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Collins Hill easily rolls to another area crown

SUWANEE -- It wasn't quite the record-setting outing of a year ago, but Collins Hill's performance in Saturday's Area 7-AAAAA traditional format championships at North Gwinnett was what observers have come to expect.

The Eagles qualified all 14 of their wrestlers into next week's Class AAAAA state sectional tournament, including 10 weight class champions, on their way to their sixth consecutive team title.

They have won all six championship tournaments since joining the area in 2005.

"We got all 14 into the sectionals. That's what we wanted to do," said Collins Hill coach Cliff Ramos, whose Eagles tallied 301.5 points, easily out-distancing runner-up North Forsyth's 158. "We really wanted all 14 in the finals, but that would've been a little bit of an upset. But the two that lost in the semifinals fought back and got third. So, I'm proud of them for fighting back like that.

"It's a tough region and we had 10 champions. We're happy with that."

Those 10 individual championships were just one short of the school-record 11 won by Eagle wrestlers a year ago.

Two of the more dramatic of those titles came at 140 pounds and 189 pounds.

In the former, Allen Willard led just 5-4 with a minute to go, but got a big takedown and fended off a late escape by Chattahoochee's Terry Harris to hold on for a 7-5 decision.

In the latter, Mac Bennett trailed North Forsyth's Brian Kennedy most of the match, but pulled off an escape inside of a minute left to tie the match, and then scored a takedown in the waning seconds to pull of the 6-4 decision.

Other individual champions for Collins Hill were Drew Ferguson, who edged South Forsyth's Ryan Marionneaux 5-4 at 103 pounds, Bazell Partridge at 112, T.J. Mitchell at 125, Steven Bradtmuella at 130, Devante Brown at 135, Joel Smith at 145, C.J. Collins at 215 and Thomas Delain in the heavyweight division.

Pat Riley (160) and Nick Holbert (171) each wound up as runner-up in their weight classes.

Meanwhile, as Ramos mentioned, Joseph Doyague and Jamie Hertica rebounded from semifinal losses to claim third place at 119 and 152 respectively.

Three of the four weight classes not won by Collins Hill wrestlers had champions from Gwinnett County schools, with Greg Epps (119) and Carl Rider (160) taking titles for host North Gwinnett and Tsvetomir Petrushev of Peachtree Ridge winning at 152.

Those two schools also engaged in quite a battle in the team standings, with Peachtree Ridge qualifying eight for next week's sectionals to just edge North 150.5-149.5 for third place despite the Bulldogs qualifying nine individuals.

"I was really more focused on the individual goals, to be honest with you," Lions coach Danny Sinnott said. "I thought we'd get seven (qualified) at least. ... We got one more, so that was good. It's hard to say I'm satisfied, but I'm pleased."

Mill Creek was the only other Gwinnett school to qualify wrestlers, with Nick Shaw taking third at 112 and Austin Ross finishing fourth among the heavyweights.