The Sonoraville High School wrestling team will host the four-team 3A State Dual Sectionals Saturday morning at The Furnace.
The Phoenix, who have won three of the last four 3A traditional state championships and were fourth last year in the state duals meet, will compete against Monroe Area at 10 a.m. while Upson Lee takes on Westminster at the same time with the two winning teams then meeting at approximately 11:30 for the right to advance to state next weekend.
“It should be some very good matches,” Sonoraville High School head wrestling coach Randy Steward said. “We’re getting to the final rounds here, so it should be a couple of very good matches. Hopefully, our kids will wrestle their best because our guys know, for the past few years, this is the time when we have really been at our very best and we’re at that time again, where we need to be at our very best.”
The Phoenix reached the Sectionals round by winning the 3A Area 6 Duals championship last Saturday, easily defeating first LaFayette, 58-15 in the semifinals and then whipping Ringgold, 56-24 in the finals.
In the semis against the Ramblers, the Phoenix won seven of the 14 individual weight classes, or half of them, by a pin and the Area 6 champs won 11 of the 14 weight classes overall.
Sophomore Thomas Young in the 113; freshman Hunter Young in the 132; sophomore Dirk Junkins in the 160; senior Colt Weaver in the 170; senior Gavin Harper in the 182; junior Tristan Mullins in the 195; and McCoy Deal in the heavyweight division all won their weight divisions against LaFayette by pinning their opponents.
Sonoraville had other four individual champions and three of them won by a decision with another winning by forfeit when he reached the finals and didn’t have an opponent to go against.
Freshman Noah Chastain in the 106-division along with sophomore Logan Moore at 138 and freshman Robert Mitchell at 152 all won by decisions with Chastain winning by a major decision.
In the 220-pound category, senior Atticus Peppers won his bracket finals via a forfeit.
The Phoenix were second in the 120, 126, and 145-pound categories.
Junior Wade Parker lost the 120 finals in overtime while freshman Jack Burke in the 126 and freshman Reece Heaton in the 145 were both pinned.
In the finals, it was much the same for the Firebirds with coach Steward’s troops dominating the upper weight classes to pull away from Ringgold.
Once again, the Firebirds had seven of their grapplers take the gold medal with a pin but the Tigers won five of the weight classes early to make things interesting for a while.
Young at 132; Junkins at 160; Weaver at 172; Harper at 182; Jebb Knight at 195; Peppers at 220; and Jaxx Knight at 285 were all Area champions via the pin in the team finals.
Chastain in the 106 was first by a forfeit and Parker in the 120 won by a major decision for Sonoraville’s other two Area championships.
The losses came in the 113, 126, 138, 145, and 152-pound division with two coming by a pin and the other three by a decision.
Moore at 138 and Young at 113 both lost by a decision while Tomlin in the 126, Blevins at 145, and Mitchell at 152 lost by pin.
“The kids wrestled really well at Area,” Steward said. “We went in looking to come out of their with two team wins and a lot of wins by the kids and we got that. You always want a few more kids to win their weight classes, but I thought the kids did a good job.”
The winners at this week’s Area Duals will automatically advance to next week’s State Duals Championship at Stephens County High School.