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WRESTLING NOTES: County meet wide open with traditional powers gone

WRESTLING

What: Gwinnett County Championships

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Dacula High School

Schedule:

• Friday, 6 p.m.

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

Archer, Collins Hill and Parkview are the only three schools to win the Gwinnett County wrestling championship the last 17 years.

Neither one of them is sending their No. 1 varsity team to the tournament on Friday and Saturday at Dacula High School.

Archer and Collins Hill will wrestle at the Midwest Classic in Kansas City, while Parkview is traveling to Tennessee for the McCallie Invitational.

That leaves the door wide open for a new county champion.

“With Archer and Collins Hill not being there, we have a shot,” Buford head coach Rob Carlyle said. “I don’t want to make a prediction, but I think we have a shot.”

Buford placed 12th at last year’s county meet, but returns a lineup that can score a lot of points in a tournament.

The Wolves are only expecting to bring 10 or 11 wrestlers, but several could end up in the finals.

Three-time state champion Chip Ness, a North Carolina signee, will wrestle his first tournament of the season after missing the last month with a foot injury.

The Wolves also feature defending county champion Brayden Hartley and state qualifier Darius Bunch. Defending county champion Jack Barber is out with an injury.

“When we have one injury healed, then it seems like we get another,” Carlyle said.

Brookwood has placed in the top five at county eight of the last nine seasons and is also among the county favorites along with Grayson, Meadowcreek and Mountain View.

North Gwinnett’s Hunter Franklin and Parkview’s Kamaal Shakur were county champs in 2012. Franklin placed third last season and Shakur missed the tournament with an injury.

Defending county champion Avery Elford, who was a starting linebacker on North’s state runner-up football team on Saturday, will not wrestle this weekend.

Central Gwinnett’s Leivon Lewis is the only other returning county champ.

Archer and Collins Hill will send a No. 2 varsity team to county. In addition to Archer, Collins Hill and Parkview not being there, neither will Wesleyan for the fifth time in six years. The Wolves will wrestle in the Pepperell Invitational.

Archer heads to Midwest

Archer hasn’t lost a tournament in Georgia since 2012. The Tigers will see how they face against some of the nation’s best this weekend.

Archer, the defending state champions, will miss the Gwinnett County tournament to wrestle in the Midwest Classic in Kansas City.

Archer will send five or six wrestlers to compete in the varsity tournament and the rest will go to Kansas City.

Four nationally ranked

Gwinnett County has four wrestlers who are nationally ranked in the top 100, according to Intermat.

Collins Hill’s Ryan Millhof and Sean Russell, Buford’s Chip Ness and Parkview’s Kamaal Shakur are in the top 100.

Millhof is No. 1 at 126 pounds, Russell is No. 4 at 120, Ness is No. 3 at 182 and Shakur is No. 13 at 145.

GAC’s Clinebell breaks wins record

Greater Atlanta Christian’s Carter Clinebell broke the career wins record. The 145-pound senior has 161 wins for his career, breaking the old mark of 158 wins by Travis Elrod.

Clinebell was a Class AA state runner-up last season at 132 pounds.

Academics first for Nguyen

Brookwood’s Thanh Nguyen probably would have been in the finals of the Brookwood Invitational on Saturday if he wasn’t taking the ACT.

Nguyen went 3-0 in the 120-pound round robin tournament Friday, but skipped Saturday’s bracket tournament to take the ACT.

Nguyen is ranked No. 5 in the state.