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No surprise, Eagles champs

SUWANEE - Collins Hill clinched its fifth straight team championship in the Area 7-AAAAA traditional format wrestling meet early Saturday by placing a wrestler in the finals of all but two weight classes.

However, the Eagles still turned in a historic performance by winning 11 individual championships and placing all 14 of their wrestlers in next week's Class AAAAA state sectional meet on their way to the team title with 308.5 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Peachtree Ridge (171) at North Gwinnett.

"That's the most championships we've had in an (area) meet," Collins Hill coach Cliff Ramos said. "It may be the most we've had in almost any tournament, I think. We only lost two matches (Saturday), and the two that lost in the semifinals came back to take third place. So, it was a pretty good tournament."

Technically, there were three losses by Collins Hill wrestlers on the day.

Gary Tiller rested injuries to his knee and shoulder after qualifying for next week's sectionals by forfeiting the 152-pound championship match to North Gwinnett's Carl Rider, making the latter the first Bulldogs freshman ever to win a region title.

However, all 11 of the Eagles' other finalists came out on top as Bazell Partridge (103 pounds), Caleb Sawchuck (112), T.J. Mitchell (119), John Allgood (125), Allen Willard (130), Joel Smith (140), Sam Hoppenbraumer (145), Taylor Knapp (160), Nick Holbert (171), Christopher Collins (215) and Thomas Delain (285) all were victorious.

The most dramatic of those victories came from Hoppenbraumer, who edged Michael Chapman of Peachtree Ridge 7-6 in an emotional title match at 145 pounds.

After getting a takedown to tie the match 5-5 with about a minute left in the third period, Hoppenbraumer allowed Chapman to retake the lead at 6-5 with an escape point, figuring he was more likely to score again by taking down Chapman than by trying to keep him on the mat or putting him on his back.

"I felt more comfortable on my feet," Hoppenbraumer said.

That strategy looked like it might backfire when Chapman managed to stay on his feet and the two wrestlers went out of bounds to force a restart with just 4.9 seconds left.

But Hoppenbraumer managed to hook both of Chapman's legs and take him to the mat, and got the two-point takedown just before time ran out to win the match.

"I think that was my fastest takedown," Hoppenbraumer said. "It was just instinct and desperation."

For Chapman, the match wasn't a total loss as he qualified for next week's sectionals along with nine of his Peachtree Ridge teammates - including 189-pound champion Sam Kuntz - making for a good day for the Lions.

Three other Gwinnett schools also qualified individual wrestlers for the sectionals, with Mill Creek sending five to the next step, led by 130-pound runner-up Josh Harrison, while North Gwinnett had four qualifiers - including Rider and 119 runner-up Steve Epps - and Duluth had two, including 135 runner-up Evan Greer.

SideBar: Area 7-AAAAA

Area 7-AAAAA Championships

Saturday

at North Gwinnett

FIRST PLACE

103: Bazell Partridge (CH) maj. dec. Dylan Cross (NF), 15-4

112: Caleb Sawchuck (CH) maj. dec. Jeffrey Smith (Chat.), 15-4

119: T.J. Mitchell (CH) fall Steve Epps, 0:56

125: John Allgood (CH) maj. dec. Joshua Bloodworth (PR), 16-2

130: Allen Willard (CH) dec. Josh Harrison (MC), 4-2

135: Chris O'Connor (NF) dec. Evan Greer (D), 6-5

140: Joel Smith (CH) fall Alex Lanier (NF), 3:27

145: Sam Hoppenbraumer (CH) dec. Michael Chapman (PR), 7-6

152: Carl Rider (NG) forfeit Gary Tiller (CH)

160: Taylor Knapp (CH) maj. dec. Alan Gigolaev (PR), 14-3

171: Nick Holbert (CH) dec. Matt Chapman (PR), 6-3

189: Sam Kuntz (PR) dec. Ronald Kennedy (NF), 11-4

215: Christopher Collins (CH) dec. Andrew Jones (Chat.), 3-1

285: Thomas Delain (CH) fall Matt Mills (Chat.), 3:44

THIRD PLACE

103: Ryan Marionneaux (SF) fall Dalton Daniel (NG). 0:58

112: Ryan Prisco (SF) dec. Derek Cox (PR), 9-4

119: Jonathan Rodriguez (PR) dec. Forrest Hormel (NV), 6-5

125: Tristian Bourque (NF) dec. Taylor Kelly (Chat.), 4-0

130: Ryan Cross (NF) forfeit Terry Harris (Chat.)

135: Daniel Wheeler (CH) dec. Nicholas Hoang (PR), 7-2

140: Augustus Appling (MC) dec. Nick Bonet (SF), 6-3

145: Kenny Lawler (Chat.) dec. Christopher Ray (NF), 9-4

152: Aslan Gigolaev (PR) fall Devon Polsin (SF), 1:19

160: Eliot Bourne (NF) dec. Alex Platt (NV), 9-5

171: Tommy Caputo (MC) dec. Zachery Wilson (NF), 7-2

189: Mack Bennett (CH) fall Daniel Bowen (NG), 2:10

215: Drake Greer (D) maj. dec. Brandon Smith (MC), 8-0

285: Austin Hagan (MC) dec. Shaun Scruggs (PR), 3-1 (OT)

TEAM STANDINGS

1. Collins Hill, 308.5

2. Peachtree Ridge, 171

3. North Forsyth, 152

4. Chattahoochee, 120

5. Mill Creek, 88

6. North Gwinnett, 82

7. South Forsyth, 68

8. Duluth, 59

9. Northview, 38

10. Norcross, 2