The Gwinnett Arena is filled with Newton faces this weekend, as the county's three schools sent a total of nine wrestlers to compete for a state title. Social Circle is also well represented in the state championship with eight wrestlers.
Out of Newton's three state competitors, Zak Jenkins is the only one who's been there before. The 152-pound wrestler went 0-2 in last year's state meet, but gained valuable experience.
"These kids can get caught up in how big the arena is, and all that," Newton wrestling coach Paul Nelson said. "I think that happened to Zak last year. Now that he knows what to expect I think he can do better."
Jenkins will provide leadership to Fuller and Dell but overcoming the excitement of state competition is something they will have to do on their own. Once the two wrestlers accomplish that, they then will be able to let their talent take over.
Fuller, a 170-pound senior, has been one of the Rams most consistent wrestlers this season.
"I expect big things out of him," Nelson said. "He's a No. 4 seed, so anything less than placing, I'd be disappointed in."
Dell is competing at the 182-pound class.
"Dell is a kid that's so athletic he can beat anybody on any given day," Nelson said.
The area's best chance at a state title may be in Eastside's returning state competitor, Tyler Bailey at 113 pounds. Bailey joins Misha Felton at 12-, Kevin Thompson at 138, Dylan Gilmore at 132 and Jacob Wilder at 170 for the Eagles.
Social Circle is sending its wrestlers to the state championship in weight classes ranging from 106-pounds to 182.
AJ Howard will compete at 106, with Jacob Noth and Ryan Davis at 120 and 126, respectively. Marcus Burden will compete for a state title at 132, Justin Givens at 138, Aaron Forrester at 145 and Jeremy Tyson at 152. Milton Harrison rounds out the Social Circle competitors at 182 pounds.