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A pair of DeKalb County Schools' wrestlers had their hands raised in the championship matches of their respective weight classes to bring two gold medals home to DeKalb County from the GHSA Traditional State Wrestling Tournament in Macon on Saturday.
McNair senior Khalil Williams, a fourth place finisher at state a year ago, wrapped up an impressive 56-1 season by sweeping three matches to capture the gold in the 120 pound weight class of the Class AAA State Tournament to become McNair's first ever wrestling state champion.
Williams opened the state tournament with a pin of Morgan County's Jacob McAlister and pushed his way into the championship match with a 7-4 decision over St. Pius X's Quinn Peragrine.
The title match pitted Williams against Ringgold's Sam Shepard with the McNair senior getting a pin to capture the state title.
Williams was coached by Quincey Bryant and Ramon Tillery at McNair which won its first DeKalb County Wrestling Championship in 2012.
The second gold came from Southwest DeKalb Panther sophomore Abdur-Rahman Yasin who won four consecutive matches to take the 145 class in the Class AAAAA State Tournament. Yasin finished the season with a 42-1 record and gave Coach Keith Johnson his second consecutive state champion following Gabriel Echols gold medal performance a year ago.
The tournament opener for Yasin was a pin at the 6:57 mark of the match against Effingham's AJ Bird to move into the quarterfinals against Richmond Hill's Ian Phifer. Yasin took the match with Phifer by a technical fall score of 19-4 to reach the semifinal round.
Loganville's Caleb King won his first two matches by pin fall and forced Yasin to go the full distance before falling 10-3 and propelling the Southwest sophomore into the gold medal match against Isaac King of Ware County.
King had advanced to the final with a 4-2 win over Ean Wilson of OLA. Yasin managed his second pin of the tournament putting King's shoulders to the mat at the 5:45 mark to capture the gold medal.
This year marks the first time since 2008 for DeKalb to bring home two gold medals. Tucker's Pawlloes Belete and Clarkston's Terrance Gaddy (won gold in 2009 as well) captured titles in Class AAAA and Class AAA, respectively. It also gives DeKalb an eight-year run with a state wrestling champion.
Stephenson picked up a pair of bronze medals as seniors Stephen Wylie (152) and Darion Perry (170) who battled back from earlier tournament losses to win the Class AAAAA bronze medal round.
Perry, who was named the Most Valuable Wrestler at the DeKalb County Wrestling Championships in January, dropped a semifinal decision in the main draw before bouncing back with a pair of wins to take the bronze. Perry reached the bronze medal match with a 16-4 major decision over Effingham's Tim Pratt. The consolation final has Perry taking on Javeon Brigham of Lakeside-Evans with Perry coming out with a 6-1 victory to claim the medal.
Wylie also dropped a state semifinal match before battling his way back to take the bronze medal. Wyle had to get past Allatoona's Will Kemp in the consolation semifinals to reach the finals. He made it with a slim 1-0 victory.
Wylie's opponent in the finals was John's Creek's Justin Pettyjohn who he dispatched with a 16-5 major decision to claim the bronze prize.
In other Class AAAAA action Dunwoody's Sunny Sharma took fourth in the 113 pound division by falling in the consolation finals 7-3 to miss out on the bronze. Southwest DeKalb's Muadh As-Siddiq grabbed fifth in the Class AAAA 106 division with a 19-5 major decision over Josh Tazella of Pope. Arabia Mountain's Alema Favors also took fifth in the 126 class with a 12-5 decision over Kalvin Harris of Northside-Columbus.
Damian Scholfield of Stone Mountain came up on the short end of an 11-6 decision in the Class AAAA bronze medal match in the 170 class. Scholfield had to win three consecutive matches to reach the consolation finals after dropping his second round match in the tournament.
McNair's Zeontaye McCoy and Towers' Derival Stevenson each took a sixth place finish in Class AAA wrestling in the 132 and 182 classes, respectively.
Southwest DeKalb finished 11th in the Class AAAAA team standings with 47.50 points and Stephenson was in a tie for 21st with 33.00 points.
Stone Mountain was the leader in Class AAAA for DeKalb with 19 points to finish 28th overall in the team standings while McNair led the way in Class AAA with a 13th place finish with 29.00 points.
The Southwest DeKalb Panthers were the only DeKalb team to win a traditional Area wrestling title over the weekend as they took the Area 6-AAAAA title over Lakeside at Dunwoody.
Despite no other team titles DeKalb is sending 101 wrestlers on to the State Sectionals in the final step for qualifying for the GHSA Traditional State Wrestling Championships set for Macon on February 14-16 at the Macon Centreplex.
The Panthers won five individual area gold medal title matches on the way to compiling a 250 point total followed by Lakeside with 165.5, Stephenson 148, Miller Grove 119 and Tucker 95.
Muadh As-Siddiq opened the Southwest run with a victory over Said Banks of Stephenson in the 106 pound division.
Southwest DeKalb's Corey Strickland won the 145 pound division in 2012 and claimed the 138 class this year for back-to-back Area gold medals. Donnell Smith (120), Abdur-Rahman Yasir (145) and Quantez Tyre (160) also claimed gold medals for the Panthers.
Southwest DeKalb had 12 wrestlers qualify for the Class AAAAA State Sectionals this weekend out of 53 from Area 6-AAAAA.
Alex LaRotta (182) led Lakeside's second place finish by winning the 182 weight class gold over Jamaal Jones of Miller Grove to be the only Viking to take a gold medal. Three other Vikings picked up bronze medals as Lakeside qualified 10 total for the sectional
Stephenson had a pair of gold medal performers in Darian Perry (170) and Stephen Wylie (152). Perry pulled another double this year with gold at the DeKalb Co. Championships and at Area. He won the 160 division at both a year ago. Stephenson also had three silver medalists to aid its third place finish overall. Stephenson had seven wrestlers place in the top four to move on to the sectionals.
Miller Grove's fourth place finish was on the backs of wins by Wesley Williams (195) and Thaddeus Nelson (285) as they won their respective weight classes. Miller Grove qualified six wrestlers for sectionals.
Tucker got a gold medal performance from Diego Bautista at 132 as four Tigers qualified for sectionals.
Alema Favors led four Arabia Mountain sectional qualifiers by winning the gold in the 126 pound division. He also won the 126 class at county and it is his second consecutive area gold medal after wining the 113 division in 2012 before taking fourth place in the Class AAA state meet a year ago.
Dunwoody's Sunny Sharma was second in county and first in area a year ago in the 106 weight class and upped his performance by winning both county and area titles in the 113 weight class. Dunwoody qualified four for sectionals.
Clarkston put four into the sectionals and Martin Luther King Jr. place two in sectionals led by Brian Wilson who took gold at 220.
DeKalb County participants will compete in the West Sectional at Allatoona on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 8-9).
Druid Hills finished seventh in the Area 2-AAAAAA Tournament at Rockdale County and qualified five for the East Sectional at Chattahoochee this coming weekend.
Freshman Noah Floyd was the highest finishers for the Red Devils as he took a silver medal in the 120 weight class.
The Lithonia Bulldogs finished second to host Marist by a score of 225.5 to 155 while qualifying 13 wrestlers for the West Sectional at Pickens on Friday and Saturday.
The Bulldogs picked up gold medals from Kirkglen Hudson (106), Shamel Findley (113) and Davion Findley (182). Hudson also took gold at the DeKalb County Championships.
Chamblee took fourth while qualifying eight wrestlers for the sectional led by silver medalists Yalwaiker Eshete (113) and Tyron Carter (132).
Stone Mountain had the only other DeKalb gold medalist in Damion Schofield at 170. The Pirates had four sectional qualifiers along with Redan and Columbia put one through to sectionals.
The McNair Mustangs came up just short of second in Area 3-AAA falling just 4.5 points behind Dawson County and qualifying 11 wrestlers for the West Sectional at Ringgold on Friday and Saturday.
Host Woodward Academy took first with 284 points followed by Dawson County with 200 and McNair with 195.5.
Senior Khalil Williams was the only gold medal winner for the Mustangs as he won his second consecutive area title in the 120 weight class to go with two consecutive DeKalb County 120 titles. Williams finished fourth overall at state in 2012.
McNair picked up four silver medals to aid their third place team finish.
Towers qualified a pair of wrestlers for sectionals led by sophomore Derival Stevens who took the 182 class title.
DeKalb County wrestlers begin their march to the Traditional State Wrestling Championships this weekend as they compete in their respective area tournaments.
The top four finishers in each weight class advances to the State Sectionals on February 8 (Friday) and February 9 (Saturday).
Area 6-AAAAA gets underway tonight at Dunwoody as Round 1 gets underway at 6 p.m. The semifinals begin at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday with finals scheduled for 4 p.m.
Area 6 includes Arabia Mountain, Clarkston, Dunwoody, Lakeside, M.L. King, Miller Grove, North Atlanta, Southwest DeKalb, Stephenson and Tucker.
Southwest DeKalb won the team duals Area title and Stephenson was the runner-up.
Area 6-AAAA is being hosted by Marist on Saturday with the first round starting at 9 a.m. Teams from Chamblee, Columbia, Lithonia, Marist, Redan, Stone Mountain and Banneker will compete to qualify for State Sectionals.
Marist was the team duals champion from Area 6-AAAA with Lithonia coming in second.
The Area 3-AAA Tournament gets underway at Woodward on Saturday as first round action begins at 9 a.m. Teams from Blessed Trinity, Dawson County, Decatur, Fannin County, Henry County, Jackson, McNair, Pike County, St. Pius, Towers and Woodward Academy are competing.
McNair was the area runner-up in the team duals competition.
Rockdale County is hosting the Area 2-AAAAAA Tournament on Saturday with matches set to begin at approximately 8 a.m. Alcovy, Druid Hills, Lovejoy, Luella, Morrow, Newton and Rockdale County are the competing teams.
The Marist War Eagles swept the final three championship matches to get past Southwest DeKalb 223-210 to win the 2013 William S. Venable DeKalb County Wrestling Championship at Tucker High School on Saturday.
The wins by Kenneth Brinson in 195 pound division, Jack Trainor in the 220 division and Steven Wallace in the 285 division gave the War Eagles the title. Marist also had gold medal winners in the 138 division by Mel Bethune and the 152 division by Matt Andres for a total haul of five in the championships.
Brinson won by default over Miller Grove's Wesley Williams 4:32 into the match to take the 195 title. Trainor followed with a 10-2 decision over Lithonia's Devon Wallace and Steven Wallace rounded out the final three sweep with a 13-9 decision over Miller Grove's Thadius Nelson.
Southwest DeKalb's second place finish was fueled by gold medal performances from Abdur-Rahman Yasir at 145 and Justin Hussein at 182. Yasir scored a pin fall over Lithonia's Chris Nelson at the 3:38 mark of the 145 division final. Hussein battled Lakeside's Alex Larotta in the 182 division and took a close 16-13 decision.
Defending champion McNair had a pair of gold medal performers in Khalil Williams (120) and Zeontaye McCoy (132) to finish third overall with 190 points. Williams defended his 120 division title with a 7-1 decision of St. Pius' Quinn Peragine. McCoy scored a major decision 9-1 victory over Chamblee's Tyrone Carter at 132.
Lithonia finished just behind McNair with 188 points led by the 106 division champion Kirkglen Hudson and three silver medalists in Shamel Findley (113), Chris Nelson (145) and Devon Wallace (220). Hudson won the smallest weight class with a 17-14 victory over Muadh As-Siddiq of Southwest DeKalb.
Stephenson's Darian Perry won the 170 pound division and then tacked on the William S. Venable MVP Award in leading the Jaguars to a fifth place finish overall with 122 points. Perry won a 15-0 technical fall decision over Damian Schofield of Stone Mountain to take the 170 class.
Deunte Mosley led Stone Mountain to an eighth place finish with 82 points by winning the 160 division gold and Alema Favors helped Arabia Mountain finish in the Top 10 by taking the 126 class title. Mosley knocked off Marist's Nick McGrath 8-5 for the 160 title while Favors took a 13-2 major decision over Southwest DeKalb's Devin Childs.
Dunwoody's Sunny Sharma rounded out the gold medal winners as he took the 113 division title. Sharma took a 12-1 major decision over Lithonia's Shamel Findley for the 113 title.
DeKalb County Schools takes wrestling to the mat in a very serious manner. The schools own 26 state team-wrestling championships and an amazing 309 individual state titles since 1961.
Dequan Warner, the 2007 class AAAA 112 state champion, won the 2006 class AAAA 103 lb. class state title as a freshman with a 32-0 record.
Columbia leads the current 18-school contingent in state titles with five (1972 to 1973, 1976 to 1977, 1988). The now defunct Briarcliff and Walker High Schools hold six and five of the state titles, respectively. Chamblee (1974, 1979) and Redan (1983 to 1984) are the only other schools with more than one title.
Lakeside won the last team title in 1997. Towers (1975), Avondale (1983), Cross Keys (1961), Stone Mountain (1969) and Lithonia (1971) also captured state titles. Towers, despite only one state title to its credit, holds the county lead in Top 10 finishes in the state competition with 28. Avondale has finished in the Top 10 23 times and Columbia is third with 19. The county has 15 of the current 18 schools with at least six or more top ten finishes.
The 309 individual state titles include 57 participants that won 2 or more titles. Bucky Harrelson of Briarcliff won 4 titles (1961 to 1964) to lead the county and was later tied for that distinction when Lithonia's Arty McGuire won four from 1973 to 1976. Bill Glass (Druid Hills, 1965 to 1967), Craig Cummings (Sequoyah, 1967 to 1969), John Kalvelage (Lakeside, 1969 to 1971), Kirk Hoffman (Clarkston, 1978 to 1980), Kevin Pride (Towers, 1979 to 1981), J.J. Mathis (Clarkston, 1987 to 1989), Charles Cloud (Columbia, 1987 to 1989) and Richard Robinson (Tucker, 1991 to 1993) all won three state individual titles.
Six schools hold over 20 individual state titles led by Briarcliff with 40. Towers (28), Columbia (26), Avondale (25), Walker (23) and Redan (22) round out the six schools.