First-year Etowah coach Charles Higdon believes that each of his remaining wrestlers has a shot at making the state tournament.
Etowah qualified eight wrestlers, including champions Joey Payton (120) and Maveric Rechsteiner (195). Also competing at sectionals will be Josh Thomas (106), Dylan Wagner (113), Alex Rusk (126), Thomas Keller (132), Andrew Reibly (152) and Brad Morgan (220).
“I think we can push all eight through,” he said. “I wanted 14, but I’m really proud of the eight that made it. We have a pretty tough sectional with a lot of consistent teams, but we have some tough kids.”
With the crop of wrestlers narrowed down to the best in the state, Higdon said there are plenty of opportunities for his wrestlers to face rematches — something he is comfortable with.
“There are great kids in each weight class that we will hopefully see and guys we have beaten and guys that have beaten us,” said Higdon. “It really is down to the best.”
Cherokee qualified seven wrestlers for sectionals at Kennesaw Mountain. Last season the Warriors also qualified seven for sectionals and each of them advanced to the state meet. Coach Lance Riccio is hoping for similar success.
Bryce Walker (113), Andrew Torrence (126), Dusty Phyfe (152), John Metcalf (160), Brady Sandercock (170), Hunter Burton (182) and Tyler Ebinger (220) will compete for the Warriors.
Woodstock also qualified seven wrestlers, led by champions Chris Nani (145) and Wesley Pella (285). Tristian Watson (113), Cody Beach (120), Zach Shareef (138), London Demetriou (182) and Austin Biggers (220) also advanced.
Creekview, which finished second in Region 7AAAAA, will be sending a representative to its sectional in Loganville in nearly every weight class. The top four finishers at the region tournament advance to sectionals.
In all 12 Grizzlies will be vying for a chance to go to the state meet next weekend. Creekview had one champion, four runners-up, five third-place finishers and a pair of four-place finishers.
Hunter Udall the champion at 170 pounds will try place at state for the first time in his four-year career. Udall already reach on of his goals for the season by winning the Region 7AAAAA title.
Joining Udall will be his teammates Ryan Camp (106), Grant Slater (113), Justin Goss (120), Michael Edwards (138), Austin Collett (145), Justin Pettyjohn (152), Hunter Smith (160), Joseph Sorrentino (182), Logan Ridings (195), Christian Saragusa (220) and Brock Tupman (285).
Also sending wrestlers to Loganville will be Sequoyah.
The Chiefs will have four wrestlers at sectionals: Alex Bryant (12), Keegan Grodi (160), Brad LaSelva (170), and Wyatt Jacobs (220).
River Ridge will be sending just one to sectionals, but coach Joseph Mullinax has high hopes for Noah Smith (145).
“Noah’s a hard worker,” said Mullinax. “I expected him to make it this far. For a young team like ours, that’s great.”