MADISON - The Wesleyan wrestlers already have one state championship this year. Eleven will have a chance to pick up another title next week after qualifying for the traditional state meet at the area 3-AA championship on Saturday at Morgan County High School.
With three champions, five runner-up finishes and three more third places finishes, Wesleyan won the area title with 260.5 points, 60 ahead of Lovett. It was the team's first- ever traditional area title.
Buford took third place in the team competition with three winners, a runner-up and three fourth place finishes. Greater Atlanta Christian finished eighth.
The team win plus the 11 qualifiers - a school record - had Wesleyan coach Jeff Bedard happy after the meet.
"It feels good," he said. "It feels real good."
Freshman T.J. Mitchell (103 pounds) and seniors Sam Ball (119) and Edward Van Winkle (285) all won titles for Wesleyan.
The runners-ups were seniors Brendan Patterson (140), Kip Thompson (135) and Chris Alexander (171) and sophomores Colin Genthert (145) and Michael Douglas (189).
All the runner-up finishes though took away a little of Bedard's pleasure.
"It's something we need to work on and fix," said Bedard. "We just got some kids not listening to the coaches."
One of the second-place finishes, though,
wasn't the wrestler's fault, Bedard said. He called Thompson's match a 'heartbreaker' and was upset with the officiating in the match.
"He outworked that kid," Bedard said adding Thompson took 16 shots while the opponent stalled. "He did everything he could."
But the official would not call a stall, Bedard said, and that left the coach upset.
Juniors Josh Jeng (125) and David Kaszycki (160) and senior Bobby Boylston (152) rounded out the Wesleyan qualifiers, placing third.
Buford will also send a school record of qualifiers to the state meet. The wolves qualified seven wrestlers, including all five of the team's starting seniors.
The record number of qualifiers is the second record for the team this season. Buford already set a school record in duals wins with 31.
Qualifying seven of the 10 Wolves that came plus finishing third in one of the toughest area's in AA, left coach Christian Hunnicutt happy after the meet.
"It was a very good day," he said.
The three Buford champions were seniors Nick Harford (140), B.J. Johnson (160) and Chris Harford (171).
Sophomore Scottie Forrester (152) placed second and the three fourth-place finishers were junior Tia Forrester (103) and seniors Daniel Stephens (145) and Brian Auten (215).
All the experience has Hunnicutt expecting a good meet next weekend.
"(The seven) are wrestling real well right now," he said.
Four GAC wrestlers qualified for the state meet, but one of the biggest surprises for the Spartans was the one that didn't.
Senior Mason Deal, who placed at the state meet last season, finished fifth in the 130-pound weight class and will be an alternate next week and only wrestle if there is an injury.
"He'd be on top of the list (of wrestlers) to make it," GAC coach Jeff Harsh said. "I couldn't ask for any more of a wrestler. It was the biggest disappointment that he didn't make it."
The four Spartan wrestlers that did qualify all placed third in their respective weight classes.
Sophomores Locke Hoover (103) and Travis Elrod (112) qualified as well as junior Alex Davis (135) and senior Sean Chappell (285).