In the realm of the high school wrestling, programs have two separate paths to capturing championship hardware. The first of those starts Thursday at the Team Dual Championships held at the Macon Coliseum.
Unlike the traditional tournament that will be held Feb. 8-10, also at the Coliseum, with competition for individual titles, the duals award the title by way of competition as a team through multiple matches. In each round, teams compete against one another in match format among weight classes with the team earning the most combined points in each head-to-head match advancing.
Four area high school teams will be among the ones taking part — West Laurens, Veterans, Perry and Mount de Sales. West Laurens is the most recent Middle Georgia school to claim a duals state title, doing so in 2007.
The Cavaliers will be one of eight teams in the 1A bracket. The 2A and 3A brackets will also be made up of eight teams. All other classifications will have 16 teams taking part in the double-elimination format, meaning that one loss will not eliminate a team from the tournament. Instead, a team can battle its way back through the consolation bracket until its second loss.
Perry starts competition in 4A at 12:30 p.m. Thursday against Blessed Trinity and will take on the winner of North Oconee and Gilmer County. Gilmer will be out for redemption after last year ended a run of four state titles in a row. West Laurens starts out at 12:30 p.m. Thursday against Central Carrollton. The winner faces either Heritage or Cross Creek.
Veterans also begins action at 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the 5A side of things, taking on Whitewater. The winner between those two will face either Locust Grove or Riverwood.
Action will continue in 4A, 5A, 6A and 7A on Friday. The 1A, 2A and 3A teams start their duals matches on Friday. It’ll all set the table for Saturday’s final matches. In 1A, Mount de Sales and Wesleyan are scheduled on the mat at 3 p.m. The winner faces the winner of Turner County and Trion.