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Archer seeks another crown at county tourney

WRESTLING

What: Gwinnett County Championships

When: Friday-Saturday

Where: Archer High School

Schedule:

-- Friday -- 6 p.m.

-- Saturday - 9 a.m. (finals at 2:30 p.m.)

Archer's wrestling team has been traveling around the Southeast winning tournament after tournament.

The Tigers have faced few Gwinnett County teams this season, so head coach Tom Beuglas is itching to see how his team stacks up against the rest of the county.

"I want to see how our kids do against the guys around here," Beuglas said.

No. 2-ranked Archer will host the Gwinnett County Championships Friday and Saturday where it will try to defend its title.

"If we don't win as a team, I'll be disappointed," Beuglas said.

The Tigers won their first county title last year, breaking Collins Hill and Parkview's 14-year dominance of the trophy.

Collins Hill's starting varsity will once again not be at the county tournament as they'll compete at the Midwest Classic in Kansas City. Collins Hill will send its varsity B team instead.

Archer, which is in its fourth year of existence, is off to a hot start by winning six tournaments. The tourney wins include the Southern Slam in South Carolina, the Osceola Duals in Florida and the Brookwood Invitational.

Archer defeated defending dual state champion Camden and Florida's No. 2 ranked team at the Osceola tournament. That same weekend, the Tigers sent seven wrestlers to the Brookwood Invitational and won.

"I was pretty impressed," Beuglas said.

Brookwood and North Gwinnett, which finished second and third last year, will once again challenge Archer for the title along with Parkview.

"Brookwood was second last year, Parkview is much improved and North is pretty good," Beuglas said.

Archer has a pair of county champions returning in DaQuan Olbert and Ernest Alexander, who also won a state title last season. Sam Bullard, Zach Wright and Grant Aycox also return.

"I knew we would be pretty good with the core group we had coming back," Beuglas said. "With the fab four freshmen coming -- all four have been good -- we've done pretty well."

The additions of freshmen Vinny Artigues, Chris Diaz and twins Thomas and Daniel Bullard have helped bolster Archer's lineup.

"I think the thing we've got going is we really don't have holes right now," Beuglas said. "All 14 guys are pretty good."

Heavyweight M.J. Couzan, a college football prospect at 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, has been the biggest surprise with a pair of wins over state-ranked wrestlers.

"He's been a beast for us," Beuglas said.

There's four returning county champions with Buford's Chip Ness, North Gwinnett's Hunter Franklin and Archer's Alexander and Olbert wrestling this weekend. Two county champs are out. Parkview's Kamaal Shakur will not wrestle this weekend due to injury and Archer's Hunter McCleskey will return to the mat in January.