The tournament’s opening day begins at 5 p.m., with the second day beginning Saturday at 9 a.m.
Allatoona will also look to earn its first duals championship when it travels to Heritage-Catoosa today to compete in the Region 7AAA tournament, while the county’s Class A programs will head to Holy Innocents’ for the Area 3A meet.
The common goal for all teams is a top-two finish, which will assure them a spot in next week’s state championships at the Macon Centreplex.
Each of this weekend’s tournaments feature a double-elimination bracket with the runner-up challenging the third-place team, if necessary, in a battle for “true second” and the right to go to Macon.
Pope and Alexander, the respective No. 1 seeds from the northern and southern subregions, received first-round byes in the 14-team 5AAAA field. Alexander lost to the Greyhounds in last year’s region duals, but the Cougars ultimately finished as the state runner-up.
Pope, meanwhile, finished third in the Class AAAA state duals.
“I feel good about the team,” said Pope coach Jim Haskin, who has guided the Greyhounds to a 20-1 dual record. “The progression of our young guys has been outstanding, while our older guys continue to get better. We’re ready to go.”
Kell, which placed third at last year’s region tournament, will face Chapel Hill in today’s first round. The Longhorns are in the bottom half of one side of the bracket with Alexander, and would face the Cougars in the semifinals should the teams happen to meet.
Meanwhile, Sprayberry, which finished fourth last year, will face New Manchester in the first round. The Yellow Jackets are in the top half of the bracket with Pope and could face the Greyhounds in the semifinals.
“We’re banged-up bad and missing five starters, which is a third of our lineup,” Sprayberry coach Gary DeHaven said. “We’re holding guys out to get ready for that run later in the year with county and traditional meets. We’re just trying to get kids well, so we’ll go out there and do what we can.”
Allatoona is the No. 6 seed in its 12-team Region 7AAA championship, which begins today at 4:30 p.m. before concluding Saturday.
Gilmer and Heritage-Catoosa, who finished 1-2 in last year’s Class AAA state meet, were seeded in the same order for the region meet. Dalton and Ringgold grabbed the other top seeds, with the top four seeds all receiving first-round byes.
Allatoona, which faces LaFayette in the first round, will battle Heritage in the quarterfinals if it advances.
“This is a brutal region,” Allatoona coach Joe Lanier said. “This is one of those things where it will be difficult to finish in the top two. We have a strong team, if everybody wrestles well, and my expectation is that we’re going to go up there and surprise some folks.”
Walker will open the first round of the Area 3A tournament against Mount Paran Christian, while Whitefield Academy earned a bye into the quarterfinals, where it will face St. Francis.
The Walker-Mount Paran will take on top-seeded Holy Innocents’, which finished fourth in the state last year, in the quarters. Gordon Lee, last year’s third-place team at the state meet, is the No. 2 seed at the area tournament.
“The seeding for our team doesn’t reflect how our team has been doing,” Walker coach Brandon Phillips said. “We have eight guys who can all win, so we’re a very good team. If six or seven of those guys can all get pins, then we have a good chance.”