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Wrestling: West Forsyth rolls to team win in traditional meet
Ethan Rickert
West Forsyth's Ethan Rickert, left, wrestles North Forsyth's Tate Bissell on Saturday during his 8-5 win in the 152-pound championship match. - photo by David Roberts

Kevin Contardi says it with confidence.

Region 5-7A is one of the best regions for wrestling in the state of Georgia.

"I think West and North proved that by going down there and having a great state tournament with the duals," Contardi said. "So many of us had tight duals, and they came out on top. To be here in second in one of the toughest regions in the state, I'm pretty proud of the guys for doing that."

The Longhorns made up the most ground Saturday in the Region 5-7A traditional tournament, placing second a year after a last-place finish at the tournament.

West Forsyth rolled to a team victory with 219 points, 33 points in front of Lambert.

The Wolverines qualified a tournament-high 13 wrestlers for next weekend's sectionals at South Forsyth, and four wrestlers captured an individual region championship.

Noah Amick, who is in just his second year wrestling, picked up pair of pins in the 106-pound weight class, including one in the second period of his championship bout with Forsyth Central's Tyson Upchurch. 

Ethan Rickert (152) outlasted North Forsyth's Tate Bissell in an 8-5 decision, Daba Fofana (182) won 6-3 over Forsyth Central's Luis Mier and Dylan Fairchild (285) pinned Forsyth Central's Darius Green to win his third-straight individual region championship and improve his season record to 38-0.

The match was Fairchild's only bout of the day. He had a first-round bye, then won by default after a forfeit in the second round.

"We're going to celebrate this. It's an awesome feat, with the team that we've had and the run that we had at state duals," Goff said. "I'm not saying it was expected, but it's certainly something we felt was ours, and we wanted to get it done. Now we've got to finish the drill." 

Mason McClung
Lambert's Mason McClung, bottom, tries to lift South Forsyth's Juan Cruz on Friday during McClung's 5-0 win in the 113-pound championship round. - photo by David Roberts
Lambert qualified 11 wrestlers for sectionals, led by Mason McClung (113), Davis Dobbs (120) and Lucas Teillon (145), who each captured individual region championships.

"They've improved so much this year," Contardi said. "At first, these weekends were like, 'Hey, you guys have really improved, really improved, really improved.' After a while it was like, we know we've improved — let's start setting some expectations here to what we can do and try to really come out and be one of the best teams that we've ever had in the school."

Forsyth Central also had three region champions, including an 8-0 major decision from Avery Krippner (170), who has just six losses this season. Mikel Stowers (138) also shut out his opponent in the final round, 10-0, after surviving on a 9-8 decision against Lambert's Holden Teillon in the second round. Branden Redecker (195) secured the final region champion title for the Bulldogs advancing on a back-and-forth, 6-3 decision over North Forsyth's Mason Butcher. 

Bentley Wheeler (160) scored a quick pin against Milton's Josh Golloher, improving his season record to an impressive 36-2. Dylan Lyerly (220) made it two individual championships for the Raiders when he scored a 3-2 decision over Lambert's Thomas Dossett.

South Forsyth had back-to-back wins in the middle of the championship round, when Sai Gudipati (126) pinned West Forsyth's Cam Westray, then AJ Riner followed with a 12-2 major decision against Forsyth Central's RJ Colon.

"We've built programs in this region that are as good as, if not better than, most anywhere in our state," Goff said. "We certainly haven't given anybody any reason to leave. Everybody should stay in this county and wrestle. I think it's a testament to the coaches in this region, too. You know, guys like Josh Stephen and Travis Jarrard and Rusty (Transue) and Kevin (Contardi). Everybody's historically done well where they've been and coached up great teams. I think we've got some very good coaches and some professionalism in this region." 

The top four finishes from each weight class advance to next weekend's sectionals, with a chance to move on to the GHSA traditional state championships Feb. 13-15.

"It's great to have this, but if we go to state and everybody doesn't wrestle very well, or if you don't get many there, you don't score a lot of team points," Goff said. "Ultimately, I want the program to get to the point where these things are awesome, but we want to be competing for state titles every year. Winning region is part of it, but we want to be knocking off ones and twos at state every time."

Region 5-7A Traditional Tournament:

1. West Forsyth 219

2. Lambert 186

3. North Forsyth 180.5

4. Forsyth Central 169

5. South Forsyth 160

6. Milton 85

106: Noah Amick (West Forsyth) over Tyson Upchurch (Forsyth Central), Fall 3:28

113: Mason McClung (Lambert) over Juan Cruz (South Forsyth), Decision 5-0

120: Davis Dobbs (Lambert) over Andrew Meersman (South Forsyth), Major Decision 10-1

126: Sai Gudipati (South Forsyth) over Cam Westray (West Forsyth), Fall 3:09

132: AJ Riner (South Forsyth) over RJ Colon (Forsyth Central), Major Decision 12-2

138: Mikel Stowers (Forsyth Central) over Adrian Gutierrez (South Forsyth), Major Decision 10-0

145: Lucas Teillon (Lambert) over Garrett Krsul (Milton), Fall 5:00

152: Ethan Rickert (West Forsyth) over Tate Bissell (North Forsyth), Decision 8-5

160: Bentley Wheeler (North Forsyth) over Josh Golloher (Milton), Fall 0:56

170: Avery Krippner (Forsyth Central) over Cole Williams (South Forsyth), Major Decision 8-0

182: Daba Fofana (West Forsyth) over Lucas Mier (Forsyth Central), Decision 6-3

195: Branden Redecker (Forsyth Central) over Mason Butcher (North Forsyth), Decision 6-3

220: Dylan Lyerly (North Forsyth) over Thomas Dossett (Lambert), Decision 3-2

285: Dylan Fairchild (West Forsyth) over Darius Green (Forsyth Central), Fall 2:52

Sectional Qualifiers:

106: Noah Amick, West Forsyth; Tyson Upchurch, Forsyth Central; Michael Gryder, North Forsyth; Drew Wentworth, Lambert.

113: Mason McClung, Lambert; Juan Cruz, South Forsyth; Chase Murray, West Forsyth; Stephen Solley, Milton.

120: Davis Dobbs, Lambert; Andrew Meersman, South Forsyth; DJ Little, West Forsyth; Preston Ostrowski, Forsyth Central.

126: Sai Gudipati, South Forsyth; Cam Westray, West Forsyth; Austin Monie, Lambert; Zander McBeth, North Forsyth.

132: AJ Riner, South Forsyth; RJ Colon, Forsyth Central; Dylan Lobdell, Lambert; Christian Walker, West Forsyth.

138: Mikel Stowers, Forsyth Central; Adrian Gutierrez, South Forsyth; Holden Teillon, Lambert; Brody Knapp, West Forsyth.

145: Lucas Teillon, Lambert; Garrett Krsul, Milton; Cale Bissell, North Forsyth; Ryan Fogarty, South Forsyth.

152: Ethan Rickert, West Forsyth; Tate Bissell, North Forsyth; Addison Poor, Lambert; Bryce Samuels, Milton. 

160: Bentley Wheeler, North Forsyth; Josh Golloher, Milton; Dylan Monahan, Lambert; Creston Lorenzo, West Forsyth.

170: Avery Krippner, Forsyth Central; Cole Williams, South Forsyth; Lance Corcimiglia, West Forsyth; Tristan Graham, North Forsyth.

182: Daba Fofana, West Forsyth; Luis Mier, Forsyth Central; Nick Ramsayer, South Forsyth; Victory Reyes, North Forsyth.

195: Branden Redecker, Forsyth Central; Mason Butcher, North Forsyth; Jay Helstone, West Forsyth; Nate Powell, Lambert.

220: Dylan Lyerly, North Forsyth; Thomas Dossett, Lambert; Spencer Bovenizer, West Forsyth; AJ Crawford, Milton.

285: Dylan Fairchild, West Forsyth; Darius Green, Forsyth Central; Eli Edwards, North Forsyth; Rowan Aragon, South Forsyth.