Monday October 23rd, 2017 5:33AM

STATE CHAMPS: Jefferson, eight other individual wrestlers claim titles in Macon

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
MACON -- The chain is still unbroken.

Jefferson wrestling maintained its streak of dominance on Saturday, claiming its 13th straight state traditional crown, as four Dragons won individual titles at the tournament in Macon.

Jefferson's performance was part of a stellar afternoon for area grapplers, who won 12 total individual crowns at the meet.

The Dragons were led by Chase Piperato (106 pounds), Ben Kelly (113), Tyler Marinelli (138) and Jace McColskey (182), who each fought their way to the top while aiding the Dragons' first place charge over Bremen -- 192 to 133.5.

Marinelli notched his second straight title with a 15-0 technical fall over Crawford's Ronald Cain, as Jefferson doubled its championship claims from a season ago. Yet the Dragons were far from alone in their celebrations.

Buford's program also enjoyed an outstanding Saturday, as three Wolves battled their way to championships.

Led by Chip Ness (182) -- a repeat champion -- Buford laid claim to titles at 113 pounds for Jack Barber and 126 pounds for Brayden Hartley. Ness pinned Dawson County's Gavin Brown, while Hartley edged out Banks County's Mason Patton, 11-9. Barber defeated Oconee County's Marshall Brown 8-2.

In fact, the day was full of repeat champs from northeast Georgia programs, including Commerce's Chance McClure, who claimed the Class A 220-pound crown to help lead the Tigers to a third place finish. Commerce also earned three silver medals -- including runner-up finishes for Michael Pittman (126), Graeson Cochran (160) and Trent Reddish (170).

There were also a plethora of new titles, including the Class AAA 106-pound crown for Banks County's Chris McCrackin, who fended off North Hall's Taylor Marett 6-2. The Leopards also notched three second place finishes, including Patton, Wes Faulkner (160) and Eli Smallwood (170) -- who could not find a way past Jackson County's Daivon Ledford, the Panther claiming a 5-1 win.

Also in Class AAA, East Jackson's Jeff Chandler (285) made an impression pinning Oconee County's Billy Seward -- one of three pins during the tournament for the Eagle standout.

In Class AAAA, Lumpkin County's Greg Hilliard also stormed through his final match of the day, pinning Heritage, Catoosa's Isaiah Knight, compiling three pins in four matches wrestled for the Indians standout.

There were also several near misses for area standouts, including North Hall's Tyler Kratzer (145), who succumbed to Blessed Trinity's Evan Strawn by a mere point, 3-2, in the Class AAA 145-pound championship bout. Riverside's Christopher Harvey also slipped to a 8-6 loss against Berrien's Hunter Kelley in the 120-pound Class AA finale.

Several other wrestlers also placed inside the top six at the meet. For a full look at all of the area's state placers, simply scroll down...

Macon, Feb. 14-15

Class A
126 -- Michael Pittman, second
138 -- Joshua Westmoreland, sixth
160 -- Graeson Cochran, second
170 -- Trent Reddish, second
182 -- Cole Sweeney, fourth
195 -- Morgan Flint, fifth
220 -- Chance McClure, first

Towns County
132 -- Vonya Baldwin, sixth

Class AA
106 -- Chase Piperato, first
113 -- Ben Kelly, first
126 -- Josh Harris, third
132 -- Tanner Turmond, third
138 -- Tyler Marinelli, first
145 -- Jack Dollar, third
152 -- Jake Sherman, second
160 -- Zach Rhymer, third
182 -- Jace McColskey, first
220 -- Aaron Anderson, third

Riverside Military
120 -- Christopher Harvey, second

Class AAA
Banks County
106 -- Chris McCrackin, first
126 -- Mason Patton, second
160 -- Wes Faulkner, second
170 -- Eli Smallwood, second
182 -- Hayden Dilbeck, fifth
195 -- Matt Dilbeck, fifth

106 -- Darius Bunch, third
113 -- Jack Barber, first
126 -- Brayden Hartley, first
182 -- Chip Ness, first

Dawson County
170 -- Evan Kells, fourth
182 -- Gavin Brown, second

East Hall
152 -- Edward Vergara, fifth
160 -- Corey Reece, fifth

East Jackson
285 -- Jeff Chandler, first

Jackson County
120 -- JT Wood, sixth
132 -- Conner Andreasen, third
170 -- Daivon Ledford, first

North Hall
106 -- Taylor Marrett, second
145 -- Tyler Kratzer, second

West Hall
152 -- Elliott Raiford, fourth

White County
195 -- Andrew Posten, fourth

Class AAAA
106 -- Jose Reyes-Lavallee, fourth
113 -- Bartolo Velasquez, fourth

Lumpkin County
113 -- Greg Hilliard, first

Flowery Branch
138 -- Zach Winter, sixth
145 -- Brady Dyer, sixth
182 -- Grant Simonds, fourth
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