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Parkview, Collins Hill favorites at state duals again

If recent history continues at the Class AAAAA state duals, it will be another all-Gwinnett final.

For the last three years Parkview and Collins Hill have battled it out in the dual state championship and this year it doesn't look to be any different.

Parkview, the defending dual state champion, is ranked No. 1 in the state, while Collins Hill, last year's state runner-up, is third in the rankings heading into today's state duals at the Macon

Centreplex.

Prior to Collins Hill and Parkview battling it out in the finals, both were runner-ups in 2002 and 2003, respectively, to McEachern. So each year of the dual state championship since 2002, there has been at least one Gwinnett team in the finals.

"McEachern is the one everyone thought would be the big one this year, but Collins Hill has beaten them and Walton is right up there," Parkview co-head coach Dennis Stromie said. "It's going to be interesting."

Parkview (17-0) opens the tournament with sixth-ranked Harrison and then would face the winner of the Groves-Union Grove match. With a win there, the Panthers would likely face fourth-ranked Walton in the semifinals.

"We just have to get past them to get to the finals," Stromie said. "It could take a toll on us, having three tough matches in a row."

Ryan Galloway (130), Jesse Miller (145), Carson Fields (125), Connor Dalton (171), Chad Mitchell (119), Josh Matlack (160) and Nandor Csonka (215) have all been a big part of the Panthers' success this season.

Collins Hill has a slightly easier path to the semifinals. The Eagles open with 10th-ranked Centennial, which the Eagles beat 47-3 earlier this season. Collins Hill coach Cliff Ramos pointed out that nine of the matches were really close so the Eagles cannot take Centennial lightly.

With a win, Collins Hill would face the winner of the Valdosta-Paulding County match.

Collins Hill likely will face No. 2 McEachern in the semifinals. The Eagles won that matchup at the beginning of the season 31-30, but some key McEachern wrestlers were out of the lineup.

"We're the underdog against McEachern," Ramos said. "It's not undoable, but we're definitely the underdog."

Collins Hill is 34-1 in duals this season, which also includes duals won by the junior varsity against varsity teams, with its only loss coming to a Tennessee school.

Twelve of Collins Hill's 14 starters have won 20 or more matches this season led by Jacob Hale (140), Josh Hertica (145), Taylor Knapp (135), Joel Smith (130), Nick Smith (171), Gary Tiller (160) and Allen Willard (112).

"We've been overachieving most of the year and I can't ask any more from them," Ramos said.

Brookwood (16-1) knocked off Grayson in the Area 8 duals to make its second strip to state in three years, but the Broncos will face title contender McEachern in the first round.

"It's a tough task for our kids, but I think they are ready for it," Brookwood coach Chris Cicora said. "They're tough all the way down the lineup, but I think we'll be ready for them."

Austin Collins (160), Arnulfo Vega (112), John Matyac (140), Chris Maclafferty (145), Jabril Hill (215), Andrew Pace (135) and Trevor Patrick (152) have been keys to Brookwood's success this season and will need to have a good weekend to duplicate the team's effort the last time in Macon when it placed fourth.

It's the third straight year Wesleyan has qualified for state duals, placing fourth two years ago and fifth last year.

This year, the No. 2 Wolves are area champs and get a tough first round matchup with Dublin in the Class AA duals.

"There's a lot of people that think Dublin will beat us and hopefully we'll prove them wrong," Wesleyan coach Jeff Bedard said.

Dublin is ranked fifth in the state, but lost to Toombs County is last week's area finals.

Sam Ball (119), Bobby Boylston (152), T.J. Mitchell (103), Kelby Smith (215), Brendan Patterson (135) and Kip Thompson (140) have all been a big part of Wesleyan's success this season with at least 29 wins each.

The Wolves have compiled a 25-1 record with their only loss coming to No. 1 ranked LaFayette 31-30.

If Wesleyan can get past Dublin and the winner of the Cook-Sonoraville matchup it could set up a rematch with LaFayette.

"If we wrestle the way we have been all year, I like our chances a lot," Bedard said.