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Local wrestlers rack up area traditional titles, spots in state sectionals
North Hall crowns four 8-AAAA individual champs; Buford claims team title
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Buford’s Darius Bunch gets the upper hand against North Hall’s Holden Barnes in the 126-pound title match of the Area 8-AAAA traditional championships on Saturday at Chestatee High. Branch won the match. - photo by Jared Putnam

Area 8-AAAA Team Standings

1. Buford - 189.50

2. Chestatee - 184.00

3. North Hall - 183.50

4. Stephens County - 146.50

5. Johnson - 145.50

6. White County - 139.00

7. Madison County - 117.50

8. North Oconee - 80.00

9. Monroe Area - 34.00

Results by weight class

106 pounds

1. Austin Durham - White County

2. Gavin Cunningham - Chestatee

3. Chase Hartman - Buford

4. Ryan Miller - Madison County

113 pounds

1. Cody Bond - Madison County

2. Michael Rietrib - North Hall

3. Gabriel Laguna - Johnson

4. Kyle McCullough - Buford

120 pounds

1. Evan Drake - Madison County

2. David Sprague - North Oconee

3. Cory Garrison - White County

4. Anthony Aguilar - Chestatee

126 pounds

1. Darius Bunch - Buford

2. Holden Barnes - North Hall

3. Javon Jones - Stephens County

4. Jairo Cuevas - Chestatee

132 pounds

1. Jack Barber - Buford

2. Austin Donaldson - Chestatee

3. Jake Murray - Stephens County

4. Justin Bishop - Madison County

138 pounds

1. Trent Ferguson - Buford

2. Marvin Cunningham - Chestatee

3. David Castaneda - Johnson

4. Michael Von-Kutzleben - North Oconee

145 pounds

1. Michael Carew - North Hall

2. Mathew McLellan - Chestatee

3. Cody Bearden - White County

4. Saul Gomez - Johnson

152 pounds

1. Beau Gentry - Madison County

2. Garrett Brader - Chestatee

3. Joe Salas - Buford

4. Jose Cannon - Stephens County

160 pounds

1. Nick Whitmire - North Hall

2. Fredis Velasquez - Johnson

3. Blake Peeples - Stephens County

4. Jonathan Castillo - Chestatee

170 pounds

1. Isaiah Hale - North Hall

2. Isaac Alarcon - Chestatee

3. Jerry Ochoa - Johnson

4. Jordan Wiley - Madison County

182 pounds

1. Devin Burns - Stephens County

2. Jack Ness - Buford

3. Jaime Arroyo - Chestatee

4. Caleb Williamson - North Hall

195 pounds

1. Darien Ingram - North Hall

2. Grant Simonds - Buford

3. Sean Freeman - White County

4. Stephen Kreyenbuhl - North Oconee

220 pounds

1. Andrew Posten - White County

2. Randy Galvan - North Hall

3. Jake Holman - Johnson

4. Preston Kell - Buford

285 pounds

1. Gary Walker - Stephens County

2. Pedro Estradad - Johnson

3. Ty Anderson - White County

4. Cody Drake - Monroe Area

North Hall wrestlers won four individual titles at the Area 8-AAAA traditional championships, but it wasn’t enough for the Trojans to claim top honors.

The Trojans (183.50 points) sent seven wrestlers to title matches, more than any other school, but were edged by Buford (189.50) and Chestatee (184.00) in the final standings on Saturday at Chestatee High.

“We knew it would be hard to get the win,” said North Hall coach Stuart Cunningham. “But you’ve got to congratulate the kids who got their wins, so we’ll go to sectionals and see what we can do there.”

Michael Carew (145), Nick Whitmire (160), Isaiah Hale (170), and Darien Ingram (195) all recorded area title victories, while Michael Rietrib (113), Holden Barnes (126) and Randy Galvan (220) all took second place for North Hall.

All wrestlers who finish in the top four of their area championship will advance to next weekend’s sectionals.

The Class AAAA east sectional will begin Friday at Buford, which may give the Wolves an added edge, according to coach Rob Carlyle. The Wolves will send nine wrestlers to sectionals, including Darius Bunch (126), Jack Barber (132) and Trent Ferguson (138), who went undefeated at area. Although Buford won last year’s state tournament in traditionals and duals, Saturday’s team win was the first area title in school history.

“It’s going to be tough,” Carlyle said. “We’ve got to have a good weekend. There are a lot of freshmen and sophomores who went deep into the bracket this weekend, so it’s great to see for the future.”

Chestatee sent five wrestlers to their respective 8-AAAA championship matches, and will take 10 qualifiers to sectionals next weekend. Chestatee’s Gavin Cunningham (106) and Austin Donaldson (132) were the closest to pulling out area titles, but fell to opponents from White County and Buford, respectively. Donaldson and teammate Marvin Cunningham had been previous area champions, as well as Hall County champions.

“I’m very happy of the way they fought out there,” Barr said. “I don’t think you can highlight one person above the rest. We’ve got work to do (before sectionals), so we can’t be satisfied.”

North Hall had led the pack following Saturday’s semifinals, but strong performances from Chestatee and fifth place Johnson (145.50) shook up the standings. Four of coach John Petty’s Knights earned third place honors, including Gabrial Laguna (113), David Casteneda (138), Jerry Ochoa (170), and Jake Holman (220).

Stephens County, Johnson, White County, Madison County, North Oconee and Monroe Area all rounded out the bottom six of the standings.

In Area 8-AAAAA action, Gainesville placed four wrestlers in the finals. Tristen Garrett (152), Terrell Knights (160) and Triston Cantrell (195) all won area titles, while Kash Jones (220) finished runner-up.

Despite scoring 209 points, the Red Elephants finished fourth behind strong teams from Clarke Central (239.50), Heritage (218.50) and Flowery Branch (212.50). Gainesville will have 10 wrestlers travel to sectionals, with three alternates. The Class AAAAA east sectionals will begin Friday at Lanier High School in Sugar Hill.

“It was definitely fruitful, by all means,” said Gainesville coach Nick Niesielowski. “Last year, we had two finalists, just one area champ, and now we’ve had more guys than ever place third. It literally came down to two or three matches, but it is what it is.”

Flowery Branch will send 10 wrestlers to sectionals, including three area champions. Ronnie Link (120), Nolan Alspach (132), and Brady Dyer (145) all pinned their opponents in the final match to go undefeated this weekend.

Falcons coach Shane Millwood said his team was frustrated to have fallen short of a top-2 finish, and that the Falcons will have to improve before next week’s sectionals.

Bo Baldwin (152), Stephen Kercher (138), and Anthony Woodall (182) all took second place for the Falcons.

“There were times today where we wrestled really well, and some where we thought we should have won,” Millwood said. “We were only out of second place by six points, so it’s really frustrating to us.”

East Hall and West Hall each crowned one individual champion on Saturday during the Area 7-AAA traditionals at Lumpkin County High in Dahlonega. James Stoudenmire won the 106-pound weight class for the third-place Vikings (122.00 points), while Elliott Raiford (160) won a championship for the fifth-place Spartans (111.00).

West Hall and East Hall each had eight wrestlers qualify for the Class AAA east sectional at Morgan County High School.
Lumpkin County (199.00) dominated the weekend and finished well ahead of second-place Banks County (163.5).

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