North Gwinnett’s Hunter Franklin battles Collins Hill’s Griffin Riley in the 132-pound weight class during Saturday’s Area 7-AAAAAA wrestling finals at Norcross. (Photo: Kyle Hess)
NORCROSS — Collins Hill placed eight wrestlers in championship matches and racked up seven first-place finishes en route to a 10th straight team title at the Area 7-AAAAAA wrestling traditional tournament Saturday.
Collins Hill, which placed third at last month’s state dual championships, finished the day with a team total of 268.50 points to outdistance second-place Meadowcreek, which came home with 206.50 points that included a pair of individual winners.
“It’s a small tournament with this many teams and if things don’t go well early to get your guys into the finals, it can get close or you can lose,” said Collins Hill head coach Josh Stephen. “So it’s a great thing to win area again and I was really pleased with our intensity late in the day. We got 12 (wrestlers) through (to next week’s sectional) and we would’ve liked to have gotten all 14. But it was still a good effort all the way around.”
North Gwinnett followed in third-place with 156 points with Mill Creek coming in fourth with 152 points and Norcross in fifth with 143 points to round out the top five.
Peachtree Ridge was sixth with 135.50, Mountain View seventh with 123, Habersham Central eighth with 84 and Duluth ninth with 54.
Collins Hill was led by the senior duo of Sean Russell and Ryan Milhof as the Eagles march into next weekend’s sectional with 12 wrestlers qualifying.
Russell picked up a win in the 120-pound classification with a pin of Mountain View’s Adam Flatt to complete a three-win day.
Russell, ranked No. 1 in the state at 120 pounds, claimed his fourth area crown in as many years with the victory as did Milhof in the 126-pound classification.
“It’s awesome,” said Russell said of winning a fourth consecutive area individual title. “This tournament has always been really good to us and Collins Hill has always had a good showing here. So, honestly, I’m just glad to go out with a bang. The guy I was wrestling (in the final) was undefeated, so I just wanted to give it everything I had and wrestle well.”
Milhof, ranked No. 1 in the state at 126 pounds, went 3-0 for the tournament and won the title by default over Kareim Alasady of Peachtree Ridge, who retired after suffering a knee injury with Millhof leading 5-0.
“It’s an awesome feeling because I know there have only been a few people to do it,” said Milhof. “It’s great to carry on the Collins Hill tradition and I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity. I know my final match was a little unusual when we got in a weird situation and (Alasady) hurt his knee. So with sectional and state coming up, (Peachtree Ridge) decided to stop the match. But now I just get ready for next week at sectional.”
Russell and Milhof joined former Collins Hill wrestlers T.J. Mitchell and Joel Smith (2008-10) to claim four area titles in their careers.
Collins Hill also got victories from Codi Russell at 113 pounds, Griffin Riley at 132, Michael Roquet at 145, Andres Parra at 160 and Aubrey Johnson at 170.
Russell pinned Justin George of Mountain View while Riley grinded out a 3-1 decision over Hunter Franklin of North and Roquet pinned Wesley Peterson of Mill Creek for the win.
Parra took a 3-2 decision over Mill Creek’s Mathew Felbaum and Johnson was an 8-3 winner by decision over Rodney Jones of Duluth.
Meadowcreek placed second thanks to first-place finishes by Adeniyi Henderson-Hard at 152 pounds and Ryan Moore at 195.
Henderson-Hard took a 6-2 decision over Abel Leonardo of Peachtree Ridge while Moore pinned Drew Martin of Collins Hill to get the victory.
Mill Creek also had a couple of individual winners as Marcos Rosenkier won by forfeit over Nighee Eddington of Meadowcreek in the 138-pound classification and Bobby Klemm got the early pin in a victory over Alex Molletto of North in the heavyweight (285) classification.
Other individual winners included Andrew Burpee of Habersham at 106 pounds, Octavian Jarda of Mountain View at 182 and Alex Brown of Duluth at 220.
Burpee’s 3-2 decision came over North’s Todd Small while Jarda finished off North’s Shavar Henry with a pin and Brown took a 12-1 major decision over Marable Hobley of Meadowcreek.