Marietta High School will host the Class AAAAA sectional, which will include wrestlers from Cherokee, Etowah and Woodstock. Creekview and Sequoyah will send their wrestlers to the Class AAAA sectional Northside High School in Columbus.
River Ridge did not qualify any of its wrestlers for the Class AA sectional.
First-round action begins today at 4 p.m., followed by the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Saturday’s rounds start at 8 a.m., with the semifinals at 9:30 a.m. and finals slated to begin at 2:30 p.m.
Wrestlers qualified for sectionals by virtue of top-four finishes at their respective region championships. Now, they must advance through a field of 16 and finish in the top eight of their respective weight classes to earn the chance to battle for a state title next week in Duluth.
Cherokee is sending seven wrestlers to sectionals — down from the 10 sent last year — including region champions Blake Walker (106 pounds) and Andrew Torrence (126). Also advancing are Nick Walker (120), Brady Sandercock (170), John Metcalf (182), Levi Satterfield (220) and Tyler Ratcliff (285).
“I’m really pleased with this group,” Cherokee coach Lance Riccio said. “These guys have been a really good core group of point-getters for us all year. They are seven quality guys, and they all have a chance to advance to state. At this point, it’s always tough, so they’ll have to wrestle well.”
After sending seven to sectionals a year ago, Woodstock managed to qualify five this time around, including region champion Wes Pella (285). Joining Pella will be Miles Dickey (106), Tristan Watson (113), T.J. Parson (132) and Duncan Morris (170).
It will be the first sectional experience for Dickey, Watson, Parson and Morris.
“We still have about 20 guys in practice helping with drills to get these five guys ready, so the level of intensity is still there,” Woodstock coach Michael Powell said. “We’re using guys like Wes and Gunner Henderson, who have been there before, to teach these guys what to expect and what it’s like, so we should be ready.”
Region champions Jeremiah Lutz (145), Alexander Rusk (113) and Maveric Rechsteiner (195) lead a contingent of eight sectional qualifiers for Etowah. Two however will miss this weekend’s competition — Irving Correa (132) with a staph infection Jeff Schumaker (285) due to illness.
That leaves Dylan Wagner (106), Joey Payton (120) and Bryce Verones (126) to join Rusk, Rechsteiner and defending state champion Lutz.
“There’s no reason to think that our six healthy guys can’t move on to state,” Etowah coach Eric Burton said. “Some of our young guys may be a little nervous being in an environment like this, but as long as they stay strong mentally, they should be fine.”
Creekview sent a record 10 wrestlers to sectionals last year after winning its first traditional Region 7AAAA championship. The Grizzlies qualified a smaller group of six for this weekend, including region champion Joe Hulen (138), and hope to see all of them advance to next week’s state tournament. Nate Bridges (106), Cullen Castle (120), Michael Edwards (132), Hunter Udall (152) and Joseph Sorrentino (170) will join Hulen in Columbus.
“I think they all have a shot to move on,” Creekview co-coach Wyatt Wilkie said. “It will be even tougher because there are no easy matches. At this point of the season, it’s about being at your best for three weeks in a row. You have to keep yourself motivated and focused on the task at hand.”
Dylan Hall, who placed third at 145 pounds at the Region 7AAAA championship, will represent Sequoyah at the sectional meet. The senior is making his first state sectional appearance and is looking to advance to the state championship for the first time in his career.