The highly-anticipated Bremen-Jefferson state finals encounter will go down today in Macon after both prep wrestling powerhouses forged through the first two rounds of the GHSA State Duals, pitting the old Class A rivals against one another again for the top spot in Class AA this go-around.
Bremen reached the finals with a 48-30 opening-round victory against Fitzgerald and then knocked off Social Circle in the semifinals on Friday evening in a 48-14 match to reach today’s finals, slated for a 3 p.m. start at the Macon Centreplex. The Dragons dispatched of Calhoun, 54-18, in the quarterfinal round and then downed Monticello — the Area 2-AA runner-up — in the semifinals in a 41-36 affair.
Blue Devil coach Tony Armas said it is somewhat tough to gauge how his squad matches up with Jefferson since neither team really showed its hand on Friday.
“Both of us wrestled a lot of backups in some matches [Friday], so we really didn’t get a good feel for them. I think we have a chance to be successful, but it just depends on whether we can eliminate giving up big bonus points and that sort of thing and win the tight matches,” Armas said.
And while the meeting with Jefferson stirs up some chatter about past years and past battles between the programs, Armas said what really is fueling his team is a desire to bounce back from a third-place showing last year in the duals.
“I just think they’re excited about having the chance to win a state title after what happened last year. They sort of want to redeem themselves from last year, also,” Armas said.
The Mt. Zion High School wrestling team had a strong opening-day performance, as well, on the Class A landscape, taking down Turner County in a 51-22 quarterfinal bout before dropping a 49-15 decision to top-seeded and reigning state co-champion Holy Innocents’ in the semifinals.
Eagle coach Michael Cleek said his squad started a little sluggish against Turner County, but really got it going when it mattered most on Friday.
“We started slow and finished strong. I’m real proud of the boys. The good news [against Holy Innocents’] was we only had two kids pinned and off their state championship team, we wrestled every one of their kids for three periods,” Cleek said. “We were fighting right until the end. I was real proud of my kids. We had a real good day of wrestling.”
The Eagles are now fighting to earn a third-place finish and face Eagles Landing Christian Academy in the consolation semifinals today at 11 a.m. The winner of that match will meet the Commerce/Turner County winner in the third/fourth-place match this afternoon.
The Eagles took third place in each of Cleek’s first two years at Mt. Zion in the duals, and he said it would be huge for this current group to reach that mark today.
“It would again show that we’ve come out of one of those valleys that I talked about. We’ve got a tough match in the morning. [ELCA] was the one seed out of their area and they’ve got a good bunch of kids. We’re just going to go out and try to wrestle them as hard as we wrestled [Friday] and see how it turns out,” Cleek said.
The Carrollton High School wrestling team split a pair of matches on Friday, defeating Locust Grove, 42-27, in the morning quarterfinals before dropping a 44-27 bout with defending state champion Gilmer in the semifinals.
The Trojans now fall into the consolation semifinals, where they will meet up with Marist for the right to move on and face the West Laurens/Locust Grove winner in the third/fourth-place match.
Gilmer and Alexander are in the AAAA finals.
Carrollton coach Ryan Wilman could not be reached for comment as of press time Friday evening.