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Dragons place ten wrestlers in state
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JEFFERSON — Zac Crosby didn’t see reason to panic in Friday’s quarterfinals of the Class AA state sectionals at Jefferson High. Trailing late in the third period, he still had his strategy for victory solid in his mind.

Waiting for the right moment in the final minute, the Dragons’ 171-pound senior went all in on a take down against the No. 1-seeded Scottie Roach from Toombs County. Crosby’s strategy worked to perfection, securing the takedown and a 6-5 victory.

“I could see how he was tired and I knew he’d never been through a practice as tough as our practice here at Jefferson,” Crosby said. “I feel a little relieved now with probably my hardest match out of the way.”

With the win, Crosby secured a berth in next weekend’s traditional state championships at the Arena at Gwinnett. It was also a big part of the Dragons’ first day of action in the sectionals with 10 different Jefferson wrestlers securing a spot in today’s sectionals semifinals, as a well as a spot in the state championships.

Cason Thurmond (103), Daniel Barber (112), Clay Richardson (119), Cutler Finch (125), Cain Finch (130), Cam Thurmond (135), Jay Fowler (152), Austin Newman (160), Crosby (171) and Zach Allen (189) all won their first two matches in the state sectionals for the No. 1 ranked Dragons.

Cain Finch’s win would certainly qualify as a pleasant surprise for the Dragons. Just a freshman, Finch topped No. 1 seed Ethan Scott, from Dublin, by an 8-4 decision.

Still, at a program that is an eight-time defending traditional state champion, there’s always room for improvement. Jefferson lost two matches by one point each and one match in overtime.

“It’s kind of a bitter-sweet thing,” Jefferson coach Doug Thurmond said. “We’re happy for the 10 that are qualified for the state tournament and are in the semifinals, but we still want to get those other four qualified too.”

The Dragons still have a chance for those four wrestlers by fighting back through wrestle backs.

Riverside Military Academy’s Colton Keig (285) is also in the sectional semifinals and qualified for the state championships after winning both first day matches. Last season, he was a third-place finisher in the Georgia Independent Schools Association.

“It’s been a big drive of mine all season to qualify for the state championships,” Keig said. “The level of competition here in the GHSA is really, really strong.”

He won both of his first day matches by way of a fall. What makes his position in the heavyweight class so impressive is the fact that the Furman football signee only weighs 225 currently. Keig feels like most of his competition outweighs him by upward of 40 pounds.

“Everything I do is by technique,” said Keig.

Defending state champion Scottie Forrester of Buford advanced to the semifinals with his win at 152.

Buford’s Nick Voss (145) also advanced to the semifinals with two wins by a fall.

Banks County’s Demetric Dempson (189) also qualified for the state semifinals.

Wrestle backs continue at 9 a.m. today in Jefferson. The finals are expected to begin at 3 p.m. The top eight places at the state sectionals advance to the state championships, which starts next Thursday in Duluth.
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