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Top 4 seeds reach Area 8-AAA semifinals
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WATKINSVILLE — Every time North Hall and Chestatee wrestle, someone gets the chance to be the hero. On Friday in the Area 8-AAA Duals at Oconee County High, Trojans 160-pound senior Cody Wilsdon was the one that saved the day.

As the quarterfinal match between these two teams went down to the final weight class, it was Wilsdon who pulled out the pin in the second period against Chestatee’s Jay Lyles to carry the match 36-31. With the win, the fourth-seeded Trojans earned a spot in today’s semifinals against top-seeded Oconee County at 9 a.m. in Watkinsville.

“I don’t know if we’re lucky or good, but we won,” North Hall coach Jay Hargis said. “Chestatee loaded up and came at us hard.”

The quarterfinals had no real surprises as each of the top four seeds advanced to the semifinals. In the other semifinal, second-seeded White County will face No. 3 Lumpkin County.

“There’s been a lot of exciting matches here, which is great for our sport,” Lumpkin County coach Brian Matthews said.

The top two finishers will earn a spot in the state duals on Jan. 14-15 at the Macon Centreplex.

North Hall had an early leg up with a one-point win from senior Shane Doster (171) and a win from Lee Sisson at 189, who dropped his battle earlier in the week against the War Eagles.

Along with those two, North Hall’s Tyler Kratzer had a key pin for six points at 130.

In Wilsdon’s match it was as even as it could be. In the first period, he staved off a pin by twisting to keep his shoulders off the mat. To earn the pin, Wilsdon used a double leg lock to turn his opponent.

“Winning this match was a big deal,” Wilsdon said. “North Hall hasn’t made the semifinals here at area in a long time until now.”

Lumpkin County earned a narrow 36-34 victory in its quarterfinal match against West Hall, but was able to forfeit its final two weight classes to save some strength for the semifinals today. Robert Harris (125), Dillon Grizzle (140) and Edgar Rojas (171) earned key wins for the Indians. Matthews liked the fact that with a first-round bye, they had extra time to scout future opponents.

He also tinkered with the roster to let wrestlers go down in weight.

Meanwhile, White County cranked out a 57-12 win against Franklin County in the quarterfinals. The Warriors finished the match with nine pins, including solid efforts from Anthony Gallimore (112), Dylan Forrester (125), Will London (145), Dallas Dutter (160) and Bradley McDougald (171).

The Warriors defeated Lumpkin County 61-15 earlier this season, but White County coach Tim Bragg expects a much tighter battle this time around.

Oconee County advanced to the semifinals with a 54-27 win against Monroe Area. Leading the Warriors was undersized 223-pound heavyweight Chris Allen who earned six points with a pin.

Oconee County coach Jimmy Herring was thrilled with the first-round action and expects it to be a battle between the four semifinalists for the coveted two spots to Macon.

“It’s been a great tournament, which is great for the fans,” Herring said.

The finals will take place following the completion of all the consolation matches.

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