Several area high schools had a big day on Saturday as wrestlers from around the state gathered at sectional qualifying tournaments to determine who would meet in Macon next weekend for the GHSA Wrestling Traditional State Championships.
Darlington, fresh off of having six area champions last week, led the way with five of its six state qualifiers finished first in their respective weight classes at the Class A “A” sectional at Irwin County High School in Ocilla.
Two-time state champions Dalton Blankenship (126 pounds) and Colton Woods (132) took first, as did the Tigers’ 113-pound wrestler Carl McDurmon, 152-pounder Rhett McDurmon and 160-pounder Garrett Sheffield.
Davis Peek, who won the Area 3-A 138-pound area title last week, came up just short to finish second in his division on Saturday.
Trion, which was also competing at Irwin County, had four first-place finishers out of the eight wrestlers who made the top-four of their weight class and earned a spot in the state tournament next week.
Bolen Stricklin (120), Lincoln Maddux (138), Cole Luallen (145) and Logan Blevins (195) all went undefeated while heavyweight Clay Baker took second.
Most of the wrestlers from Floyd County’s schools took the short drive to Rockmart High School for the Class AA “B” sectional, which saw many area wrestlers punch their ticket to Macon.
Armuchee came away with three first-place finishes as defending state champs Jacob Henderson (182) and Wes Conley (113) were joined by Area 3-AA 220-pound champion JC Burkett as undefeated Indians. Armuchee had a total of six qualify for state.
Chattooga’s Griffin Jarrett, the reigning Class AA 106-pound state champion, worked his way to a first-place standing Saturday, as did teammate Alex Mears at 195 pounds. The Indians had five total finish in the top four of their divisions.
Another state champion, Model’s Walker Byrd, took first in the 126-pound bracket to ensure his return to the state tournament.
Isaiah Bevels finished second at 126 pounds for Pepperell’s highest place in the sectional. Four other Dragons — Landon Camp (120), Ethan Sharpe (126), Drake Miller (160) and Jack Bennett (182) — all placed third in their respective divisions and will be in Macon next weekend.
Host Rockmart had six wrestlers advance to the state tournament. Jacket area champs Truett Bowman (138), Zoryan Hendricks (152), Griffin Pace (160) and Deacon Allen (285) all finished in second place.