Like every other Georgia High School Association sport, the luck of the draw is a very important factor in wrestling when it comes to the postseason.
Unlike most sports, however, the luck on the draw doesn’t rely on a region vs. region format when it comes to the brackets for each classification at the state dual meet championship tournament.
So there was plenty of interest in Sunday’s seeding meeting that determined the draw in the classifications’ brackets for this year’s tournament, which gets underway Thursday at the Macon Centreplex, including from Gwinnett County’s seven qualifying teams over three different classes.
For five of those local teams competing in the Class AAAAAAA bracket, a lot of their attention was directed towards where they are situated in relation to Camden County, which has won five straight state duals titles over two different classes, including the last three at the state’s highest classification.
“Anytime you’re opposite Camden (in the bracket), it’s where you want to be,” said Collins Hill coach Nate Ehtridge, whose Eagles rode their first Region 6-AAAAAAA duals championship since 2014 this past weekend to a No. 2 overall seed in the state duals. “But we’ve got a tough first-round matchup. I’m not sure how Colquitt (County, the runner-up to Camden County in the Region 1-AAAAAAA duals) didn’t get a higher seed. But we thought we’d be at the (No.) 2 seed.”
The Eagles, who have been ranked as high as No. 1 in Class AAAAAAA at times this season by different criteria, certainly don’t fear Camden, or any other team.
Neither does Mountain View, which fell to Collins Hill in the 6-AAAAAAA duals finals.
The Bears could meet up with the Wildcats a lot sooner, in the second round, should they get past their first-round dual against Cherokee.
“I think a lot of people think just because we lost nine state qualifiers from last year that we’re way down,” Mountain View coach Jim Gassman said. “We’re not way down. We’ve wrestled some good teams in the top 10 this year. We finished ahead of Brookwood (at the Gwinnett County Championships). We’ve finished ahead of Lowndes and Lambert (in other meets), so I’m optimistic.”
Meanwhile, another Gwinnett team, 7-AAAAAAA runner-up Parkview, will see Camden even sooner in a first-round matchup, while Region 7 champion Brookwood comes in as the No. 3 overall seed and face a very familiar foe in the first round in fellow Gwinnett team and Region 8 runner-up Archer.
Among Gwinnett’s other teams, Lanier is back at state off its second-straight Region 8-AAAAAA duals title, and will face a rematch with Cambridge, which defeated the Longhorns in last year’s first round, in this year’s opening dual.
In Class AAAAA, Buford comes in as the No. 3 overall seed, and takes on Decatur in the first round in Class AAAAA.