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Eagles roll to eighth area wrestling title

CollinsHill's Aubrey Johnson  (Green) wrestles with Peachtree Ridge's Karar Al-Asady during the Area 7-AAAAA Duals match Wednesday at Duluth High School.

CollinsHill's Aubrey Johnson (Green) wrestles with Peachtree Ridge's Karar Al-Asady during the Area 7-AAAAA Duals match Wednesday at Duluth High School.

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Referee Gary Humphries watches as CollinsHill's Andrew Krawolski pins Peachtree Ridge's Abel Loenardo in just over a minute during the Area 7-AAAAA Duals match Wednesday at Duluth High School.

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CollinsHill's Anthony Codella pins Peachtree Ridge's Will Broniac in 30 seconds during the Area 7-AAAAA Duals match Wednesday at Duluth High School.

DULUTH -- Collins Hill has traveled the country the first part of the wrestling season, facing some of the nation's top programs.

The stiff competition has the Eagles primed for another state championship run.

Collins Hill defeated Peachtree Ridge 67-9 in the finals of the Area 7-AAAAA duals on Wednesday at Duluth. It was the Eagles' eighth straight area championship.

"Winning never gets old. It's always nice to win by a big margin," Collins Hill coach Josh Stephen said. "We didn't wrestle all of our kids, we had some that are banged up that are out, so it was nice to get the win."

It was no surprise that Collins Hill claimed another area title. The big news came in the semifinals when Peachtree Ridge edged North Gwinnett 32-31 to reach the finals. The victory qualified Peachtree Ridge (22-8) for the state duals for the second time in school history, joining the 2009 team that was runner-up to Collins Hill.

"It's about time," Peachtree Ridge coach Danny Sinnott said. "We've gotten a lot of thirds and fourths. The guys just came together. We had some strategy for certain matches and for the most part it worked out."

The win secures Collins Hill's and Peachtree Ridge's trip to the Class AAAAA state tournament next weekend at the Macon Centreplex. The Eagles have won the last four dual state championships, but Camden County is expected to give Collins Hill a challenge for the title. Camden County finished ahead of the Eagles at the Cougar Invitational earlier this season. The Wildcats are ranked No. 26 in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News, while Collins Hill is No. 28.

"I've been waiting all year for the state duals with all this Camden talk," Stephen said. "Ever since they finished ahead of us in Florida, there's been a lot of talk."

Collins Hill (14-1) dominated on its way to another area title on Wednesday. The Eagles defeated Mill Creek 80-0 and Mountain View 66-9 in the semifinals. In the finals against Peachtree Ridge, the Eagles won 12 of the 14 matches, including six by forfeit.

Sean Russell (pin), Ryan Millhof (forfeit), Drew Ferguson-Mitchell (pin), Johnny Bradtmueller (forfeit), Griffin Riley (major decision) and Spencer Rickman (forfeit) gave Collins Hill a 34-0 lead.

Freshmen Bradtmueller and Riley's wins were big as they filled in for hurt teammates.

"I was really pleased with our young guys," Stephen said.

Peachtree Ridge's Brandon Smith got a pin at 145 pounds and Kalar Al-asaay had a 16-9 win at 170 pounds. That was it for the Lions. Even defending county champion Nick Hoang lost a 3-0 decision to Matthew Connell at 160 pounds.

"I thought he did a great job," Stephen said. "He got a takedown and then rode him out the rest of the way."

Collins Hill's Anthony Codella had a pin and after Andrew Krawulski's pin at 182 pounds, Peachtree Ridge forfeited the last three matches.

"We didn't wrestle our full lineup, but it's still a big deficit we're trying to make up," Sinnott said. "We could have had a few more tough matches with them."

North Gwinnett placed third, beating Mountain View 46-30. The Bears defeated Meadowcreek 36-29 and Norcross 44-18 and lost to Collins Hill 66-9.