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Archer gets five champs to defend wrestling state title

Archer’s MJ Couzan, Daniel Bullard, Quinn Miller and Gio Fernandez celebrate their team victory with 249 points during the Class AAAAAA Traditional Wrestling State Championships at Chattahoochee High School in Johns Creek on Saturday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

Archer’s MJ Couzan, Daniel Bullard, Quinn Miller and Gio Fernandez celebrate their team victory with 249 points during the Class AAAAAA Traditional Wrestling State Championships at Chattahoochee High School in Johns Creek on Saturday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

JOHNS CREEK — In the first match of the traditional state wrestling tournament, Archer’s Grant Aycox won in thrilling fashion.

His sudden death victory brought the Archer crowd to its feet.

That wasn’t the only celebrating the Tigers did on Saturday at Chattahoochee High School.

Archer had five state champions as it rolled to back-to-back Class AAAAAA state championships.

“This place was rocking with that one,” Archer head coach Tom Beuglas said of the Aycox match.

Archer scored 249 points to beat Camden County (183.5) and Collins Hill (102.5). Parkview (56.5) was fifth with just two wrestlers, but they were both state champions. Brookwood (43) placed 10th, Mill Creek was 11th, Mountain View was 12th and North Gwinnett was 13th. Only five points seperated 10th and 13th place.

Archer’s state championship was its second this year after winning the dual state title in January. The Tigers won every tournament they competed in this season, including out-of-state tournaments the Midwest Classic, Southern Slam and GMVWA Invitational. Archer is ranked nationally No. 6 by Amateur Wrestling News and No. 10 by Flowrestling.com.

“It’s pretty dominating,” Beuglas said. “We won every tournament. What do you do to better that?”

Archer added to its impressive season with five individual state champions. Last year’s title team had four. Aycox won at 132 pounds and M.J. Couzan (285), Thomas Bullard (152) and Daniel Bullard (160) repeated as state champs. Elliott Lee (195) won his first championship.

“This is the best Archer team we’ll have in a while,” Couzan said. “Next year’s team will be good, too, but what we did this year makes a statement.”

Sam Bullard (138) finished state runner-up for the second time in three years. Chris Diaz (126) was runner-up for the second year in a row and Quinn Miller (182) was runner-up as well.

“You’re never going to win them all,” Beuglas said. “Of the three losses, I felt they wrestled their hearts out. I was happy with their effort.”

Archer finished with 11 placers total. Vinny Artigues (106) was third and Gio Fernandez (113) and Jacob Lill (220) were fifth.

The most thrilling match of the night was the first one at 132 pounds.

Archer’s Aycox used a 2-1 sudden death victory over North Gwinnett’s Hunter Franklin to the state championship. It was Aycox’s first title after losing in the finals last season.

“This feels a lot better,” Aycox said.

Aycox knocked Franklin out of bounds with five seconds left in regulation and he hit his head on the floor. That caused a delay before going into overtime with the score 1-1.

“When he hit the floor at the end of the third period, I thought I broke him and he was dead tired,” Aycox said.

Neither wrestler was able to score in overtime and Aycox held Franklin down in sudden death for the victory.

“Either kid could have won. I think it was the best match of the night,” Beuglas said.

Gwinnett County had nine state champions total and five came from Archer. Collins Hill and Parkview each had two.

Collins Hill’s Sean Russell (120) won his fourth-straight state championship, becoming the 27th Georgia to reach the feat. Ryan Millhof (126) won his third-straight state championship.

Parkview’s Kamaal Shakur came back from an injury last season to win the 145-pound title, while Andrew Webb won at 138.

Archer’s state championship gives Gwinnett County seven straight traditional state titles. Collins Hill won the previous five titles. Gwinnett has won 11 of the last 13 traditional state titles in the highest classification. The streak may continue next year with Archer graduating just three senior starters in Couzan, Fernandez and Garrett Miller.

“We have seven that were in the finals coming back. That a pretty good place to start,” Beuglas said.

STATE PLACERS

Traditional state wrestling tournament

CLASS AAAAAA

FIRST PLACE

Grant Aycox, Archer, 132

Andrew Webb, Parkview, 138

MJ Couzan, Archer, 285

Elliott Lee, Archer, 195

Thomas Bullard, Archer, 152

Daniel Bullard, Archer, 160

Kamaal Shakur, Parkview, 152

Ryan Millhof, Collins Hill, 126

Sean Russell, Collins Hill, 120

SECOND PLACE

Hunter Franklin, North Gwinnett, 132

Sam Bullard, Archer, 138

Bobby Klemm, Mill Creek, 285

Chris Diaz, Archer, 126

Quinn Miller, Archer, 182

Adam Flatt, Mountain View, 120

THIRD PLACE

Vinny Artigues, Archer, 106

Cody Russell, Collins Hill, 113

Raymond Washington, Meadowcreek, 126

Griffin Riley, Collins Hill, 132

Rodney Jones, Duluth, 170

Stephen Solamon, Brookwood, 182

Alex Brown, Duluth, 220

FOURTH PLACE

Todd Small, North Gwinnett, 106

Marcos Rosenkier, Mill Creek, 138

William Broniec, Peachtree Ridge, 170

Octavian Jarda, Mountain View, 182

Mamadou Soumahoro, Berkmar, 195

FIFTH PLACE

Gio Fernandez, Archer, 113

Javaughn Anderson, Grayson, 132

Carlos Champaign, Norcross, 145

Jacob Lill, Archer, 220

Jeremy Quarshie, Brookwood, 285

SIXTH PLACE

Justin George, Mountain View, 113

Thanh Nguyen, Brookwood, 120

Micahel Roquet, Collins Hill, 145

Adeniyi Henderson, Meadowcreek, 152

CLASS AAAA

FOURTH PLACE

Grey Williams, Lanier, 152

Jeremy Taylor, Lanier, 195

CLASS AAA

FIRST PLACE

Eli Hartley, Buford, 106

Darius Bunch, Buford, 120

Jack Barber, Buford, 126

Brayden Hartley, Buford, 132

Rudy Guillen, Buford, 145

Chip Ness, Buford, 195

FOURTH PLACE

Justin Loredo, Buford, 220

FIFTH PLACE

Trent Ferguson, Buford, 138

CLASS AA

FOURTH PLACE

Mitchell Shea, GAC, 220

FIFTH PLACE

William Delk, Wesleyan, 106

Kyle Politz, GAC, 132

Emeritus Morris, GAC, 138

Aiden Jarrett, GAC, 182

DJ Coker, GAC, 285

SIXTH PLACE

Justin Van Leeuwen, GAC, 106

Hunter McKernan, GAC, 160