Jefferson and Commerce began their march to state wrestling championships with decisive area victories on Saturday.
The Dragons, vying for their 18th consecutive traditional state title, qualified 14 wrestlers for this weekend’s sectionals, which will be held at Jefferson. Going for their fifth state championship in a row, the Tigers qualified 12 competitors for sectionals, which will be held at First Presbyterian Day in Macon.
Here’s a look at how Athens-area teams and individuals fared at their respective area meets:
CLASS 4A: At St. Pius X, Jefferson had 11 champions, two second-place finishers and one fourth-place finisher, so the Dragons will be represented at every weight division at this weekend’s sectional meet.
Jefferson finished with 279 points, defeating North Oconee (140 points), Madison County (114 points), Oconee County (106 points), Stephens County (92 points) and St. Pius X (74.5 points).
Champions included Tyson Thurmond (106 pounds), Jared Blackburn (120 pounds), Ian Statia (126 pounds), Dawson Bates (132 pounds), Cole Potts (138 pounds), Coy Strong (145 pounds), Nolan Sorrow (152 pounds), Ryan Hurd (160 pounds), Mason Corbett (170 pounds), Hunter Allen (195 pounds) and Gavin London (285 pounds). Jefferson’s Alex Parker finished fourth at 220 pounds.
Madison County’s Josh Kincaid defeated Jefferson’s Mason Mingus for the 113-pound championship and Jaxson Hoetzel defeated Jefferson’s James Phaturos for the 182-pound title. Red Raiders Heath Sexton and Hamilton Cooper also qualified for sectionals, finishing second at 126 and 220, respectively. Jerry Dobbyns (195 pounds) came in third place and Rowan Smith (132 pounds), Chase Bond (145 pounds) and Dylan Vining (182 pounds) recorded fourth-place finishes for the Red Raiders.
For North Oconee, second-place finishers included Hayden Prior (106 pounds), Sam Johnson (132 pounds), Seamus O’Brien (195 pounds) and Evan Head (285 pounds). Third place-finishers included Luke Jarvis (113 pounds), Brady Smith (145 pounds), Sean O’Brien (152 pounds) and Gavin Bloom (160 pounds). Fourth-place qualifiers included Tanner Leierzapf (126 pounds), John Thomason (138 pounds) and Jonah Hunt (182 pounds).
For Oconee County, runner-ups included Gregory Bay (120 pounds), Taylor Webb (145 pounds) and Armen Amirkhanyan (152 pounds), Third-place finishers included McCrae Claas (126 pounds), Hudson Grogan (138 pounds), Nick Saunders (220 pounds) and Dareon Goodrum (285 pounds). Fourth-place finishers were Zack Cartrette (106 pounds) and Gabe Brinkley (113 pounds).
CLASS A: At Commerce, the Tigers qualified nine area champions, two second-place finishers and one fourth-place combatant.
Commerce finished first among 13 teams with 297 points, followed by Wesleyan (197.5 points), Mt. Pisgah (145.5 points), Riverside Military (131 points), Towns County (126.5), George Walton (113 points), St. Francis (106 points), Pinecrest Academy (77.5 points), Holy Innocents’ (60.5 points), Mt. Vernon (51 points), Athens Academy (33 points), Athens Christian (25 points) and Fellowship Christian (6 points).
Area champions for the Tigers included Bryson Flint (106 pounds), Dawson Legg (113 pounds), Tucker Flint (138 pounds), Kole Burchett (145 pounds), Nick Patrick (152 pounds), Chase Forrester (160 pounds), Braxton Legg (170 pounds), Elijah Burns (182 pounds) and Cade Ridley (285 pounds).
Knox Allen finished second at 195 pounds, Cody Riley finished second at 220 pounds and Dylan Legg finished fourth at 120 pounds.
Athens Christian’s Brian Rodriguez qualified for sectionals with a third-place finish at 126 pounds.
CLASS 5A: At Loganville, Clarke Central qualified eight wrestlers – including two area champions, one a three-time titlist – for sectionals, which will be held at Buford.
At 160 pounds, Meshai Coleman claimed his third area championship, and at 285 pounds, Jamarius Hart also finished first in his weight division.
Second-place finishers for the Gladiators included Jaysean Galloway (113 pounds) and Stephen Cofer (145 pounds). Third-place finishers included A.J. Walker (132 pounds), Thomas Isokovavich (152 pounds) and Marcus Barrow (170 pounds). Jayden Rittenbury finished fourth at 182 pounds.
For Cedar Shoals, Jamal Boyd finished third at 182 pounds and Ian Morton came in third at 195 pounds.
CLASS 3A: At Madison, Jackson County had nine wrestlers, including two area champions, qualify for sectionals, which will be held at Greater Atlanta Christian. The Panthers finished second in the team competition behind area champion North Hall.
Ben Gilbreath won the area title at 145 pounds and Devonte Stephens earned the area championship at 220 pounds.
Second-place finishers included Joey Sosebee (106 pounds); Jared Love (152 pounds) and Jon Koning (195 pounds); Kaden Andreasen finished third at 138 pounds and Jake Weatherly (113 pounds), Christian Soto (120 pounds) and Tyler Sosebee (160 pounds) all recorded fourth-place finishes.
CLASS 2A: At Elberton, Oglethorpe County had three wrestlers – including two champions — advance to sectionals, which will be held at Rockmart.
Gabriel Perryman won the area championship at 138 pounds and Zaine Tuck won the area crown at 113 pounds. Tyler Hogan finished fourth at 106 pounds.
CLASS 6A: At Dacula, Apalachee, led by two area champions, will send seven wrestlers to sectionals, which will be held at Lanier.
Sam Skinner (170 pounds) and Corbin Lang (220 pounds) both won area championships on Saturday. Allan Fulk placed third at 132 pounds and the Wildcats had three fourth-place finishers – Hunter Noblett (160 pounds), Diego Bandera (195 pounds) and Cody Tobias (285 pounds).
Winder-Barrow qualified four wrestlers for sectionals. Zechariah Thomas was runner-up at 132 pounds and Jared Stimpson (106 pounds), Rousseau O Asu Abang (160 pounds) and Caleb Charron (195 pounds) all finished third in their weight classes.
CLARKE CENTRAL 84, JOHNSON 44: At Gainesville, the Gladiators had three players score in double figures – and had one more with a double-double – as they won for the fifth time in their last six games.
Mijah Campbell and Nick Johnson led Clarke Central (17-5, 7-3 in Region 8-5A) with 18 points each. Mortavious Crew added 11 points and Martavius Darden contributed a double-double of 10 assists and 10 rebounds to go with five points.
ATHENS ACADEMY 70, HEBRON CHRISTIAN 60: At Dacula, the Spartans won their third consecutive game and improved to 11-9 overall and 8-4 in Region 8-A.
Barrett McLanahan and Hugh Laughlin led Athens Academy with 16 points each.
PRINCE AVENUE CHRISTIAN 78, TOWNS COUNTY 68: At Hiawasse, the Wolverines won for the sixth time in their last seven games and improved to 14-8 overall and 9-3 in Region 8-A.
Mack Simmons led Prince Avenue Christian with 27 points. Dalton Meeler added 22 points.
COMMERCE 56, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN 49: At Lilburn, the Tigers won their second consecutive game as two players scored in double figures.
Jalen Dorsey was the high-point man with 16 points. He was followed by Jamecus Cox, who had 10 points. Creed Dunbar added nine points for Commerce (5-19, 3-11), who have back-to-back victories for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
OGLETHORPE COUNTY 55, PUTNAM COUNTY 42: At Eatonton, the Patriots won their second game in a row and improved to 5-15 overall and 3-6 in Region 8-2A.
Isaac Hulin and Jeffrey Glenn led Oglethorpe County with 15 points apiece.
FLOWERY BRANCH 62, CEDAR SHOALS 47: At Flowery Branch, the Jaguars lost for the third time in their last four games, dropping a Region 8-5A contest to the Falcons.
JaiVanni McDavid led Cedar Shoals (9-13, 7-4) with 12 points, six steals and three assists. Quincy Canty had 10 points and nine rebounds and Tyler Johnson added 10 points and six rebounds.
TALLULAH FALLS 48, ATHENS CHRISTIAN 47: At Tallulah Falls, the Eagles fell to 4-16 overall and 2-9 in Region 8-A with a heartbreaking loss on the road.
Jarrett Boyd led Athens Christian with 19 points. Kohl Phillips added 14 points and Jalen Reid contributed eight points.
GAINESVILLE 87, APALACHEE 61: At Bethlehem, the Wildcats fell in Region 8-6A play to Gainesville, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A.
Apalachee (10-12, 3-5) was led by Jamonte Wallace, who scored 20 points (including five 3-pointers), Jay German, who added nine points (on three 3-pointers) and Derek Miller, who had eight points and six rebounds.
MONROE AREA 59, JACKSON COUNTY 42: At Monroe, the Panthers lost their 10th consecutive game and dropped to 3-18 overall and 0-8 in Region 8-3A.
Kalib Clinton led Jackson County with 15 points.
CLARKE CENTRAL 58, JOHNSON 17: At Gainesville, the Gladiators had two players score in double figures as they blitzed Johnson in Region 8-5A.
Jayla Barnett and Aaliyah Hall scored 13 points apiece for Clarke Central (6-12, 2-8).
ATHENS ACADEMY 48, HEBRON CHRISTIAN 45: At Dacula, the Spartans – ranked No. 10 in Class A Private — got some big free throws down the stretch from Reagan Hatch and won their seventh consecutive game, improving to 19-3 overall and 9-2 in Region 8-A.
With 17 points (and seven rebounds), Rose Bone led Athens Academy, followed by Greer Moseley, who had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Gabby Mastandrea, who had nine points.
PRINCE AVENUE CHRISTIAN 61, TOWNS COUNTY 43: At Hiawassee, the Wolverines won for the 20th time in their last 21 games and posted their fourth consecutive victory with a Region 8-A road win.
Karlee Armstrong led Prince Avenue Christian (21-2, 11-1) with 16 points, followed by Madison Britt (13 points), Janie Henderson (eight points), Caroline Hill (seven points), Ansley Hall (six points) and Ivey Meeks (five points).
COMMERCE 51, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN 21: At Lilburn, the Tigers won for the second time in their last three games as Bryanna Sanders led the way with 17 points.
Jeanece Smith added nine for Commerce (8-16, 4-7).
APALACHEE 41, GAINESVILLE 30: At Bethlehem, the Wildcats won for the first time in 2018 and claimed their first Region 8-6A victory of the season.
Nakia Hooks recorded a double-double of 27 points and 17 rebounds to lead Apalachee (7-15, 1-7). Kate Thompson chipped in six points.
JACKSON COUNTY 43, MONROE AREA 31: At Monroe, the Panthers snapped a nine-game losing streak and won their first Region 8-3A game of the season.
Carlie Anderson led Jackson County (6-15, 1-7) with 20 points.
FLOWERY BRANCH 60, CEDAR SHOALS 34: At Flowery Branch, the Jaguars had a tough day and saw their three-game winning streak come to an end against the Falcons, who are ranked No. 2 in Class 5A.
For Cedar Shoals (14-8, 7-5 in Region 8-5A), Genesis Crawley scored 16 points. Laurie Thomas added nine points and Jeanetta Elder contributed seven points.
TALLULAH FALLS 38, ATHENS CHRISTIAN 36: At Tallulah Falls, the Eagles lost their sixth game of the season by four or less points and their fourth by two or less points.
Madison Pickerel led Athens Christian (5-16, 3-7 in Region 8-A) with 14 points and eight rebounds.
KING’S RIDGE CHRISTIAN 40, EAST JACKSON 38: At Commerce, Kenzie Whitehead’s last-second 3-point attempt didn’t fall as the Eagles came up short in a non-region game.
Abbie Howington led East Jackson (10-12, 1-6 in Region 8-3A) with 18 points.
PUTNAM COUNTY 60, OGLETHORPE COUNTY 27: At Eatonton, the Patriots had little luck against Putnam County, ranked No. 4 in Class 2A.
Jenna Pulliam and Lawson Foster led Oglethorpe County (1-18, 1-8 in Region 8-2A) with seven points each.
At Friday’s Clarke-Oconee Area Championship at UGA’s Ramsey Center, North Oconee won its fourth consecutive combined title, with the girls breezing to a decisive win and the boys enjoying a more modest margin of victory.
The North Oconee girls – area winners for nine consecutive years — scored 227 points to finish well ahead of Oconee County (118 points), Clarke Central (109 points), Athens Academy (41 points), Prince Avenue Christian (9 points) and Cedar Shoals (5 points).
The North Oconee boys – winners of four area titles in a row — tallied 197 points, with Oconee County (151 points), Clarke Central (74 points), Prince Avenue Christian (38 points), Athens Academy (34 points) and Cedar Shoals (18 points) following.
The Titans’ combined score of 424 points bested second-place Oconee County by 155 points.
Karen Zhao, Kate Mattison and Abigail Weimer led the way for the North Oconee girls, who captured nine first-place medals.
Zhao won the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races, Weimer won the 100 backstroke and Mattison won the 100 breastroke. Weimer also was on the winning 200 freestyle relay team with Mattison, Brynn Halbach and Piper Cyterski, and she teamed with Zhao, Felicia Pursner and Cyterski to win the 200 medley relay.
Zhao also was on the winning 400 freestyle relay team with Halbach, Siya Kannan and Pursner. Sadie Rogers won the 1-meter diving and Kannan won the 100 butterfly.
For the North Oconee boys, who won six events, Charlie Logan was victorious in the 200 freestyle, the 100 butterfly and was on the winning 400 freestyle relay team with Henry Logan, Craig Kennedy and David Mustard, who also won the 100 freestyle championship.
Dhruv Prakash won the 100 backstroke and Logan, Kennedy and Mustard teamed with Keaton Coletti to win the 200 freestyle relay.
For Oconee County, Erin Osborne won the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle, Adam Brooks won the 1-meter diving and Tucker Schroer won the 50 freestyle and was on the winning 200 medley relay team with Eli Searcy, Ben Gaffney and Tanner Schroer.
Prince Avenue Christian’s John Morgan McDonald was a multi-medal winner, taking the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle. Clarke Central’s Caedmon Churchwell won the 100 backstroke and Athens Academy freshman Ava Kennedy won the 50 freestyle.
The GHSA State Swimming and Diving Championship begins Thursday at McAuley Aquatic Center on the Georgia Tech campus and features competition between Classes A-5A and Classes 6A and 7A.