Staff Photo: John Bohn Ryan Millhof of Collins Hill, left, and Wyatt Jozwoski of Brookwood wrestle in the 113 pound match during the Class AAAAA State wrestling championships held Saturday. Millhof of Collins Hill won the match.
DULUTH -- A month ago Collins Hill lost in the Class AAAAA dual state championship to Camden.
People around the state thought it was the start of the decline of the wrestling power.
Collins Hill proved on Saturday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center it's not ready to relinquish the title of state's best.
The Eagles produced four individual state champions as they held on to beat Camden to claim their fifth straight traditional state title.
"It's great to end it at the Arena with a win," Collins Hill coach Josh Stephen said. "You want to win both, but it's good to finish the season with a win."
The Eagles scored 184 points to win the title. Camden (159.5 points) was second, Archer (109) was third, Lowndes (84.5) was fourth and North Gwinnett (79.5) was fifth. Brookwood (59.5) finished eighth and Peachtree Ridge (58) was ninth.
"This means a lot," Collins Hill's Sean Russell said of the title. "We've had to go through a lot this year. To end on top is all that matters."
Collins Hill went into the finals with a 18.5-point lead over Camden. The Wildcats had four finalists and the Eagles were able to clinch the title after Sean Russell and Ryan Millhof's wins.
"Coach told me that before," Millhof said. "There was a little pressure on me, but I wanted to produce for my new family at Collins Hill."
Millhof reached the state finals last year as a freshman at Archer, losing to Russell. He transferred to Collins Hill in the offseason, bolstering the Eagles' lineup. The sophomore used an 8-2 win over Brookwood's Wyatt Jozwowski to claim the 113-pound title.
"Ryan did a great job and got the monkey off his back from last year," Stephen said.
Russell used a 14-4 win over Archer's Sam Bullard in the 106-pound finals to claim his second straight title.
"Both are about the same. I wanted to get that second title really bad," Russell said.
Drew Ferguson-Mitchell won his second state championship with a 6-1 win over Milton's Phillip Anderson in the 120-pound final.
"He wrestled a smart, strategic match," Stephen said.
The second title meant a little more for Ferguson-Mitchell, who lost in last year's finals as a junior.
"I gave it everything I had," Ferguson-Mitchell said. "I was nervous, but I've been nervous the last two years when I was in the finals. I'm a senior. This is my final match. I did what I had to do."
Steven Bradtmueller defeated Peachtree Ridge's Mac Shiver in the 132-pound finals.
The Eagles' Spencer Rickman (138 pounds) and Andrew Krawulski (170) took second. John Bradtmueller (126 pounds) and Zach Carmin (285) placed fourth, and Matthew Connell (160) was fifth.
"There was no room for error. They had to go big and they did," Stephen said.
Collins Hill produced another successful year traveling around the country, facing some of the nation's top teams to prepare for the state tournament.
The Eagles placed third at the Cougar Invitational (Fla.), 10th at Ironman (Ohio), second at Midwest Classic (Kansas City), first at the Tiger Holiday Classic, third at the Final Four (Pa.), first at Soddy Daisy (Tenn.) and won in-state tournaments Alexander Invitational, and the Region 7-AAAAA dual and traditional titles.
"They've been to the high profile tournaments and have been in the big atmosphere before," Stephen said. "That's the biggest thing that helped."
The state title should put Collins Hill back in the national rankings after dropping out a month ago. Camden County is ranked No. 34 in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News.
Collins Hill came into the season winning the last four dual and traditional state titles. When they lost to Camden on a tiebreaker in January, it only fueled the Eagles for the last month of the season.
"This answers the call of Collins Hill going down," Ferguson-Mitchell said. "I think we showed how good we are and will be in the future."