High school wrestling teams in the north Gwinnett area have been hard at work preparing for upcoming state duals.
Dual competitions differ from tournaments in wrestling because they pit two teams head-to-head with each team putting forward one wrestler from each weight class. The result of every match then correlates with a points value for the victor, and the team with the most points after all the matches wins the dual.
North Gwinnett High School head wrestling coach Kyle McKee described his team’s recent region duals at Mountain View High School as, “playoffs … This starts the qualifying process for the state duals.”
In addition to qualifying for the state duals, McKee’s team has recently put in strong performances at the Lassiter’s Trojan Duals and the Jefferson Invitational. They also concluded the month with a runner-up finish at the Gwinnett County Championships.
“We have a great group of seniors this year that are really after accomplishing something special,” McKee said. “Their leadership as a group is really helping mold our younger wrestlers.”
In regard to the state duals and following individual tournaments, he also added, “I’m excited to see how many kids we can get on the medal stand come February.”
At Buford High School, head wrestling coach Tom Beuglas looks forward to the addition of more upper weight wrestlers to his lineup. He explained that most of the upper weights also play football, so they missed the early part of the season as the Wolves’ football team sealed its third consecutive state championship.
Even in their absence, however, Buford wrestling has had a successful December, winning a tournament in Cleveland, Tennessee, followed shortly by a victory at the Gwinnett County Championships. The Wolves capped 2021 by placing eighth in a national tournament Dec. 22 and 23 in Orlando, Florida.
Buford wrestling qualified in the area duals at Habersham Central High School on Jan. 7 and 8.
Nick Brenner, head wrestling coach at Lanier High School, feels confident going into the state duals. His team boasts a 12-7 duals record this season, which was highlighted by a 4-0 victory in the Comet Clash Duals on Dec. 11.
“Our dual lineup has changed quite a bit throughout the season due to injury and illness,” Brenner said, “but we are excited to bring a strong lineup … and see where we stack up against the rest of our region opponents.”
The wrestling teams compete in their state preliminary duals on Saturday, Jan. 15, for the chance to move on to the state duals on Saturday, Jan. 22.