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)
Class AAAAAA State Wrestling
Wrestlers compete in the Class AAAAAA state championship on Saturday at Chattahoochee High School.
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.
Traditional state wrestling tournament
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
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
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
Todd Small, North Gwinnett, 106
Marcos Rosenkier, Mill Creek, 138
William Broniec, Peachtree Ridge, 170
Octavian Jarda, Mountain View, 182
Mamadou Soumahoro, Berkmar, 195
Gio Fernandez, Archer, 113
Javaughn Anderson, Grayson, 132
Carlos Champaign, Norcross, 145
Jacob Lill, Archer, 220
Jeremy Quarshie, Brookwood, 285
Justin George, Mountain View, 113
Thanh Nguyen, Brookwood, 120
Micahel Roquet, Collins Hill, 145
Adeniyi Henderson, Meadowcreek, 152
Grey Williams, Lanier, 152
Jeremy Taylor, Lanier, 195
Eli Hartley, Buford, 106
Darius Bunch, Buford, 120
Jack Barber, Buford, 126
Brayden Hartley, Buford, 132
Rudy Guillen, Buford, 145
Chip Ness, Buford, 195
Justin Loredo, Buford, 220
Trent Ferguson, Buford, 138
Mitchell Shea, GAC, 220
William Delk, Wesleyan, 106
Kyle Politz, GAC, 132
Emeritus Morris, GAC, 138
Aiden Jarrett, GAC, 182
DJ Coker, GAC, 285
Justin Van Leeuwen, GAC, 106
Hunter McKernan, GAC, 160