Archer’s MJ Couzan battles Grayson’s Sekou Nicholson in the 285-pound weight class match-up during the Area 8-AAAAAA duals at Archer. (Photo: Kyle Hess)
LAWRENCEVILLE — Archer’s nationally-ranked wrestling team showed no signs of slowing down at the Area 8-AAAAAA Duals as the Tigers rolled to the championship Saturday in their home arena.
Archer, with just three seniors in the starting lineup, didn’t lose a match as the top-seeded Tigers knocked off No. 8 seed South Gwinnett 84-0 and No. 4 seed Parkview 76-0 en route to an 80-0 win over No. 3 Grayson in the title match.
“I feel good about our effort today,” Archer head coach Tom Beuglas said. “Obviously, our goal today was to win area and we did that. But we didn’t lose a match all day. We’ve been out of town for the past four weeks and it felt good to get home and perform this well.”
Grayson, which also advances along with Archer to the state duals tournament Thursday through Saturday in Macon, had moved into the title match by defeating No. 6 seed Central Gwinnett 46-22 and No. 2 seed Brookwood 34-30.
Brookwood eventually finished third with a 45-33 win over Parkview in the third-place match.
Archer, ranked No. 10 in the nation by Flowrestling.com, trailed in just one of the 14 matches against Grayson as M.J. Couzan fell behind Sekou Nicholson 2-1 in the 285-pound matchup.
But Couzan rallied quickly and pinned Nicholson with 27 seconds remaining in the opening period.
From there, Archer was never challenged as the Tigers won the next four matches by pins.
Vinny Artigues (106) pinned Austin Durham with 1:45 remaining in the first period, Gio Fernandez (113) pinned Nigel Jones in 1:49, Alex Standridge (120) pinned Josh Dominguez 2:09 into the match and Christopher Diaz (126) pinned Ben Sewell in 2:46.
Then Grant Aycox (132) took a 13-2 decision over Javaughn Anderson and Sam Bullard (138) took a 6-2 decision 2:38 into the match when Davion Radford took an injury default.
Archer took the next three matches with pins as Trey Rinehart (145) pinned Ian Allen with 42 seconds remaining in the second period, Thomas Bullard (152) pinned Alex Distasio 2:37 into the match and Daniel Bullard (160) pinned Zachary Mooney with 58 seconds left in the second period.
Archer finished off the shutout with wins by Garrett Miller (170) over Reese Kadel with a 13-3 decision, Quinn Miller (182) pinned Bryce Smith with 39 seconds left in the first period, Elliot Lee (195) pinned Austin Baker 2:04 into the match and Jacob Lill (220) pinned Elijah Mackey with 1:28 to go in the opening period.
“Hopefully, all that good competition we’ve been facing has brought our level up,” Beuglas said. “And today I think it showed. Everybody qualified and no one got injured today. Now we go to state next week where the level of competition will be raised and we’ll see how we handle it. All that national recognition is great, but it’s still about winning a state championship.”
In other opening-round matches, No. 4 seed Parkview edged No. 5 seed Dacula 39-36 and No. 7 seed Brookwood knocked off No. 7 seed Berkmar 54-27.
Dacula came back to defeat South 63-12 in the consolation bracket but fell to Brookwood 52-21.
Central also rebounded in the consolation bracket to defeat Berkmar 58-24 before dropping a 42-28 decision to Parkview.