The Mustangs beat the Hawks 201-200 and qualified nine wrestlers into next weekend’s Class AAAAAA sectional meet, which they will host.
“My guys rose to the challenge,” said Kennesaw Mountain coach Roberto Rivera, who guided his team to its second region traditional championship and first since 2009.
The Mustangs also won the region duals in January, marking the second time they’ve won both championships in the same season.
“We didn’t worry about what we can’t control,” Rivera added. “I talked to our guys going into the final round, after we heard the scores, and told them about pulling their weight, and guys took care of business. I’m super proud of the kids.”
Wil Clavecilla (106 pounds), Augusto Paes (138) and Justan Rivera (182) all won individual championships for Kennesaw Mountain.
Clavecilla lost to Harrison’s Aaron Powell by one point at the Cobb County Invitational, but he rebounded with a 6-3 victory for his first region championship.
Paes topped returning champ McEachern’s Kyle Munn 7-1 for his first region title, and Justan Rivera pinned Harrison’s Jonathan Grimes in 2 minutes, 38 seconds.
Kennesaw Mountain trailed McEachern by 7.5 points at the conclusion of the championship semifinals and was one of two teams — along with McEachern — within 1.5 points of Hillgrove entering the championship and consolation finals.
McEachern crowned Sharrod Pittman as the champion at 285, but it failed to hold on to its early lead, dropping down to fourth place with 188.5 points. The Indians collected four runner-up finishes and joined Kennesaw Mountain in qualifying nine for sectionals.
Hillgrove, which led Kennesaw Mountain and McEachern entering the final round, saw Carlin Powell (113) and Cameron Westerman (120) win titles. The Hawks also had three runner-up wrestlers and advanced nine in all.
Marietta (190.5) jumped from fifth into third after the semifinals as Brad King (126), Lawton Ward (170) and Brandon Hill (220) won their respective weight classes. The Blue Devils also picked up four third-place finishes and qualified 10 wrestlers into the sectional.
The top four finishers from each weight class advanced to the sectional.
Campbell (166.5), Harrison (157.5), North Cobb (38), South Cobb (37) and Pebblebrook (25) rounded out the scoring.
Carlin Powell, a freshman, pinned Harrison’s Tate Wells in 1:45.
“It feels good, and I’m ready to move on and place at sectionals,” Powell said. “After that, I’m hoping for state, so this is a good start.”
Westerman won his third region championship with a 7-0 decision over North Cobb’s James Allen.
“It feels amazing to be Hillgrove’s first three-time region champ,” Westerman said. “The sectionals is going to be a tough tournament. I’ll have to use the best of my ability to try and get to state and reach my goal of placing at state.”
After consecutive losses in the past two region championships, Pittman, a senior, finally broke through with an 8-3 win over Hillgrove’s Jaylen Reid.
“All of the perseverance has paid off,” Pittman said. “This feels amazing. I’ve had a lot of good opponents to go through over the years, and it’s good to finally be at the top.”
King scored a semifinal upset over top-seeded Grant Curry of Hillgrove and beat the No. 2 seed, McEachern’s Alex Noble, 12-5 in the final to win his first region title, as did Hill, who defeated Hillgrove’s Peyton Hewitt 4-2.
Ward didn’t show any after effects from an illness that forced him to miss the Cobb County Invitational. The junior returned to win his third region championship after downing Kennesaw Mountain’s Rene Gutierrez, a returning champion, 5-3.
“I had the flu at Cobb County, and I wanted to wrestle, but my dad pulled me out to make sure I’d be healthy for this,” Ward said. “I get this medal, but it goes to my team. I’m proud to represent Marietta and get the gold.”
Campbell, which qualified six wrestlers for the sectional, was also perfect in its finals, going 3-for-3 with Jamez Taylor (132), Jeremie Tuzizila (145) and Charles Robinson (160) all winning their first titles.
Taylor beat last year’s 138-pound champion, McEachern’s Kyle Munn, 7-1, while Tuzizila bested Kennesaw Mountain’s Henrio Thelemaque 6-3. Robinson rallied to down Patrick Mannella 9-5.
“It’s been such an amazing senior season for me that I can’t speak,” said Tuzizila, who also won the MTXE Invitational at Lassiter and the Cobb County Invitational. “I just thank God for putting me here with so many great coaches and family and teammates.”
Harrison had six wrestlers in the finals, but only won championships with Anthony Fiacco (132) and Dylan Porter (195). Fiacco, a senior, won his third straight region title, 12-5 over Hillgrove’s Garrett Johnson. Porter repeated by topping McEachern’s Christian Wade 5-3 in overtime.