If it all shapes up the way Collins Hill coach Cliff Ramos hopes it does, two of the Southeast's top wrestling programs will meet today in the finals of the Kyle Maynard Duals.
The host Eagles, ranked No. 21 in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News, and No. 6 Brandon, Fla., are on opposite sides of the bracket for the tournament. A matchup would be unlike any other in Georgia wrestling.
"If things play out the way we hope we'll see them in the finals," Ramos said. "It's going to be a really neat thing for Georgia, I think. If that happens, it will be the biggest dual there's ever been in Georgia. A lot of interest, a very big crowd."
Collins Hill and Brandon have been two of the top programs in their states in recent years. The Eagles are the two-time defending Class AAAAA state champions and have won four traditional titles this decade. They have placed in the top three of the state tournament the last 10 years, a feat that has not been accomplished by any Georgia team in any sport.
Brandon's success has been noted on a much larger scale with The Streak. From 1973 to 2008 Brandon never lost a dual meet and accumulated two national records -- longest winning streak (459) and unbeaten streak (468). The Streak was popularized and gained national attention by a documentary aired by ESPN. It just adds to the other astonishing numbers like its current nine-year run as state champions, 20 team titles and 77 state champions.
"We've put on some impressive numbers up with The Streak and being on ESPN, so there's good reason to be in awe, but Collins Hill has a good team, too," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "We've got a lot of reasons to draw attention, but Collins Hill is not a shabby program."
Brandon's streak was snapped in January 2008, but the Florida power has started a new one and is up to 47 victories. The team has four returning state champions off last year's squad in Rossi Bruno (119 pounds), Clark Glass (145), Joe Cozart (152) and Mike Ettore (189). All four are nationally ranked, but Brandon has other wrestlers that are nationally ranked that did not win state last season.
Collins Hill's top wrestlers are Joel Smith (140), T.J. Mitchell (125) and C.J. Collins (215). All three have signed with college programs.
"I hope we can make it a good show. They're a big favorite, but we're OK with that," Ramos said.
The tournament is named after former Collins Hill wrestler Kyle Maynard, a 2004 grad who was born a congenital amputee and became a successful wrestler.
The tournament will feature the host Eagles, Norcross, Tucker, Hephzibah, Parkview, Grayson, Kennesaw Mountain, Henry County, Bremen, Loganville, Ola, Tennessee powers Father Ryan and Baylor and Brandon.