Georgia 6A Area 4 Season Preview
Team Race: 6A Area 4 looks to be a really good Area to watch. There are several teams that have a real shot at being the top team in Area 4 and it could come down to some unfamiliar faces performing well that could make the difference for their teams. Kennesaw Mountain and North Paulding both qualified for the 2015 Dual State Tournament and both should be considered a threat again in 2015-2016. Kennesaw Mountain, who took 4th in the Dual State Tournament and 3rd in the Traditional State Tournament, lose Rivera and White, but return three State placers and three other State Qualifiers. North Paulding returns 106 lb. State Champion Bradley Bittings, State Placer Jesse DeJames, and three other State Qualifiers. Both teams will be very tough in 2015-2016. Keep an eye on Hillgrove, McEachern, and Marietta. Hillgrove is the team most likely to challenge Kennesaw Mountain and North Paulding for the top spot. They return State Runner-up Carlin Powell and three State Qualifiers. McEachern and Marietta will be competitive, but will need some help if they are going to claim the top spot in 2015-2016.
Contenders: Area 4 really features seven wrestlers with a legitimate shot at claiming the top step on the final weekend of the season. Returning 106 lb. State champion Bradley Bittings of North Paulding and 160 lb. State Runner-up Carlin Powell of Hillgrove represent Area 4’s best opportunity at taking the top step in 2016. Unfortunately for Powell, he is right in the middle of those weight classes dominated by the Bullard’s of Archer, so finding the top step might be a significant challenge. Marietta’s Michael Spencer took 3rd at 195 a season ago and should be considered one of the favorites heading into 2015-2016. Area 4 also features four State Placers, Brycen Colon (6th at 160), Omari Hodge (6th at 170), and Aaron Johnson (6th at 220) of Kennesaw Mountain and North Paulding’s Jesse DeJames (6th at 132) that have an outside shot at taking the top step in 2016.
Hunting the Podium: Fifteen 2015 State Qualifiers return in 2015-2016 and each will be looking to land a spot on the podium in 2016. Hillgrove’s Caleb Powell, Kennesaw Mountain’s Brandon Cudihy, Kobe Gadsden, and Vinnie Rosati, Marietta’s Jason Caldwell, McEachern’s Taquee Muhammad, Dorian Paul, and Darius Thomas, and North Paulding’s Jake Starnes each won matches at the 2015 Traditional State Tournament and represent Area 4’s best shot at having another wrestler on the podium in 2016. Harrison’s Tate Wells, Hillgrove’s Chase Patton and Ricardo Aguirre, McEachern’s Jamaan Brown, and North Paulding’s Jackson Daniel and Dylan Parson each finished the 2015 State Tournament 0-2. Each will need to wrestle better if they are going to medal in 2016.
Under the Radar: Keep an eye on the following wrestlers: Jacob Krueger of Harrison, Kobe Kicks and Devin Terza of Hillgrove, Willard Bullock of Kennesaw Mountain, Jelani Miller of Marietta, Maleek Roberts of McEachern, Kirhee Cooper of North Cobb, KC Cline of North Paulding, and Pierre Jean-Baptiste of Osborne.
NOTE: Fred Jones (2nd, 113, Sr.) - meaning 2nd last season at the Traditional State Tournament at 113 lbs. Is a Senior in 2015-2016.