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High school wrestling: Jefferson sending 13 to state title meet
Jefferson High School wrestling coach Doug Thurmond shouts out to Jefferson High wrestler Cain Finch in a match against East Jackson Comprehensive High’s Shane Moore during the Class AA state wrestling sectionals at Jefferson High School on Saturday. - photo by SARA GUEVARA
JEFFERSON — Jay Fowler was locked in an adrenaline rush.

Jefferson’s three-time defending traditional state champion was pitted against Buford’s Scottie Forrester, also a defending state champion, in the 152-pound finals of the Class AA East Sectionals on Saturday at Jefferson High.

Both wrestlers were in an even battle to enter next weekend’s state championships as a No. 1 seed.
But with the Dragons’ fan base in his corner cheering, Fowler picked up the win and the top-seed as he makes a run at becoming Jefferson’s third four-time state champion in school history.

“Matches like that are why you wrestle,” Fowler said. “It feels really good to defeat a defending state champion.”

Fowler was just one of the big stories that highlighted the final day of the sectionals for the Dragons.
Jefferson qualified three additional wrestlers for the state finals through wrestle backs, making 13 of 14 Dragons wrestlers qualifiers for the state championships at the Gwinnett Arena.

The first 10 Jefferson wrestlers qualified for state Friday with wins in the first two rounds of the sectionals.

“I think we did a great job coming back today,” Jefferson coach Doug Thurmond said. “This was a great sectional with a lot of great matches.”

Jefferson’s Ben Knight (145) overcame the biggest obstacle to qualify for state, winning four straight matches on the final day to finish third overall. Jefferson senior Patrick Allen (215) rebounded with three wins and also finished third. Forrest Przybysz (140) also qualified for the state finals in the wrestle backs for the Dragons with a seventh place finish.

As expected from the eight-time defending state champs, the Dragons also had their fair share of first-place finishers at the sectionals. The No. 1 seeds from the sectionals will pair against the No. 8 seeds from the west sectionals at the state finals next weekend.

Cason Thurmond (103), Cutler Finch (125), Cam Thurmond (135), Fowler (152) and Zac Crosby (171) all finished first for the Dragons. Jefferson won all five of its first-place matches.

Cam Thurmond’s semifinal match at 135 was also a big win for the Dragons.

Thurmond, a two-time state champion, defeated Toombs County’s three-time defending champion Bryan Benton by a 4-2 decision. Thurmond turned around and defeated Blessed Trinity’s Shane Fadem by a decision in the finals.

“I was psyched and nervous all week thinking about this weekend,” Cam Thurmond said. “Now I want to get ready to win at state in the last wrestling tournament of my career.”

Jefferson’s Daniel Barber (112), Cain Finch (130), Zach Allen (189) and Patrick Allen each finished third.
Austin Newman (160) finished fifth and Clay Richardson (119) was sixth for the Dragons. As a team, Jefferson is now in place to make a run at its ninth consecutive team title at the traditional state championships.

“Our team had some big matches and some big wins today,” Doug Thurmond added.

Buford’s Nick Voss (145) and Forrester (152) both finished second in the sectionals. Billy Anderson (135) finished fourth, and Chris Boulware (103) and Cameron Hutchins (130) each finished eighth for the Wolves.

Colton Keig (285) led Riverside Military with a third-place finish. Andrew Goodwin (112) and Evan Sarhan (125) each placed seventh for the Eagles. David Wood finished fifth, Joe Perry placed sixth and Preston Adams finished eighth for Dawson County.

Jared Gregory, Demetric Dempson, Matthew Patton and Tramane Mayfield all qualified for state from Banks County.

The traditional state championships start Friday at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth. The finals are Saturday night.
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