Those finishes resulted in berths to the state traditional championships, which begin Thursday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Marietta qualified eight of its 11 wrestlers, including sectional champion Jonathan Gates, who collected a 9-2 victory over Etowah’s Bronson Rechsteiner in the 170-pound final.
“I came here with one goal in mind, and that was to get to Rechsteiner,” said Gates, who suffered one of his three losses this season to Rechsteiner when Marietta faced Etowah during the Class AAAAAA state duals. “I knew he’d get through his side of the bracket, so we practiced all week focusing on him. Now, it’s on to the next step.”
Joining Gates at the state meet are teammates Jason Caldwell (106, seventh), Jelani Miller (120, eighth), Alex Ambio (152, seventh), Anthony Neary (160, fifth), Isaiah Borne (195, second), Brandon Hill (220, second) and Jeron Holsey (285, third).
“We had a couple of guys surprise us, good and bad,” Marietta coach Tommy Carthers said. “There were a couple of guys I thought would place higher than they did, and there were a couple that finished higher than we thought they would, honestly. It really all balanced out and we’re happy for the guys who made it.”
McEachern, which brought 10 to the sectional, had the next-highest number of local state qualifiers with seven, adding another sectional champ in Christian Wade who bested his rival — Marietta’s Hill — for the fourth straight time this season.
All of Wade’s wins over Hill have come in triple-overtime. This time, he kept Hill from earning an escape point after Hill scored one with 2 seconds on the clock in the second overtime period.
“It always comes down to that final sudden-death period between us,” Wade said. “He’s a tough kid. Since I’ve been wrestling, I haven’t faced anybody with his kind of effort and drive to win. With us, it’s mostly about mistakes. He knows my moves and I know his. It’s just a flip of the coin, really, when we wrestle. It’s just ended up on my side these past four matches.”
The Indians also advanced Alex Noble (126, fifth), Zach Murphy (145, fourth), Josh Farara (170, fourth), Tyri Brown (160, sixth), Uche Nkadi (285, sixth) and Abdul Muhammad (138, eighth).
Two-time defending state champion Justan Rivera of Kennesaw Mountain won at 182, pinning Lassiter’s Connor Shields in 58 seconds.
The Mustangs qualified six of their 12 wrestlers, including Matt Michaud (132, sixth), Augusto Paes (138, fourth), Henrio Thelemaque (145, second), Brycen Colon (152, sixth) and Corgin Spencer (195, seventh).
Harrison, Hillgrove and Wheeler each advanced five wrestlers.
Harrison advanced sixth-place finishers Aaron Powell (120) and Jonathan Grimes (182), fourth-place Tyler Buehler (195) and seventh-place wrestlers Tate Wells (126) and Garrick Faide (132).
Hillgrove qualified James Roberto (120, third), Jacob Willis (126, sixth), Brett Kelley (132, fourth), Carlin Powell (138, third) and Phillip McBride (145, eighth), while Wheeler added E.J. Walker (106, third), Aslan Kilic (113, second), Diego Ovalle (138, sixth), JeQuan Adams (160, seventh) and Felipe Silva (195, fifth).
Lassiter’s A.J. Pelletier (132, sixth), Marshall Liss (160, eighth) and Phillip Murray (195, third) joined Shields in advancing, as did Walton’s Colin Fant (182, eighth) and Eric Smith (220, fourth).
Walton’s Jacob Murphy, a defending state champion, was also victorious, coming from behind to beat Mill Creek’s Marcos Rosenkier 10-5. Murphy trailed 4-2 in the first period but tied the contest 5-all at the conclusion of the second. He had two third-period near-falls, holding Rosenkier to his back for well over a minute.
“He was longer than me, so it took some time for me to adjust,” Murphy said. “Once I figured him out, I was able to get going. I feel good going into next week.”
Campbell’s Jawan Lawson placed sixth at 145, while North Cobb’s Joseph Buatu finished eighth at 132.