Sonoraville proved it belonged with 10-time state champion Jefferson on the first day of the Georgia traditional wrestling tournament Thursday at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth.
The Firebirds of coach Eric Elrod took 14 wrestlers into the Class AA field and escaped the first round with 10 still in the championship bracket. Jefferson, which took 13, also has 10 in the quarterfinals. Elrod was pleased with his team's performance, even though three Firebirds lost close matches.
"Normally I can scope around and be a fan for a second, but there were so many dogfight matches in double-A that I couldn't look away, and not just our matches," Elrod said. "If the next two days are like the first day, it's going to be a dogfight. We lost an overtime match, a one-point match and a two-point match. We're going to have to win those types from here on. We're going to have to get some wrestleback points from those guys that lost today."
In Class AAA, Heritage has seven of its 10 wrestlers in the championship bracket, the same number as defending state champion and pre-tournament favorite Gilmer County. LaFayette, which took eight to the tournament, has five in the championship bracket.
Northwest Whitfield has two of its five wrestlers alive in Class AAAA. The Class A competition starts today. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be completed today, with the consolation and championship finals Saturday.