Eight Newton County grapplers will continue their wrestling careers this weekend after qualifying for the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAAA State Traditional Duals Championships.
Newton High and Alcovy High will send four wrestlers each to the state tournament after advancing this past weekend at the Class AAAAAA East Sectional.
The top eight wrestlers in each weight bracket advance to the state tournament to face the top eight wrestlers from each weight division from the West Sectional.
Newton senior A.J. Palomino took top individual honors, returning home as the East Section Champion at 220 pounds.
The Rams had three other wrestlers qualify for the state event, while Alcovy finished with three individual qualifiers and one alternate.
Palomino ran through his region with a perfect 4-0 mark, picking up three pins during his championship run. The senior defeated Brookwood's Shane DeFreitas by pin before advancing with a pin over Lowndes' Caleb Fudge. Palomino then recorded a 12-0 major decision over Brunswick's Tyler Hall before pinning Camden County's Comonique Hargrave in the title bout.
Eduardo Jarquin (106), Anthony Bradley (170) and Shaidren Carter (182) also advanced to the state tournament for the Rams.
Jarquin placed seventh overall at 106 pounds, defeating Alcovy's Darryl Nichols in the consolation bracket by a 4-2 overtime decision.
Bradley finished eighth overall in his weight class, falling to the Tigers' Parfait Fondseyuf by pin fall in the consolation bracket.
At 182 pounds, Carter also finished eighth overall, falling to Lovejoy's Queryachi Taylor in the consolation bracket.
Tigers move on
The Alcovy Tigers will also send four wrestlers to this weekend's state championships, as Nichols, Fondseyuf, Kamari Williams and Austin Richardson joined their Newton High rivals.
Nichols earned his spot in the state finals with an eighth-place finish at 106 pounds, going 2-3 overall in the sectional event.
Fondseyuf finished 3-2 overall at 170 pounds, winning his first-round match-up over Berkmar's Brian Atsu by pin.
Williams earned the highest finish of any Tiger at the section event, placing third overall at 190 pounds. Williams won his first-round match by pin fall over Brunswick's Allen Richardson before falling to Chattahoochee County's Sean Hoffman by pin in the second round.
Williams rebounded after the loss, defeating Tico's Sam Dunn by pin and North Forsyth's Austin Thornton by a 6-5 decision to reach the consolation final. Williams won the consolation final by forfeit over Lowndes' Austin Ogburn.
Richardson will also represent the Tigers at the state compeition as an alternate in the 152-pound weight class.
Richardson earned a technical fall victory over Lambert's J.D. Straight before falling by a 15-2 major decision to Berkman's Ethan Castaneda. In the consolation bracket, Richardson defeated Newton's James Paul by pin to earn his alternate position.
Traditional dual championship wrestling begins Feb. 13 in Gwinnett.
Eagles secure two sectional titles
The Eastside Eagles walked away from this past weekend's Class AAAA East Sectionals with a pair of champions, as Levi Leach and Mitchell Troutman earned first-place finishes in their respective weight classes.
Leach captured the overall title at 120 pounds, while Troutman came out first overall at 182 pounds.
The Eagles will send three more to the state event after Rod Boley, Misha Felton and Matt Malcom also advanced after finishing in the top eight of their respective weight classes.
At 120 pounds, Leach scored a perfect 4-0, winning his opening round contest against Dutchtown's Sergio DeReviera by pin. Leach then put together a 6-0 decision over Cross Creek's Brandon Dowling and an 11-4 decision over Monroe Area's Bud Nguyen before taking home the title with a 20-4 technical fall over Woodland's Gabriel Gray.
Troutman followed in his teammate's footsteps with a perfect run through the 182-pound bracket, starting with a pin over Burke County's Q'Avon Walton.
Troutman moved on to the third round with a pin fall win over Jonesboro's Chris Boggs before advancing to the tournament final with a 12-0 major decision over Rutland's Brycen Taylor.
In the championship bout, Troutman handled West Lauren's Kameron Jackson by pin.
Boley and Felton advanced to the state tournamament with fourthplace finishes in the 106- and 126-pound weight classes, respectively.
Boley earned a first-round victory over Cross Creek's Wallace Doyle by pin, but fell to Locust Grove's Augie Rodriguez by a 5-0 decision. In the consolation bracket, Boley defeated South Effingham's Jordan Boomgardgen by technical fall and Chestatee's Johnathan Alacala 8-0 by major decision. Boley fell 7-1 to Lumpkin County's Logan Brown in the consolation final.
Felton also tallied a fourth-place finish, going 2-2 overall at the sectional event.
Felton defeated Perr Arkenzio Mitchell by pin in the opening round before falling to Jonesboro's Jalaal Malik by a 4-1 decision in the second round. In the consolation bracket, Felton downed Burke County's Dakeeton Brown by a 9-6 decision and defeated Vete's Grant Lensch by a 2-1 decision.
Felton fell in the consolation final by forfeit to Rutland's Peyton Johnson.
Malcom earned a ninth-place finish and an alternate selection with a 7-3 decision over South Effingham's Brandon Beard.