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Gilmer dominates first day of Area 7-AAA traditionals
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ELLIJAY — It’s just hard to compete with Gilmer when its wrestling program is clicking on all cylinders.

On the first day of the Area 7-AAA traditional championships, the state duals champion Bobcats strung together 18 pins, two wins by major decision and only one loss through the first two rounds Friday.

“I believe this is the most dominant team that we’ve had at Gilmer,” Bobcats coach Sam Snider said. “From 103 pounds to 285, this team is very tough and all really like each other.”

In the 14 weight classes, Gilmer qualified 13 wrestlers for today’s semifinals, and leads in the team standings with 129 total points. West Forsyth is currently second (96) points, Flowery Branch third (65), Lumpkin County is fourth and White County is in fifth place.

West Forsyth had 10 wrestlers already qualified for the semifinals, which start at 11 a.m. today. Flowery Branch and Lumpkin County each qualified six wrestlers.

Flowery Branch was bolstered with wins by No. 5 seeds Nate Amos (140) and Keaton Raber (145). Also advancing for the
Falcons are defending state champion Danny Bell (112), Nick Lankford (103), George Kudyba (189) and Brandon Dyer (130).

“All in all, I’m pleased with the day we had,” Flowery Branch coach Shane Lancaster said.

At 112, Bell cruised through to the semifinals with the aid of a first round bye. He said the key to the opening day is to scout out the opposition and start to look toward future matches.

“The first day of a meet like this is a lot more laid back,” Bell said. “Getting that bye in the first round does make things easier.”

Lumpkin County’s James Snipes is already looking forward to seeing Bell in the finals, in what would be a rematch of last week’s match that Bell won by three points. Snipes, a senior, broke his ankle last season the day prior to the area championships and lost in the semifinals by a single point.

“I already knew I was going to win (Friday),” said Snipes. “I’m really looking forward to (today).”

Also advancing to semifinal action for Lumpkin County are Todd Berry (125), Lee Cagle (160), Jake McClure (189), Travis Burton (215) and Cody Cantrell (285).

North Hall and White County have each qualified four for the semifinals.

West Hall’s Tanner Yates came out on top in one of the more exciting first-day matches with a late takedown from behind in the quarterfinals against Flowery Branch’s Caleb Schulman in the 125-pound class, which is considered one of the most competitive weight classes. Yates said the tough matches early make it easier to stay focused for a possible shot at the finals.

“I knew it was going to be a tough battle as soon as I saw the brackets for our weight class,” Yates said. “There are no easy matches.”

Also having a strong first day was Chestatee with 10 first round wins and a pair of wins in the quarterfinals, including an overtime win from Daniel Moreno at 152. Chestatee’s Ed Villeda (189) is also qualified for the semifinals.

Gilmer wrestlers moving on to the semifinals are Justin Karr (103), Jerry Plumley (119), Zac Horton (125), Danyuhl Becker (130), Tyler Davenport (135), Santos Sanchez (140), Cody Bollinger (145), Ian Berger (152), Ian Smith (160), Hunter Barnes (171), Andrew Smith (189), James Longino (215) and Zach Sprayberry (285).

Today’s finals will begin at 5 p.m. in Ellijay.