns six that finished the 2014-2015 season on the podium in Macon. 220 lb. State Placer (4th) Eric Long of St. Pius X appears to have the best shot at the top step in 2016. Long will likely need to knock off Runner-up Henderson of Ridgeland and State Placers Newton of Troup County and Folds of Veterans to claim the title. St Pius X’s Jack Marsh (5th at 160) and Zack Ramirez (6th at 152), as well as Marist’s Reed Bethune (6th at 113), Corey Langer (6th at 106), and Robert Larmore (6th at 182) have an outside shot at the top step. Each will need to win some close matches if they are going to bring home the individual hardware.
Hunting the Podium: Just five 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 Grey Bethune of Marist and Max Spearman of St. Pius X have the best shot. Each won a match or more at the 2015 State Tournament and will be looking to better that mark in 2016. Keep an eye on Simeon Rogers of Arabia Mountain, Liam Henderson of Chamblee, and Bimysola Attobra of Lithonia. Each struggled at the 2015 State Tournament, but expect that to change in 2016. We do not like to hype incoming freshmen (as we have stated in other previews), but feel it is important to recognize when one comes along that has the potential to do some big things. Be sure to keep an eye on Marist’s Andrew Pace. He had a terrific summer and should be considered one of the favorites to find the podium in 2016.
Under the Radar: Keep an eye on the following wrestlers: Jalen Bobbit of Arabia Mountain, Zaire Stubbs of Lithonia, Chris Bradley and Patrick Waring of Marist, Malik Paris, Malik Simmons, and Brandon Walker of Redan, and Matthew Gutmann, Kellen Haynes, and Gustavo Rodriguez of St. Pius X.
NOTE: Fred Jones (2nd, 113, Sr.) - meaning 2nd last season at the Traditional State Tournament at 113 lbs. Is a Senior in 2015-2016.