Saturday May 28th, 2016 10:13AM

Big games, championships and Signing Day all on tap this week

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
Let's hope this week's area sporting events carry more excitement than Sunday's Super Bowl...

That shouldn't be a problem, however, especially this week, as swimming wraps its campaign, wrestling moves a week away from its penultimate meet and area basketball teams conclude their region seeding races.

And that's not even counting National Signing Day, which will take place Wednesday and provide area collegiate and high school sports fans with their yearly fix of who is headed where to play on the next level. But back to the games on themselves...

Now that the winter weather madness has subsided we are left with a schedule packed tighter than an I-285 winter weather parking lot. And things get started on Monday with basketball games that must be made up after last week's postponements.

In fact there will be contests played nearly every day this week, as region seeding races come down to the wire, including in 8-AAAA, as the Johnson boys know they must win out and get some help in order to overtake Eastside for the No. 1 seed. On the girls side, Chestatee has a clear path to No. 1 with an undefeated league mark (5-0) but face a key battle with Lanier (3-1) on Tuesday.

Region 7-AAA features the most convoluted races, as four girls teams vie for the No. 2 seed, and three teams still battling it out for No. 2 on the boys side (Buford is in the driver's seat for No. 1 on both sides). The girls race is tighest, with Banks County (7-4 in 7-AAA), North Hall (6-4), Dawson County (6-5) and White County (5-6) all within striking distance. East Hall's boys have the clearest path to No. 2 at 8-3 in league play, but Dawson County (7-4) and White County (6-5) are hot on the Vikings' heels.

In Region 8-AAAAA, Gainesville's girls are fairly firmly entrenched as the No. 2 seed but will take another shot at knocking off No. 1 when they take on Salem on Friday.

Region 8-AA also features a big boys showdown between Jefferson (undefeated in league play) and Rabun County with just one 8-AA defeat. And, in 8-A, Towns County and Lakeview Academy's girls will battle down to the wire for the No. 2 spot behind George Walton Academy.

Suffice to say there are a lot of big results on the line over the next six days.

Results will be all that matter this weekend for the area's top wrestlers.

Those that are still competing are just one tournament away from the state traditional finals at the Gwinnett Arena and this weekend's Sectionals will decide who takes that step and how tough their road to the crown will be once they get there.

Dozens of grapplers from area programs will compete over the weekend after impressive results at last week's area traditionals. Most of the area's wrestlers face a lengthy travel to sectional tournaments, with only Lanier for Class AAAA being held in our backyard (scroll down for a look at where pertinent sectional tournaments will take place).

Finally, the state's top prep swimmers will meet up starting on Friday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta to crown their state champs.

Last year's finals saw plenty of exciting finishes for area swimmers, including two individual golds for North Hall's Paul Powers and a relay championship for he and his Trojans teammates.

Powers and younger brother Ty are expected to again lead the charge for area swimmers this time around, each entering the weekend as No. 1 seeds in respective events. Gainesville's Colin Monaghan also has high hopes after posting the top 100 breaststroke time of the year.

It's sure to be another historic event, capping off what should be another thrilling week.


Monday, Feb. 3
North Hall at Fannin County
Johnson at Chestatee

Tuesday, Feb. 4
White County at East Hall
Dawson County at North Hall
West Hall at Buford
Fannin County at Banks County
Walnut Grove at Johnson
Lanier at Chestatee
Heritage at Flowery Branch
Lakeview Academy at Commerce
Jefferson at Rabun County
Jackson County at Hart County
Habersham Central at Meadowcreek
North Forsyth at West Forsyth
Tallulah Falls at Towns County
Riverside Military at Union County
Monroe Area at Stephens County
East Jackson at Franklin County

Wednesday, Feb. 5
FCA Signing Day event at Longstreet Cafe, Gainesville

Thursday, Feb. 6
White County at Buford
Monroe Area at Johnson
Chestatee at Stephens County

Friday, Feb. 7
Buford at North Hall
Banks County at East Hall
West Hall at Dawson County
White County at Fannin County
Gainesville at Salem
Tallulah Falls at Lakeview Academy
Union County at Jefferson
Jackson County at East Jackson
Duluth at Habersham Central
Centennial at North Forsyth
Pinecrest Academy at Commerce
Rabun County at Riverside Military

State championships at Georgia Tech

State Sectionals
Class AAAAA -- East Sectional at Cambridge (top 8 qualify for State Finals)
Class AAAA -- East Sectional at Lanier (top 8 qualify for State Finals)
Class AAA -- East Sectional at Morgan County (top 4 qualify for State Finals)
Class AA -- East Sectional at Dublin (top 4 qualify for State Finals)
Class A -- East Sectional at Holy Innocents (top 4 qualify for State Finals)

Saturday, Feb. 8
Flowery Branch at Clarke Central
West Hall at North Hall
East Hall at Fannin County
Banks County at Dawson County
Region 8-AAAA play-in game (at No. 8 boys seed)

State championships at Georgia Tech

State Sectionals
Class AAAAA -- East Sectional at Cambridge (top 8 qualify for State Finals)
Class AAAA -- East Sectional at Lanier (top 8 qualify for State Finals)
Class AAA -- East Sectional at Morgan County (top 4 qualify for State Finals)
Class AA -- East Sectional at Dublin (top 4 qualify for State Finals)
Class A -- East Sectional at Holy Innocents (top 4 qualify for State Finals)
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