The Region 5AAAAAA runner-up Warriors advanced five of their seven wrestlers into the’s semifinals following Friday’s action in the Class AAAAAA traditional sectional at Kennesaw Mountain.
Cherokee saw Blake Walker, Andrew Torrence, Dusty Phyfe, John Metcalf and Brady Sandercock go 2-0 to advance and automatically qualify for next week’s state championships at the Macon Centreplex.
Walker won a 17-2 technical fall in the quarterfinal against East Coweta’s Matthew Durham at 113 pounds, while Torrence pinned Mill Creek’s Austin Burel in 3 minutes, 40 seconds at 126 to advance.
Phyfe, a No. 3 seed, scored a 4-2 overtime win against fourth-seeded Demetrik McClaine of South Cobb at 152 to move on. Phyfe and McClaine battled to a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation, but Phyfe scored a takedown with 22 seconds on the clock in the extra frame to get the victory.
John Metcalf escaped with an 11-9 triumph over Marietta’s Jonathan Gates at 160, while Sandercock held on for a 6-5 victory against Rene Gutierrez of Kennesaw Mountain at 170.
Hunter Burton, who is still alive at 182 pounds, needs to win his first match in the consolation round today to qualify for state championship berth.
“We brought seven and I have six still alive, with five in the semifinals,” Cherokee coach Lance Riccio said. “I’d call that a very good day. We talked about peaking at the right time of the season, and they did that (Friday). Phyfe upset that Collins Hill kid (Jimmy Gail) in the first round and he just kept battling from there.
“I’m psyched about (today). We have five that are guaranteed to go to state, and I think we can get six, so we’ll see what happens.”
Etowah moved three of its eight wrestlers into the semifinals. Dylan Wagner won 7-0 against Keywan Gaines of Douglas County at 113 pounds, while Leonard Payton produced a technical fall over Mountain View’s Kenny Cook at 120. Maveric Rechsteiner won via pin in 3:06 against Andy Velez of Mill Creek at 195 pounds.
Also alive for Etowah are Josh Thomas (106), Alex Rusk (126), Brandon Reibly (152) and Brad Morgan (220).
“We brought eight and seven guys still have a shot,” Etowah coach Charles Higdon said. “I hate that we lost that one, but I think all of the guys wrestled hard. I’m really excited about Wagner at 113. He’s doing well. Leonard and Maveric are guys that are doing what we expected them to do. They’ll be some great matchups (today) and we’ll really get a look at what we have.”
Woodstock coach Michael Powell has one wrestler guaranteed to participate at the state meet. Heavyweight Wes Pella recorded two pins in advancing to today’s semifinal, including a quarterfinal fall in 5:22 over Hillgrove’s Jaylan Reid.
Competing today in the consolation brackets for the Wolverines are Tristan Watson (113), Cody Beach (120), Zach Shareef (138) and Chris Nani (145).
“We brought seven guys and five are still left,” Powell said. “I thought the guys did a great job overall. I’m really proud of them. We had some tough matchups early against some ranked guys, so those were tough to pull out.
“(Today) is money time. Pella is already in. Now, we just have to get him into the best possible place and have our other guys win some matches to improve their seeding, too.”