Sectional qualifiers wrapped up at sites across the state Saturday, with Darlington hosting the Class A “B” Sectional and coming away with all nine of its entered wrestlers qualifying for the state tournament, which begins Wednesday at the Macon Centreplex.
Five Tigers came away with first-place finishes at the sectionals, including three-time state champions Dalton Blankenship and Colton Woods as well as last year’s Class A 152-pound state champion Rhett McDurmon, who fought off Tyler Swanger of Towns County in Saturday’s 170-pound final.
Blankenship pinned North Cobb Christian’s Nate Watson in the 132-pound final, while Woods got a 10-1 major decision over Chris Sperin from George Walton Academy at 138 pounds.
Freshman Alan Cordero continued his successful first varsity season with a win in the 126-pound finals, while Tyler Ingram faced off with Trion’s Lincoln Maddux a week after defeating the state champion for the Area 4-A title and edged him again, winning 8-6.
In the Class AA “A” Sectional at Toombs County, Pepperell took 10 wrestlers and came back with eight moving onto the state tournament. The Dragons’ first-place finishers were Ivan Arguello at 126 pounds and Thomas Zenga at 138.
Pepperell coach Joe Knight said Arguello, who was the state runner-up at 120 pounds in Class 5A last year, put on one of his best performances in the final match Saturday against East Laurens’ Dan Dozier, winning by pin and also a technical fall with a score of 22-7.
“We wrestled well. All of the kids from our area wrestled well,” Knight said, adding that Chattooga and Rockmart both qualified six for state. “I thought our area showed out. I don't know about other sectional, but our area’s section will be represented well.”
Chattooga’s Griffin Jarrett, a two-time state champion, came out on top at Toombs County in the 106 weight class, while his teammates Ty Veatch (195) and Alex Mears (220) both came in first in their weight classes.
Armuchee’s Wes Conley kept his momentum going after winning the area title and came in first at 113 pounds to lead a group of four Indians who qualified for state. Model had five qualify, while Coosa had three. Rockmart’s Zoryan Hendricks (170) and Griffin Pace (182) each finished first to lead the Jackets’ contingent of six qualifiers.
Rome High’s Bryant Wilkinson finished third at 195 pounds at the Class 5A sectional tournament at Union Grove High School to qualify for the state tournament as well.
Trion had a good turnout at the Class A sectional at Darlington, getting eight wrestlers qualified for Macon, including Alex Stewart, who edged Mt. Zion’s Logan Buchannon 8-7 in the 220-pound finals. Four other Bulldogs finished second in their respective classes.
The GHSA State Wrestling Championships will wrap up Saturday with the finals expected to begin at 3 p.m.