This past weekend, Team Georgia Wrestling hosted its annual Freestyle & Greco State tournament at Mountain View HS. Between the two styles, there were over 600 participants – the most ever for the all-classification tournament.

So, below is my run-down of the tournament – what we did well, and what we didn’t.

The Good

Because the numbers were so good, there were some incredibly deep brackets.

Coming to mind first, was Cadet 113, which featured nationally ranked 4A state champ Vincent Mannella, returning state runner-up Julian Farber, state placers C.J. Shadinger, Brent Parivechio, and Kids’ state champs Caleb Henson and Jacob Pedraza. The finals was an absolute barn-burner with Mannella winning a tight 18-12 match over Caleb Henson (who beat Pedraza and Farber on his was to the finals).

Some other great match-ups in the Cadet and Junior divisions:
-Cadet 120 which saw Nicholas Masters defeating Jaxon Smith 14-14 on criteria.
-Cadet 132 had Paul Watckins teching Bryson Neace in the finals.
-Junior 120 with Tyler Hunt teching Ivan Arguello
-Junior 126 saw a great match between 3x State Champ Koby Milner and 2x State Champ Kyle Golhoffer, with Milner pulling away late.
-Junior 138 had Davion Fairley teching his way through a bracket that featured multiple state champs and placers.
-Junior 145 saw Denton Spencer perform in dominant fashion.
-And in Junior 152, Justin Ruffin showed why he is the best wrestler in the state.

As the Olympic Styles Director for Team Georgia, I am incredibly excited about the National Dual teams for Cadets and Juniors, as well as our National Team for Fargo.

I really hope we keep this participation trend up, and more and more kids come out to the all-classification tournament. 😉

Also, hats off to Mountain View High School, the booster club, and Coach Gassman; you guys put on a tremendous event.

The Bad

First and foremost, while the numbers were great, I’m still incredibly surprised by our ‘elite’ kids that simply chose not to participate. I’m not going to beat anyone over the head with how much fs/g helps your wrestling, but if you’re sitting at home or just doing folkstyle this summer, you’re taking a step back. Period. The best kids in the country compete at National Duals and Fargo. End of story.

Secondly, the lack of knowledge in the rules by coaches is disappointing. Yes, I’m super excited to see everyone out, but the State Tournament shouldn’t be you or your athletes first tournament of the year. It shows both in your athletes performance and your performance from the corner. No, a reversal isn’t worth two points, and, yes, you get 2 points for correct throws, even if there wasn’t any exposure. Study the sport. Know the rules. It’ll make you and your kids better.

The Ugly

As for the ugly, I’m going to take personal responsibility: the officiating. The truth of the matter is that we’ve become a victim of our own success. We have so many kids wrestling that we ran 9 mats for folkstyle, and could have truly used another 2 or 3. And with the required three-man mechanics for fs/g, it puts an incredible strain on resources.

But with money and state championships on the line, matches should not be decided by high school aged kids who don’t have a full understanding of the rules or techniques. This is neither fair to the kids wrestling or the kids officiating.

Thus, I’ve been tasked with recruiting knowledgable and proficient refs for the state tournament next year.


In closing, this was still a wonderful event, and if you didn’t come out, you missed a great opportunity to compete with the best kids in the state.

I hope to see everyone back out next year.


Please Note: My opinions are mine and mine alone and do not represent those of Team Georgia or anyone else on the board

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