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Wrestling: West, South finish in top eight at state duals
West Forsyth's wrestling team poses for a photo after finishing tied for fifth at the GHSA state duals in Macon.

West Forsyth’s wrestling team entered the state duals in Macon in a less-than-ideal situation.

Throughout the weekend, the Wolverines were dealt a bad hand, missing a few wrestlers at various points due to illnesses. Ultimately, though, West wrestled well during its trip to Macon to tie for fifth overall in Class 7A, losing in the consolation semifinals to Brookwood.

In a rematch of the Region 5-7A duals championship match, South Forsyth fell to West in the consolation bracket’s quarterfinal round. The War Eagles finished their weekend performance in the top eight.

“I bumped guys around all weekend,” West coach Evan Goff said. “I wrestled some guys up. We kind of have a bug going through the team. Everybody's kind of congested. It's just this time of year. In an important tournament, you have to get through all that. I'm just super proud of the guys.”

West began its bracket with a 45-21 win over East Coweta, with the Wolverines earning 30 straight points with a forfeit at 285 pounds and pins from Matt Jacobs (220), DJ Little (106), Noah Amick (113) and Christian Walker (120). 

After a 49-23 loss to Collins Hill in the following round, West earned a 50-27 victory over Newnan in the consolation bracket before facing off with South on Friday night. With West missing its wrestlers at 106 and 160, Goff had to make some changes to the lineup and needed some good performances.

Troy Rickert, who lost his match against South’s Matthew Meersman at region duals, faced off with him again at 152 and earned a win by decision. That allowed Goff for forfeit at 160 and opened the door for Creston Lorenzo to seal a 36-27 victory with a pin during the final bout at 170.

The Wolverines lost to Brookwood 47-23 to end their run, with the Broncos scoring scoring 22 straight points to close it out. Brookwood utilized three previous state finishers and took advantage of the Wolverines’ forfeit at 160 for the victory.

“The score doesn’t quite show how close that match was,” Goff said.

South lost to Cherokee 50-21 in its first matchup of the weekend, but bounced back in the consolation bracket with a 33-27 victory over North Paulding. Pins from Rowan Aragon (182), Luis Gonzalez (195) and Trevor Patrick (22) helped South pull away late, and head coach Josh Stephen was pleased to see progress from multiple wrestlers.

“Matthew (Meersman) would have gotten pinned by (North Paulding’s Aaron Allen) last year,” South coach Josh Stephen said. “He pretty much dominated that match for us to win, so it's good for him personally and for the team.”

South defeated McEachern 46-22 in the next round before losing to West to end their run. Still, with the exception of the War Eagles’ opening match against Cherokee, Stephen was proud of the fight his squad displayed.

“Really, the rest of the time, I felt like we wrestled pretty good,” Stephen said. “Top eight is good, it's a stepping stone, but we're setting higher expectations of where we're trying to be. There's still a lot we've got to work on. Good effort, though: The kids put everything they had into it.”