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Prep wrestling: Gilmer rolls through first day of duals
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ELLIJAY — It’s all shaking out just as anticipated at the Area 7-AAA wrestling duals. The mountain schools are clearly the cream of the crop this season.

Gilmer, Pickens, Lumpkin County and West Forsyth all advanced unbeaten to the semifinals of the 7-AAA Duals with wins Friday night at Gilmer High. The top two teams in the two-day area duals advance to the Class AAA state duals next Friday at the Macon Centreplex.

The state’s No. 1-ranked and defending state champions from Gilmer looked upstoppable Friday. The Bobcats compiled 12 pins and shredded North Hall 80-0. Gilmer picked up wins from Jerry Plumley (103 pounds), Ethan Gudger (112), Luke Mosley (119), Dale Becker (125), Cody Bollinger (130), Mikey Mooney (135), Michael Fox (140), Jordan Gray (145), Hunter Barnes (152), Lewis Hensley (160), David Snider (171), E.J. Jackson (189), Wesley Nestor (215) and Landon Bramlett (285).

Equally as important, Gilmer only had to wrestle once on the opening day as a result of a first-round bye. The Bobcats are looking to lock down their fourth consecutive Area 7-AAA title and seventh consecutive trip to the AAA state duals.

"This is definitely one of our good years," Bobcats coach Sam Snider said. "We have some high team goals that we want to achieve.

"But at the same time we know we can’t take anyone for granted."

The only lingering question appears to be which team is going to join the Bobcats at the state meet.

Gilmer faces Lumpkin County in the semifinals at 10 this morning at Gilmer High. The Bobcats and Indians have not wrestled yet this season.

Lumpkin County is looking to earn its first trip to the state duals since 2001.

"We know that Gilmer is very solid all the way around," Lumpkin County coach Kyle Barr said.

Lumpkin County earned its way with a 42-26 win over Flowery Branch to advance to the semifinals. The key to the match for the Indians was the fact they held their own in the lightweights over a scrappy bunch from the Hall County champion Falcons.

Wesley Forrester (103), Todd Berry (112), Justin Blackwell (130), Chris Burnette (140), William Alaniz (152), Jake McClure (171), Brandon Roberts (189) and Travis Burton (285) all won for Lumpkin County.

In their previous match against Flowery Branch, the Indians won by eight points.

"We definitely wrestled well tonight," Barr said. "Our guys were ready to wrestle tonight."

No. 2 seed Pickens also only had to wrestle once to advance to the semifinals with a 46-28 win against West Hall. The Dragons advance to face West Forsyth at 10 a.m. today. The Dragons won the last match against the Wolverines by one point in the West Hall Duals.

Tied 28-28 with the Spartans, the Dragons managed to pull ahead for the victory behind the strength of their heavyweights.

Andy Roland (119), Anthony Matthews (140), Josh Davis (145), Thomas Turcotte (152), Dustin Brunner (160), Cody Petite (171), Jeff Darwin (189) and Lee McMahon (285) all picked up wins for Pickens.

Pickens is now trying to make it to the state meet for the second consecutive season. Last year was the first time in school history to advance to the state meet for duals.

"I’m relieved with how we’ve wrestled at this point," Pickens coach John Judkins said. "But I know anything can still happen.

"The top seven teams in this area are as tough as any in the state."

Flowery Branch is the lone survivor from Hall County. The Falcons advanced with a 38-31 win against North Hall in the final match of the day. With the win, Flowery Branch faces the Pickens/West Forsyth loser at noon.

Flowery Branch finished the day with wins against Gainesville (60-22), East Hall (46-24) and North Hall (38-31).

Zach Cannon (103), Danny Bell (112), Andrew DeYoung (119), Brandon Dyer (125), Ben Yu (140), Justin Barfield (145), Corey Johnson (160) and Tom Pennington (215) all won at least three matches for the Falcons.

White County also advances in the losers’ bracket after picking up wins against Gainesville (78-0) and West Hall (35-30). The Warriors’ only loss was in the first round to West Forsyth.

White County faces the Lumpkin County/Gilmer loser today at noon.

On Friday, Joseph Albrecht led the way for the Warriors at 130 with three wins. Brad McDougald (152), Blake Limbaugh (160), Shannon Gooch (171) and Tyler Hamilton (285) each had a pair of wins for White County.

For West Hall, Colby Yates added three wins to his career total and stands just five wins shy of 200.

Nick Quinn (130), Zack Agerton (135) and Beau Dehass (152) each finished the day with three wins for North Hall.

The Area 7-AAA Duals concludes with the finals at noon today. If a challenge match for second place is needed it will be at 2 p.m.

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