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2017-18 WRESTLING PREVIEW: preview capsules
North Forsyth wrestler Cole Tenety celebrates after pinning his opponent at the GHSA Team Dual Wrestling Championships on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. - photo by Lily McGregor Photography

West Forsyth

Coach: Evan Goff, first season.

Key returners: Cam Westray, So., 113; Adam Galvan, Jr., 138; Troy Rickert, Jr., 145; John Moultrie, Sr., 145; Jack Woodall, Sr., 152; Jackson Wells, Jr., 160; Creston Lorenzo, So., 170.

Key newcomers: Ethan Rickert, Fr., 132; Dylan Fairchild, Fr., 285.

Outlook: Head coach Evan Goff, formerly of Roswell and Colquitt County, gets his first shot at shaping the Wolverines' program, and he'll have a largely new group of wrestlers to mold. West has just two seniors to 16 freshmen, so experience isn't a plus for the program at the moment. Woodall is the lone returning all-county honoree – he made the second team – so if the Wolverines are to make an impact in the area, some new faces will be doing it.

South Forsyth

Coach: Josh Stephens, second season.

Key returners: Ian Hunt, Sr., 182; Charlie Ranta, Sr., 152; James Porter, Sr., 170; A.J. Riner, So., 113; Trevor Porter, Jr., 285.

Key newcomers: Holden Parker, Jr., 132; Zach Moore, Jr., 152; Matthew Meersman, Fr., 145.

Outlook: In his first season at South after winning multiple state titles at Collins Hill, War Eagles head coach Josh Stephens got the War Eagles to believe that they could compete with anybody, and they responded by upsetting North Forsyth's dominance of the county scene by tying the Raiders for first in the traditional area tournament. The War Eagles are stronger, more experienced and aim to be even better in Stephens' second year at South: A team trophy at the state tournament is in sight, they believe.

Pinecrest Academy

Coach: Mark Schmidt, second season.

Key returners: Troy LaPlaca, So., 113; Michael Tropea, Jr., 132; Joe Metz, So., 138; Jimmy Dinsmore, Jr., 145; Tyler Schmidt, So., 152; Nick Miller, Jr., 160.

Key newcomers: Mark Metz, Fr., 106; Alex Massey, Fr., 170; John Paul Rodriquez, So., 160.

Outlook: The Paladins, heading into their third season in program history, expect to keep improving with a solid group of returners. Most notable is sophomore Joe Metz, who finished fifth in the state last year at 113 pounds and makes a four-class leap for this season.

North Forsyth

Coach: Travis Jarrard, 18th season.

Key returners: Walid Abdullahi, Sr., 126/132; Paul Watkins, Jr., 120/126; Tate Bissell, So., 126/132; Cole Tenety, Sr., 138/145; Riley Wheeler, Sr., 145/152; Cedric Touchstone, Sr., 152/160; Conner Carroll, Sr., 160/170; Andy Leggett, Sr., 170/182; Brantley Little, Sr., 182/195; Connor Cross, Sr., 195/220; Cade Jensen, Sr., 220/285.

Key newcomers: Andrew Sexton, So., 152/160; Sam Ridings, So., 195/220; Will Chavarria, Sr., 285.

Outlook: The Raiders saw a new threat to their supremacy in the county last year with the rise of South Forsyth's program under head coach Josh Stephens. North isn't slipping away by any stretch, though: The Raiders return nine wrestlers who made an all-county team last year — including state runner-up Paul Watkins, who earned All-America honors this summer — and look set to equal or best its third-place finish at the state duals.


Coach: Kevin Contardi, ninth season

Key returners: Cole Burke, Sr., 160; Will Kohlins, Sr., 182; Payton Mitchell, Sr., 120; Mikey Miller, Sr., 145.

Key newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: The Longhorns are another county team that is largely reloading, but Lambert does have a few particularly strong individual performers coming back. Cole Burke won an area championship at 152 pounds last year, and Payton Mitchell was named second team all-county at 113 pounds despite dealing with injuries for much of the season. Will Kohlins had a prolific season for the Longhorns' football team in the fall, easily leading the team in tackles for loss, and Contardi will hope he can break out on the mat as well to make up for the graduation of his brother, area champion Eric Kohlins.

Forsyth Central

Coach: Jeremiah Walker, fifth season.

Key returners: Abraham Perez, Jr., 113; Steven Messer, Jr., 120; Keaton Platzke, Jr., 195; Spencer Cummins, Jr., 138; Jake Gardner, Jr., 285.

Key newcomers: Mikel Stowers, Fr., 132; Ronnie Taylor, Fr., 120; Ben Schreiber, Fr., 126; Avery Krippner, Fr., 160.

Outlook: Finishing is of the utmost importance in wrestling -- a late pin can erase an otherwise dominating performance -- and that was Central's undoing on a team-wide scale last season. In the first year in Class 7A, the Bulldogs sent a school-record nine wrestlers to sectionals, but just two of those placed at the state tournament. One of those wrestlers -- junior Abraham Perez, who finished fifth -- is back at the same weight class, and a deep group of juniors helps to offset the Bulldogs' lack of seniors. They hope to get every weight class to sectionals and make a serious run at the state duals tournament.