Georgia 6A Area 8 Season Preview
Team Race: The race for the #2 spot should be interesting. Archer is certainly the best team in Area 8, 6A, and the state of Georgia. They are probably the best team in the southeast, it would be great to see them go against Lake Highland Prep and South Dade from Florida, and have been a top 10 team in the nation. It will be exciting to see them compete at the Clash later this season. So we turn our attention to the others teams in Area 8 and their quest to occupy the other spot in the Dual State Tournament and a top 15 finish at the Traditional State Tournament. Brookwood cleared both of those marks a season ago, qualifying for Macon and finishing 14th. With ten returnees they have a shot again in 2016, but must find a way to make up for the loss of 195 State Runner-up Stephen Solamon and State Placer Jeremy Quarshie. Keep an eye on Central Gwinnett, Dacula, and Parkview. Each returns multiple State Qualifiers and could grab the #2 spot if the supporting cast steps up and wrestles well.
Contenders: Area 8 features six wrestlers with a legitimate shot at claiming the top step on the final weekend of the season. Not surprisingly all of them wrestle for powerhouse Archer. Returning State Champions Daniel Bullard, Thomas Bullard, Chris Diaz, and Quinn Miller are back and ready to defend their titles. Each is considered the favorite in whatever weight class they wrestle and it would be a surprise if they didn’t stand on top of the podium again 2016. 120 lb. State Runner-up Vinny Artigues and 106 lb. State Placer Gavin Smith should also be considered one of the favorites whatever weight class they wrestle. Artigues has been close many times and will look to finally grab the title in his last high school season. Smith, just a sophomore, fell to Eric Diemert of Lambert 6-0 in the State semifinals a season ago. Expect Smith to be ready to overcome that loss and be on top in 2016. Lastly, Jacob Lill should be considered the favorite at 285. Lill sat behind State Champion Elliott Lee a season ago and is ready to make his mark 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. Alex Standridge of Archer, Shane DeFreitas of Brookwood, and Hasan Krigger and Akheem Lewis of Central Gwinnett each just finished off the podium in 2015. It would be a surprise if each weren’t somewhere on the podium in 2016. Don’t be surprised if one or more is on the top step. Archer’s Logan Smith, Central Gwinnett’s Keshawn Laws and Elijah Robertson, Dacula’s Leonard Johnson, Parkview’s Anthony Altreuther and South Gwinnett’s Christian Torres each won a match at the 2015 Traditional State Tournament and could find the podium in 2016. Isaiah Pryor of Archer, Nick Luu of Berkmar, Miles Nolan of Brookwood, Demarco McInnis of Dacula, and Reese Dalton of Parkview could also find the podium. Each finished the 2015 State Tournament 0-2 and will need to wrestle better if they are going to medal in 2016.
Under the Radar: Keep an eye on the following wrestlers: Chase Degernier of Archer, Jerry Paschal of Berkmar, Jacory Griffin and Matthew Key of Brookwood, Anderson Bailey and Adrian Japa of Dacula, Corey Barron and Demetrius Williams on Grayson, Jacob King of Parkview, Davon Gilbert of Shiloh, and Jamal Reed of South Gwinnett.
NOTE: Fred Jones (2nd, 113, Sr.) - meaning 2nd last season at the Traditional State Tournament at 113 lbs. Is a Senior in 2015-2016.