013019_MNS_GOTW_Woodward_Wrestling group

Woodward Academy’s wrestling team celebrates winning the state Class AAAA crown at the state duals at the Macon Centreplex Jan. 17 through 19.

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) held its Team Dual Wrestling State Championships at the Macon Centreplex from Jan. 17 through 19, with several local teams finding success at the event.

College Park’s Woodward Academy reached the pinnacle by bringing home the Class AAAA title for the first time in program history. The War Eagles started the event Jan. 18 with a 59-15 victory over Madison County in the first round. Woodward proceeded to defeat Cartersville 56-18 in the quarterfinals.

The War Eagles concluded the day with a matchup against West Laurens in the semifinals. After trailing 24-6, Woodward won six of the last seven matches, including a pin by Malachi Wiley, to secure the 39-25 victory. The next day, the War Eagles defeated Gilmer 37-33 in the state final, which included another pin victory by Wiley, to bring home the state title.

“It was a team effort,” Woodward head coach Jeff Ragan said. “Just great seeing all our boys stepping up in big matches to help us secure the dual meet win.”

Roswell’s Blessed Trinity was also in the Class AAAA competition. The Titans won their first-round match against Ridgeland 51-18 but fell in their quarterfinals contest to West Laurens 41-40 later in the day. Blessed Trinity rebounded with a 43-27 victory over Cartersville in the consolation bracket but saw its run in the event end the next day with a 38-33 loss to Central (Carrollton). Aaron Werkheiser (145 pounds) and Vincent Baker (182) both were undefeated during the tournament, going 5-0 in their individual matches.

“I really thought this was the best team performance that we have had all season,” Titans head coach Richard Braden said. “Our wrestlers picked the right time to wrestle their best this season.”

Peachtree Corners’ Wesleyan earned the third seed in the Class A competition and received a first-round bye. The Wolves proceeded to win their quarterfinals’ match against Mount de Sales 49-25. Wesleyan dropped its next match to Trion 44-24 and entered the consolation bracket. The Wolves concluded the competition with a 40-33 defeat to Mount Pisgah Christian. Harrison Dearth and Eric Berry were undefeated for Wesleyan in their individual matches.

“Our team came out strong and wrestled two great dual meets to begin the tournament,” Wesleyan head coach Brian St. James said. “Ultimately, we made it to the final six which I think is a great accomplishment for our very young group of guys.”

Johns Creek’s Mount Pisgah won its first-round match against Chattahoochee County but dropped its quarterfinals contest against Turner County 41-30. The Patriots rebounded in the consolation bracket with wins over Landmark Christian (56-24), Mount Zion (42-36) and Wesleyan (40-33) before dropping their third-place match to Turner County 42-30 to finish fourth.

Sandy Springs’ Riverwood qualified for the Class AAAAA competition. The Raiders dropped their first-round match 76-6 to Veterans and entered the consolation bracket. Riverwood’s run in the event concluded with a 48-25 defeat to Starr’s Mill.

Milton’s Cambridge was in the Class AAAAAA competition and won its first-round match against 39-21 over Lanier. The Bears dropped their quarterfinals contest to Alexander 46-24. Cambridge concluded the competition with a 36-25 loss to Brunswick.

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