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Championship month begins for wrestling

By Brian Paglia

bpaglia@news-daily.com

Call it "championship month."

Each weekend in February is filled with high-stakes, compelling wrestling starting today with the Area Traditional Tournaments.

Three tournaments will be held locally in the Southern Crescent: Area 3-AAAA at Ola, Area 4-AAAA at Jonesboro and Area 4-AAA at Locust Grove.

Wrestlers will be seeded in 12-man brackets, and the top four in each weight class advance to the sectionals for a chance to qualify for the GHSA Traditional Wrestling State Tournament in Gwinnett.

Here's a quick look at each of the local area tournaments:

Area 4-AAAA

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Where: Jonesboro High

What to know: Lovejoy's Giovante Ortiz (140 pounds) is a perfect 40-0 this season and coming off a first-place finish at the Burnt Mountain Classic at Pickens County this past weekend.

Area 3-AAAA

When: Friday, 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.

Where: Ola High

What to know: Ola and Union Grove have the big names, but don't sleep on Woodland's Justin Kerce (125) and Omar Waller (189), both of whom were Henry County champs and are ranked in Class AAAA.

Area 4-AAA

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Where: Locust Grove High

What to know: Henry County junior Dalvin Tomlinson (285) has won 103 straight matches since losing his first varsity match as a freshman. Tomlinson was the Class AA state champ last season.