Wrestling: Area Duals set for Saturday

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
Posted 1:26PM on Friday 12th January 2024 ( 3 months ago )

With a new state tournament format in place, most northeast Georgia area and state wrestling teams will hold their Area Duals on Saturday.

Gone are the Sectionals, replaced by a 16-team field at the State Duals, set for Jan 19-20 around the state (click here to see the tournament sites for all eight GHSA classifications).

The top two teams in each Area or Region will advance to the state bracket. In that bracket, winners will continue to advance until two teams reach the finals. The losers at any point will drop into the consolation bracket, which will determine the the third and fourth place finishers.

Area 8-4A, which holds area teams Cherokee Bluff, Chestatee, East Forsyth, East Hall, Johnson, and North Hall, along with Cedar Shoals, North Oconee, Seckinger, and Walnut Grove, will hold its Area Duals on Saturday at the Lynn Cottrell Complex at Chestatee High School.

East Hall coach Ken Stoudenmire said the change to the Duals state bracket is long overdue.

“The old Sectionals was essentially the first round of the playoffs and kind of redundant because you could do that the way that it’s set up now without having an extra weekend,” he said. “It was a huge travel expense for teams for basically two matches. (The changes) will cut down on that and be better overall for everyone.”

Chestatee and North Oconee advanced to the State Duals in 2023, but this time, North Hall may be the team to beat coming into Saturday. The Trojans won the Hall County Duals, with Chestatee finishing second. East Hall took third.

In 2023, Chestatee finished third in the State Duals, with North Oconee finishing fourth after the War Eagles knocked off the Titans in the third-place match.

Stoudenmire said it should be a very competitive Area Duals.

“There are several really good teams in our Area,” he said. “I probably would give the nod to North Hall, but I expect Chestatee and North Oconee to be right there. There are always injuries and sickness this time of year so that could play a factor as well.

“But overall, I feel like our Area stacks up pretty well with the rest of the state in Class 4A.”

In last year’s Duals finals tournament, Chestatee lost to eventual state champion Central-Carroll, while North Oconee fell to runner-up Lovett in the semifinals.

This year’s Class 4A State Duals will be staged at Chestatee on Jan. 19-20. As for the other classifications, Class 7A will be at Buford, Class 6A at North Forsyth, 5A will be held at Jefferson, and Class 3A will be at Lumpkin County.

But those aren't the only teams looking to get to finals. Buford, which finished second in Class 7A in 2023, is a favorite in Area 8-7A. North Forsyth finished second in Class 6A last season and is among the favorites in Area 8-6A. Jefferson won the Class 5A Duals title in 2023 and is the favorite in Area 8-5A. 

Area 7-3A held its Duals tournament last week, with Lumpkin County and Gilmer advancing to the State Duals tournament.

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