Georgia 5A Area 7 Season Preview
Team Race: With eight (including Filosi) state finalists, six state placers, eight additional qualifiers, and a few of the very best incoming freshmen, this Area could be the toughest in the state. Between Woodland (3 state finalists, 2 state placers, 2 state qualifiers, and 1 incoming freshman stud), Cambridge (3, 0, 2), and Creekview (2, 2, 2), this team race could go either way…but Woodland just looks to be way too strong for this Area, and could even contend as the top team in the state (theoretically speaking). The battle for the top spot should be very entertaining, the battle for the second spot (and a trip to Macon, could be even better). Keep an eye on Cambridge, Cass, and Creekview. One of those teams could emerge as the #2 out of Area 7, but be wrestling for a State Dual Title later in February.
Contenders: Five State Champions return for a shot at another title in 2016. Cambridge’s All-American, and 160 lb. State Champion Devin Kane and 2014 State Champion Brandon Filosi lead the way for the Bears. Filosi missed last season due to injury, but looks to be back in the mix after a successful summer and pre-season. Creekview’s Bryce Davis grabbed the 106 lb. title a season ago and will be looking to add another one in 2016. Woodland’s Cody Cochran and Creekview’s Braden Johnson each took home a title last season as freshmen and are back to collect another in 2016. The going will be tough, but the duo looks like they could amongst the best in the state by the time their careers are finished. Joining the quintet on the big stage, the state finals, is Will Britain of Cambridge, and Spencer Cooper and Jahvar Lewis of Woodland. Each missed the top step by a single match a season ago; don’t expect that to happen again in 2016.
Four finished up their 2015 State Finals in the consolation finals. Cass’s Hunter Quinn (4th at 132), Woodland’s Logan Sims (3rd at 120) and Dawson Woods (3rd at 106), and Dalton’s Matthew Tankersley (4th at 106) will all look to advance to the championship finals in 2016. Expect each to be wrestling Saturday evening in Macon. Creekview’s Brody Ross and Ryan Camp both finished down the podium in 2015 and have an outside shot at the top step in 2016. We do not like to heap praise on young freshmen, no matter how good they are, because it is important to see how they handle the next step in their development before such high expectations are placed on them. That said; every year features one or more freshmen that fight through the tough matches and claim the top step. Don’t be surprised if Kyle Golhoffer of Woodland is one of those freshmen in 2016. Only time will tell if he can fight through the close matches, avoid injury, and ascend to the top step.
Hunting the Podium: In an Area as tough as Area 7, the point’s teams can get from returning State Qualifiers can make all the difference in a team race. Don’t be surprised if one of the following has an impact on the team race and each will be looking to be on the podium in Macon in February. Zach Corcoran of Cambridge, Evan Gianfala of Creekview, and Woodland’s Brett Shedd each finished the 2015 State Tournament 2-2 and appear the most likely candidates to push for a spot on the podium in 2016. Cambridge’s Dawson Brooks, Creekview’s Austin Graham, Dalton’s Tucker Summer, Forsyth Central’s Hunter Kurowski, Riverwood’s Marvin Kinsey, and Woodland’s Joseph Jones will need to wrestle better in their return trip if they are going to medal in 2016. You must bring your “A” game if you are going to medal in an extremely tough 5A classification.
Under the Radar: Each of these wrestlers has the ability to be in the Macon the final weekend of the season. Be sure to keep an eye on: Trey Wolfe of Cambridge, Tripp Breeden and Jordan Mitchell of Cass, Jake Reeves of Dalton, Miles Bankston of Forsyth Central, Rosendo Aguilar of Rome, David Gachuz of North Atlanta, Charles Deyo of North Springs, Drac Cameron of River Ridge, Thomas Carlock of Riverwood, Brian Arellano of Sequoyah, Hunter Hardin and Dalton May of Woodland.
NOTE: Fred Jones (2nd, 113, Sr.) - meaning 2nd last season at the Traditional State Tournament at 113 lbs. Is a Senior in 2015-2016.