Etowah and Cherokee are fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Class AAAAAA team standings. The Eagles have 56, while the Warriors are settled in with 49. Woodstock has 14 points and is tied for 30th.
Archer leads the field with 203 points, followed by Camden County and Collins Hill, which are tied for second with 90.5.
Cherokee’s Blake Walker advanced to the finals for the first time in his career after defeating Archer's DaQuan Olbert 4-1 at 113 pounds.
Walker led 2-0 in the first period and picked up an early takedown in the second for a 4-0 advantage. Olbert earned an escape point late in the frame, but Walker held on in the third period to get the victory.
His reward will be a tough matchup against Collins Hill's Sean Russell, who is ranked sixth in the nation at 113 pounds, according to Amateur Wrestling News.
Cherokee's Brady Sandercock is also vying for his first title. He upset one of the No. 1 seeds, Arthur Walthour of Camden County, 5-3 at 170 pounds to reach the finals. Sandercock led 3-2 in the second period, but allowed Walthour to knot the contest at 3-all with a minute remaining entering the final stanza.
Sandercock, however, caught Walthour making a mistake and scored a 2-point takedown with 27 seconds remaining before securing the win. He will face Marietta’s Lawton Ward in the final.
“We have two in the finals, and Andrew Torrence still has a shot at third at 126,” Cherokee coach Lance Riccio said. “I’m really excited and happy for all of my guys.
“Blake has a very tough match against Russell. It will be a rematch of their battle (at sectionals) last week, and this will be the third or fourth time Brady and Ward have wrestled, so that should be a good match.”
For Etowah, Joey Payton outlasted Archer’s Sam Bullard at 120 pounds to post a 14-6 win.
Payton collected an early takedown and 2-point near-fall for a 4-0 advantage and never looked back. He led 8-3 at the end of the first period and 12-6 at the conclusion of the second when he scored a 2-point reversal with 3 seconds left. Payton grabbed another reversal with five seconds remaining in the third for the eight-point victory.
Payton also has a tough finals match, facing Collins Hill’s Ryan Milhoff, who is ranked sixth in the nation.
Etowah's Maveric Rechsteiner eventually wore down his opponent, Parkview's Harrison Schmid, at 195. With the score tied 5-all in the second, Rechsteiner collected a 2-point takedown with 5 seconds remaining and went ahead 10-7 early in the third before settling on an 18-9 victory.
“Joey and Maveric are such great kids,” Etowah coach Charles Higdon said. “It’s great to see this happen to them. They’ve worked hard all season and in their careers and they deserve what’s happening to them. They both have defending state champions in the finals, so it will be tough.”
Creekview proved it belongs in the Class AAAAA discussion.
After finishing among the top four at this season’s state duals, the Grizzlies are third overall at the traditional meet with 67 points entering today’s matches. Pope leads with 176 points and Ware County (86) is second. The Grizzlies have to hold off Whitewater (65) and Ola (63) for third.
Joseph Sorrentino dominated in his semifinal match against Ware County’s Jacob Allen, recording a 12-4 victory at 182 pounds. He will face Pope’s Brooks Climmons, a Region 7AAAAA rival who is ranked No. 1 nationally, for the championship.
Creekview had two other wrestlers — Hunter Smith (160) and Hunter Udall (170) — in the semifinals, but neither came out on top.
“One of our three guys made the finals,” Creekview coach Wyatt Wilkie said. “It’s the first time Creekview’s ever had a guy wrestling for a championship, so I’m excited. We have four other guys that are going to place, but we’re not done. We’re trying to place as high as we can.”