Parkview goes for perfect 10 at state wrestling meet

The Parkview wrestling team is used to winning tournaments.

The Panthers have competed in nine tournaments this season and have finished No. 1 in all nine.

This weekend they can make it a perfect 10 as they compete in the Class AAAAA traditional state tournament, which begins today at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

The Panthers can continue the recent success of Gwinnett County teams at the traditional state meet with another title.

A Gwinnett County team has taken home the championship three of the last four seasons with Collins Hill winning it in 2003 and 2005 and Parkview in 2004. Parkview is coming off of a state dual championship last month and with a traditional state title, Parkview would join Collins Hill as the only other team to pull off the sweep.

"We've won every tournament we've competed in and anything less than first will be a disappointment," Parkview co-head coach Tom Beuglas said.

It won't be easy for the Panthers as Parkview will get strong competition from Collins Hill, and Cobb County powers McEachern and Walton.

"Even though they are our rival, I would much rather see Collins Hill win it than a team outside of Gwinnett," Beuglas said.

Parkview qualified 13 of its 14 wrestlers, but bad draws for three wrestlers could hurt Parkview's chance at a state championship.

The toughest draw is in the 135-pound bracket where Jesse Miller will face Collins Hill's Thomas Knapp in the quarterfinals. Both were area champs last week and Knapp placed second in the state last year, while Miller was third.

The Panthers also have tough draws at 103 with four of the top five wrestlers in the state on Carson Fields' side of the bracket. Josh Matlack will face tough competition in the early rounds of the 145-pound bracket.

"Some of our kids are going to have to pull some upsets off to medal, but that's where you get your points," Beuglas said.

One bonus for the Panthers is 130-pound wrestler Ron Lofton will be back after forfeiting the area finals due to illness. Ryan Galloway (119) is also expected to be back at full strength after forfeiting in the area finals due to injury.

With the finals being close to home, winning a state title in their own backyard would cap a perfect season for the Panthers.

"With it in the arena, we really want to win this one bad," Beuglas said. "The big thing for us is we want to be the first ones to win it at the arena."