MACON — Collins Hill had its “Big Five” in position to take individual state titles in Class AAAAAAA and Buford had its “Big Four” in the same position in Class AAAAA in the finals of the Georgia High School Association’s State Traditional Wrestling Championships on Saturday at the Macon Centreplex.

Ultimately, the deficits both squads faced in their race for the team titles in their respective classifications were too great.

However, with eight members of the combined “Big Nine” taking home championship medals, the Eagles and Wolves were able to claim the runner-up spots in their classes.

Actually, Collins Hill featured its “Big Five, Plus One,” with Tiyahna Askew also winning the 152-pound girls championship, while individual titles by Joey Felix (126), Elijah Griffin at (132), Clint Gilbert (138) and Lucas DeSilva (160) and a second-place finish by Powell Gilbert at 120 gave the Eagles 167 team points in Class AAAAAAA, trailing only champion Camden County’s total of 199.5.

Meanwhile, Buford’s quartet of Nick Stonecheck (152), Charlie Darracott (160), Blaine Bergey (182) and Evan DiMaggio (220) led seven state placers to help the Wolves finish as state runners up in AAAAA with 179 points behind only Woodland-Cartersville’s total of 210.

“Obviously, (winning) five out of six (in the finals) is pretty good,” said Collins Hill coach Nate Ethridge, whose Eagles finished as state runner-up for the second straight season, though they did cut the margin that Camden County won by more than in half. “The way the 120 (pound) match went down was pretty frustrating, and at this point in my career, it’s almost hard to enjoy wins and I just dwell on losses. So as great as our kids are, I’m not going to like. I’m bummed out.

“Last year, we wanted to be runner-up because we knew we didn’t have enough (depth) last year. This year, we did, and we talked about for a while that our other guys were going to win us a state title or not. We didn’t generate enough (team points) on the back side of this tournament.”

Buford coach Tom Beuglas knows exactly where Ethirdge is coming from, having had a few individual disappointments even as his Wolves were winning back-to-back state titles in 2017 and 2018, as well as last year’s runner-up finish.

However, he admits that having all four of his finalist win their respective weight classes was a bit of a different feeling, and something of a salve for coming up short for another state title, which he and his team knew was a long shot prospect coming in with Woodland-Cartersville’s depth.

“We knew everything would have to hit perfect for us to have a chance to beat Woodland,” Beuglas said. “They’ve just got so many good guys. (But) having four champs is great. The last couple of years, it seems like every year, I’d go home a little upset because one guy gets beat. So to have all four seniors win, I’m happy for them.

“The team took second, which was a realistic goal. I mean, (third-place) Veterans is a really good team. We thought they were going to be tough to beat. It came down to the finals. I think going into the finals, we were down (to Veterans) a couple of points.”

Charlie Darracott, who felt the same disappointment Beuglas did after being upset in last year’s state final at 152 points, earned a big of redemption by posting an 8-6 decision over Woodland’s Cole Cochran to win the 160-pound title Saturday.

Meanwhile, DiMaggio, a relative newcomer to wrestling, had perhaps the most entertaining match of the day as he bulled his way to several football-style takedowns to score a 12-5 decision over Kell’s Andrew Parlato in the 220-pound final.

Buford and Collins Hill weren’t the only two Gwinnett squads to post a top-10 finish in the team standings.

Riding an individual title from Chase Hornsby, who scored a come-from-behind 7-4 decision over Forsyth Central’s Avery Krippner at 170 pounds, and five other state placers, Brookwood posted its best team finish in school history with 109 points, good for a tie with West Forsyth for third place in Class AAAAAAA.

Meanwhile, Wesleyan scored 71 team points, paced by state runners-up Sam Schmitt (170) and Tanner Bivins (285) to tie for sixth with George Walton Academy in Class A.

Other Gwinnett County individual weight-class champions included North Gwinnett’s Rex McDaniel (145) and Mountain View’s Garrett Spikes (182) in Class AAAAAAA, as well as three other girls champions — North’s Dianna Holmes, who downed Berkmar’s Ally Graham in an all-Gwinnett 112-pound final, Duluth’s Aki Choates (132) and Meadowcreek’s Mi’Kel Jiles (197).

{p class=”p1”}GHSA State Traditional Wrestling Championships

{p class=”p1”}Saturday

{p class=”p1”}At Macon Centreplex

{p class=”p1”}TEAM RESULTS

{p class=”p1”}CLASS AAAAAAA

{p class=”p1”}1. Camden Co. 199.5

{p class=”p1”}2. Collins Hill 167

{p class=”p1”}t3. Brookwood 109

{p class=”p1”}t3. West Forsyth 109

{p class=”p1”}5. Rockdale Co. 87

{p class=”p1”}6. Lowndes 77.5

{p class=”p1”}7. Colquitt Co. 76

{p class=”p1”}8. Cherokee 67

{p class=”p1”}9. Forsyth Central 66

{p class=”p1”}10. North Forsyth 57

{p class=”p1”}11. Mountain View 56

{p class=”p1”}12. Archer 54

{p class=”p1”}t13. Mill Creek 51

{p class=”p1”}t13. North Gwinnett 51

{p class=”p1”}25. Grayson 18

{p class=”p1”}29. South Gwinnett 10

{p class=”p1”}32. Central Gwinnett 5

{p class=”p1”}33. Discovery 4

{p class=”p1”}t34. Berkmar 3

{p class=”p1”}t34. Norcross 3

{p class=”p1”}t38. Parkview 2

{p class=”p1”}t.38. Peachtree Ridge 2

{p class=”p1”}CLASS AAAAAA

{p class=”p1”}1. Creekview 195.5

{p class=”p1”}2. Cambridge 169.5

{p class=”p1”}3. Richmond Hill 155.5

{p class=”p1”}4. Pope 134

{p class=”p1”}5. Coffee 87.5

{p class=”p1”}15. Lanier 40

{p class=”p1”}23. Dacula 21

{p class=”p1”}CLASS AAAAA

{p class=”p1”}1. Woodland-Cartersville 210

{p class=”p1”}2. Buford 179

{p class=”p1”}3. Veterans 161

{p class=”p1”}4. Ola 131

{p class=”p1”}5. Harris Co. 130

{p class=”p1”}CLASS AAA

{p class=”p1”}1. Sonoraville 194.5

{p class=”p1”}2. North Hall 189.5

{p class=”p1”}3. Lumpkin Co. 117

{p class=”p1”}4. Jefferson 104.5

{p class=”p1”}5. Lovett 99

{p class=”p1”}24. Greater Atlanta Christian 9

{p class=”p1”}CLASS A

{p class=”p1”}1. Commerce 159

{p class=”p1”}2. Trion 157.5

{p class=”p1”}3. Mt. Pisgah 122

{p class=”p1”}4. Irwin Co. 111.5

{p class=”p1”}5. Holy Innocents’ 02

{p class=”p1”}t6. Wesleyan 71

{p class=”p1”}t6. George Walton Academy 71


{p class=”p1”}FIRST PLACE

{p class=”p1”}Dianna Holmes, North, 112 (girls)

{p class=”p1”}Joey Felix, Collins Hill, 126 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Aki Choates, Duluth, 132 (girls)

{p class=”p1”}Elijah Griffin, Collins Hill, 132 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Clint Gilbert, Collins Hill, 138 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Rex McDaniel, North, 145 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Tiyahna Askew, Collins Hill, 152 (girls)

{p class=”p1”}Nick Stonecheck, Buford, 152 (5A)

{p class=”p1”}Lucas DeSilva, Collins Hill, 160 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Charlie Darracott, Buford, 160 (5A)

{p class=”p1”}Chase Hornsby, Brookwood, 170 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Garrett Spikes, Mountain View, 182 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Blaine Bergey, Buford, 182 (5A)

{p class=”p1”}Mi’Kel Jiles, Meadowcreek, 197 (girls)

{p class=”p1”}Evan DiMaggio, Buford, 220 (5A)

{p class=”p1”}SECOND PLACE

{p class=”p1”}Ally Graham, Berkmar, 112 (girls)

{p class=”p1”}Powell Gilbert, Collins Hill, 120 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Zander Clark, Lanier, 145 (6A)

{p class=”p1”}Armond Jones, Mountain View, 152 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Sam Schmitt, Wesleyan, 170 (A)

{p class=”p1”}Tanner Bivins, Wesleyan, 285 (A)

{p class=”p2”}THIRD PLACE

{p class=”p1”}Alitza Dennard, Peachtree Ridge, 112 (girls)

{p class=”p1”}Xavier Bentley, Brookwood, 113 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Tyler Henley, Buford, 126 (5A)

{p class=”p1”}Cameron Sapp, Archer, 126 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Florin Myndresku, Archer, 138 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Chandler Mullis, Brookwood, 160 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}JoJo Oldknow, Brookwood, 195 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}FOURTH PLACE

{p class=”p1”}Vernon Rogers, Archer, 106 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Nick Cambria, Buford, 120 (5A)

{p class=”p1”}Grant Turner, Mill Creek, 120 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Camron Starks, Brookwood, 152 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Davon Mayfield, Grayson, 160 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}D.J. Morrison, Collins Hill, 285 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}FIFTH PLACE

{p class=”p1”}Banks Bitterman, Mill Creek, 106 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Na’im Moss, GAC, 120 (3A)

{p class=”p1”}J.T. McCullough, Buford, 132 (5A)

{p class=”p1”}Nic Bachmann, Mill Creek, 132 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Trent DeBow, Wesleyan, 145 (A)

{p class=”p1”}Jacob Downing, Buford, 170 (5A)

{p class=”p1”}Eric Berry, Wesleyan, 195 (A)

{p class=”p1”}Gavin Guerra, Mill Creek, 195 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Jalen Cole, Dacula, 220, (6A)


{p class=”p1”}Chris Wheeler, Lanier, 106 (6A)

{p class=”p1”}David Richards, South, 126 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Seth Anderson, North, 160 (7A)

{p class=”p1”}Landon Moss, Brookwood, 182 (7A)

Stay Informed

Graduated from GSU in 1990. Have worked in sports journalism for the past 28 years, covering a variety of sports at the Gwinnett Daily News, AJC, Lafayette (La.) Daily Advertiser and Marietta Daily Journal before returning to Gwinnett at the Post in 2007.

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