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Prep wrestling: 2007 Hall County Duals have a new format
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Hall County’s wrestling coaches found a problem after last year’s Hall County Duals at West Hall High. After some tinkering to the tournament format, they hope that the problem is now just a thing of the past.

At the time, it became apparent among the group that a better way could be implemented to crown the individual champions. In the past, coaches simply voted at the end of the meet to determine the best wrestler in each weight class.

The end result is a change to the format of the annual tournament that’s going to give a fresh face to the yearly meet featuring all seven Class AAA programs in Hall County.

The problem was resolved by implementing a three-round, single elimination bracket with room for eight grapplers in each weight class.

The Hall County Duals has been expanded to a three-day event to allow for a traditional format today to determine individual champions in each of the 14 weight classes.

Friday and Saturday’s matches are to determine the best team in a dual format.

"In the past we voted at the end who was the best wrestler," Chestatee High coach Tim Garner said. "And that sometimes can be too subjective."

With only seven schools involved in the Hall County Duals, a coaches vote before the meet that begins tonight at Chestatee High will determine which wrestler in each class earns a first-round bye.

"If we’re going to award the best wrestler, this is the best way to do it," Gainesville coach Rodney Potter said.

The results from today’s traditional format has no impact of the duals on Friday and Saturday. But the added day of wrestling adds a more technical aspect to the meet for coaches than before. Coaches want to put their grapplers in a position to win the individual title as well as their respective team title.

"I think that there is a dominant wrestler in almost every weight class," North Hall coach Jimmy Quinn said.

Coaches have the flexibility to move a wrestler up only one weight class from the traditional to duals format.

But with the Area 7-AAA duals upcoming next week, all the coaches are putting more emphasis on performing as well as possible in the duals.

Once the teams get on the mat it’s about bragging rights. And this year the teams to beat are going to be two-time defending champion West Hall along with Flowery Branch, according to most coaches. But don’t count out teams on the rise looking for a top finish such as North Hall, Johnson and Chestatee.

"I think West Hall and Flowery Branch are right up there together," Johnson coach Scott Kersh said. "But it will be interesting to watch the rest of the teams compete to see who can finish up near the top.

"It will be difficult for any team to beat West Hall because they have someone on the mat in every weight class."

But coaches don’t only want to win for the perk of bragging rights. Finishes from the Hall County duals help determine seeding for the 7-AAA duals. The two criteria used are head-to-head record and record against a common opponent.

"The Hall County duals are a really good tune-up for the Area duals," West Hall coach Rod Galvan said.

The Spartans are led on the mat by senior Colby Yates at 135 pounds. He now stands at 187-23 in his career (30-1 this season). Other strong contenders for the traditional championship for West Hall are Justin Byrne (119), Cody Morrow (130) and Chan Morris (152).

Galvan admits he will keep some out his wrestlers out of the traditional format to be able to use some strategy with moving wrestlers around for the duals.

"I like being able to bump wrestlers up and move them in weight class," Galvan added. "There’s a lot of strategy involved.

"And this format is good because it gives kids a chance to win an individual title."

And the strength of some teams matching up competitive wrestlers will make for some interesting battles for points.

One of the more competitive weight classes will be at 160 pounds with North Hall’s Jason Day, who is tied for the team high with 11 wins, Gainesville’s Trahern Ricks, coming off a second place finish at South Forsyth, and Chestatee’s Anthony Ward, who dropped down from 171 and is wrestling well, according to Garner.

Another interesting battle will take place at 125 pounds with weight class favorite Conner Comeaux, of Chestatee, going against Gainesville’s Dane Hicks.

Each team is hoping for its leaders to come in earn points for their Hall County title chances.

Joey Wirsing (171) and Micah Mills (189) are looked at to lead the Knights.

Garner is also looking at Julian Oliger (119), Cam Phillips (145), Chris Fain (171) and Guillermo Casas (215) to earn points for the War Eagles.

North Hall grapplers Nick Quinn (130), Zack Agerton (135), Shane Doster (140), Beau Dehass (152), Colby McClain (189) and Seth Hewell (285) are wrestling well for the Trojans.

The Red Elephants also have an emerging heavyweight with junior Josh Jackson at 285.

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