Archer’s MJ Couzan looks to take Camden’s Anthony Wall down to his back during the Tiger’s 42-15 victory in the Class AAAAAA state wrestling finals in Macon on Saturday. (Photo: David McGregor)
MACON — Archer’s wrestling team has had a lot of success the last month, traveling the country and winning tournaments.
The Tigers’ earned a top 10 national ranking along the way.
That has drawn a lot of attention to the program, but the Tigers still had one goal of winning a state championship.
Archer rolled through the Class AAAAAA state duals on Saturday at the Macon Centreplex. In a rematch of last year’s finals, Archer defeated Camden County 42-15 to repeat as state champions.
“Of all the other tournaments, winning state is the most important thing,” Archer head coach Tom Beuglas said. “With all the recognition we’ve got it put pressure on us. The kids did a good job handling it.”
The dual state championship is the ninth tournament win for Archer this season, which includes three out of state tournaments. Archer is ranked No. 7 in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News and No. 10 by Flowrestling.com.
“Our first goal is to win state,” Archer senior M.J. Couzan said. “We won all the other tournaments, but our real title is the team state title.”
Archer is in its fifth year of existence and has quickly become the premier program in Georgia. The team has just three seniors in the starting lineup. The Tigers are also the defending traditional state champions and are the favorite to win it again next month at the Gwinnett Arena.
At the state duals, Archer defeated Lowndes 60-9, Newton 68-3 and Collins Hill 56-13 to reach the finals.
Archer opened the dual with a decision by Vinny Artigues at 106 pounds. Camden won the next two matches to take a 6-3 lead.
Archer sophomore Chris Diaz (126 pounds) followed with a second-period pin the Tigers never trailed again.
“Chris got a pin and that was huge because they had won two in a row. That got us going,” Beuglas said.
Archer reeled off four-straight victories to take a 19-6 lead. After Diaz, Grant Aycox (132) had a major decision and Sam Bullard (138) and Thomas Bullard (145) followed with decisions. Sam Bullard got a takedown in the final seconds of the match over Elerenzo Brown to win 6-5.
“Sam’s win was huge,” Beuglas said.
Camden put itself back in the match with a pin at 152 pounds to close the gap to 19-12.
Daniel Bullard (160) and Quinn Miller (182) followed with major decisions to boost the Tigers’ lead to 27-15 with three matches remaining. Elliot Lee (195) sealed the win with a first period win.
“When Elliot wins it’s usually by pin,” Beuglas said.
Jacob Lill (220) followed with a decision and Couzan ended the match with a second-period pin at 285.
“I felt pretty good in the upper weights with Quinn, Eliott and MJ up there,” Beuglas said.
Collins Hill placed third for the second year in a row. The Eagles lost to Archer in the semifinals, but battled back to beat Chattahoochee 42-25 and North Forsyth 41-24.
Meadowcreek qualified for the first time in school history to the state duals and went 0-2. The Mustangs lost to Camden County 63-3 and Roswell 40-26. Grayson was 2-2 in the tournament, beating Douglas County 53-21 and Kennesaw Mountain 36-26 and losing to North Forsyth 39-26 and to Chattahoochee 48-28.
Class AAAAAA state championship
At Macon Centreples
ARCHER 42, CAMDEN COUNTY 15
106: Vinny Artigues (Archer) decision Adrian Hughes (Camden County) 13-6
113: Denton Spencer (Camden County) decision Gio Fernandez (Archer) 10-5
120: Bryce Crew (Camden County) decision Alex Strandridge (Archer) 7-1
126: Chris Diaz (Archer) fall Andrew Holcomb (Camden County) 3:21
132: Grant Aycox (Archer) major decision Jay Sheppard (Camden County) 12-1
138: Sam Bullard (Archer) decision Elerenzo Roberson (Camden County) 6-5
145: Thomas Bullard (Archer) decision Bunmi Smith (Camden County) 10-3
152: Nathen Pistavec (Camdne County) fall Trey Rinehart (Archer) 4:46
160: Daniel Bullard (Archer) major decision Travis Koening (Camden County) 11-0
170: Alex Diaz (Camden County) decision Garrett Miller (Archer) 6-2
182: Quinn Miller (Archer) major decision Josh Wilcox (Camden County) 10-2
195: Elliot Lee (Archer) fall Aaron Galegor (Camden County) 1:35
220: Jacob Lill (Archer) decision Domonique Hargrove (Camden County) 4-2
285: M.J. Couzan (Archer) fall Anthony Wall (Camden County) 2:36
Archer wins Class AAAAAA wrestling duals
Archer won the second straight Class AAAAAA wrestling duals on Saturday in Macon.