DULUTH - Parkview gave itself some breathing room at the Class AAAAA traditional state tournament on Friday. With a 9.5-point lead going into the semifinals, the Panthers picked up some big points from six of their seven semifinalists.
Carson Fields (103 pounds), John Puerta (112), Ryan Galloway (119), Ron Lofton (130), Jesse Miller (135) and Connor Dalton (171) all picked up victories to give Parkview a 213.5-134 lead over second-place McEachern.
Collins Hill was in second going into the semifinals with 119 points, but when only one of the Eagles' six semifinalists won to advance to the finals, the Eagles dropped to third with 130 points.
"Now we've distanced ourselves, but I expect Collins Hill to pick up some points in the consolations," Parkview co-head coach Dennis Stromie said. "It's not over. I'll do the math when I get home tonight and see how many points we have to score."
Parkview's six finalists is the most the team has ever had. When the Panthers won their last state championship in 2004, Parkview had five finalists. McEachern has three wrestlers in the finals and all three will face Parkview wrestlers.
"It's so rewarding as coaches to see them advance and all their hard work pay off," Stromie said.
Fields got an 8-5 win in the 103-pound semifinal and will face McEachern's Brandon Westerman. Puerta won at 112 and will face Tyler Floyd from McEachern. Galloway got a big win for Parkview by defeating Collins Hill's Taylor Knapp 11-3. Galloway will face Mill Creek's Bobby Lewis in the 119-pound finals.
Peachtree Ridge's Kendall Albert can defend his state title after advancing to the finals. Albert will take on Bryan Jacotout from Lassiter in the 125-pound finals. Lofton easily won his 130-pound bout to advance to the finals where he will meet McEachern's Raleigh Abbott.
Miller won Parkview's biggest match of the day in the quarterfinals with 2-1 over 2004 state champ Thomas Knapp from Collins Hill. Miller easily won his semifinal match with a first-period pin and will take on North Gwinnett's Travis Sheehy in the 135-pound finals.
Dalton got a second-period pin in the 171-pound weight class to advance to the finals where he will face Andy Olsen from Walton.
Nandor Csonka was the only Parkview wrester to lose in the semis when he was pinned by defending state champion Emeka Abanifi from Kell in 215. Abanifi will face Collins Hill's Leon Delain, the Eagles only winner in the semifinals.
James Boatright from Grayson won 3-2 in the semis and will face Bradley Connor from Starr's Mill in the heavyweight finals.
Brandon Johnson from Buford was the only Gwinnett County wrestler from Class AA to advance to the finals. Johnson will take on David Stanley from Dublin. Kip Thompson from Wesleyan lost in the semis 6-2 to Chad Pair.