At last week's Area 7-AAAAAA wrestling seeding meeting, Norcross head coach Andrew Kucera tried to tell everyone he had one of the best wrestlers in the tournament.
It was hard for others to take the first-year coach seriously when he was touting a sophomore that had barely wrestled this year.
"At the seeding meeting, he wasn't even mentioned," Kucera said. "We just left laughing because we knew how good he was."
Coaches around the county know the name Rudy Guillen now. The Norcross sophomore shocked the region by winning the 138-pound area championship, the first for a Blue Devil since 2003.
"I think we knew how good he was, but didn't know how good," Kucera said.
Guillen is a member of the Norcross football team. He didn't come out for wrestling until January after the Blue Devils won the state championship.
"The long football season took a lot of wrestling away from him," Kucera said. "When he started wrestling, they didn't know who he was."
Going into the area tournament he had barely wrestled a dozen matches this season. Despite being undefeated, he was seeded third. Guillen reached the finals where he won by major decision over North Gwinnett's Ebow Danso, the No. 1 seed in the tournament and the No. 5 ranked wrestler in the state.
"He gave it to him," Kucera said.
Now Guillen sports a 14-0 record and hasn't allowed a takedown all season. It's quite an improvement from when he placed third at area and was knocked out of the state sectional. He will go into the West Sectional at Kennesaw Mountain favored to win the tournament.
"I'm really interested to see how he does at sectional," Kucera said.
Archer's 12 area champs a record
Archer dominated the Area 8-AAAAAA traditional tournament on Saturday by qualifying all 14 of its wrestlers. Even more impressive are the 12 area champs.
That's the most ever by a Gwinnett County school, breaking the old mark of 11 by Collins Hill in 2009. The Eagles also had 10 area champs in 2010.
Archer head coach Tom Beuglas led Parkview to state titles in 2004 and 2006 and those teams managed eight area champs those seasons.
Wesleyan's Delk coming back strong
Wesleyan's Rhett Delk missed the first part of the wrestling season with a back injury he sustained playing football.
The senior has come back strong the last part of the season. Delk holds a 14-0 record, which includes winning the Area 3-AA tournament last week.
"Rhett had a back injury from the football season that kept him off the wrestling mat until mid-January," Wesleyan coach Dennis Stromie said. "So to come back and win area against a quality opponent like Conley from Calhoun is a great step in the right direction for Rhett."
Delk is a three-time state placer, including a third-place finish at last year's state tournament. The senior, who maintains a 3.7 GPA, also plays soccer in addition to wrestling and football.
"Rhett is a great kid and a great role model for the other students here at Wesleyan," Stromie said. "He's a solid Christian young man, and he works just as hard in the classroom as he does on the athletic field. Rhett has already been accepted to Washington & Lee University."
GAC duo step up
Greater Atlanta Christian had two starters out for last week's area tournament, but back ups Wyatt Vaughn and Josh Snyder took advantage of the opportunity.
Vaughn and Snyder placed third at 126 and 145 pounds, respectively, to qualify for the state sectional. Both had wrestled predominately on the junior varsity this season.
Macon or bust
Wrestlers will try to punch their ticket to Macon for the traditional state tournament this weekend by getting through the sectional tournament.
The top eight wrestlers in each weight class from the east and west sectional will advance to the state tournament. The sectional will not score team points.
Area 8 champion Archer and the rest of the area will compete in the East Sectional at Chattahoochee, while Area 7 champion and that region will be at Kennesaw Mountain.
Lanier will be in the West Sectional at Pickens, Buford is headed to Morgan County, Wesleyan is going to Lamar County and GAC is headed to Dublin.