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Derrick Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Alexander senior Little Nelson will compete in the 160-pound weight class at the Class AAAAAA traditional championships.

The GHSA wrestling state championships opens on Thursday with 17 wrestlers from the county taking a shot at a state title.

Alexander will be looking to defend its Class AAAAAA title against a challenging field.

The Cougars have 12 wrestlers and an alternate heading to the Macon Centreplex to compete in the state championship. New Manchester had three wrestlers to make it through the Class AAAAAA Sectional meet last weekend.

Lithia Springs is represented by two wrestlers at the Class AAAAA meet.

“We are very excited to have gotten these three guys through to the state meet,” New Manchester coach Jerry Flippin said. “It is going to be a challenge but we continue to see our program grow each year.”

Alexander had four wrestlers to finish runner-up at the sectional meet. Seniors  Vinnie Ferrara (126-pound weight class), Zayd Ansari (138), Little Nelson (152) and DeAndre Burton (160) were all runner-up at the meet.

With eight other wrestlers, the Cougars are one of the favorites for the state title.

“We got 12 guys going to state and that’s over 90 percent of your team,” Ferrara said. “We are excited because we got a lot of people through.”

Alexander finished runner-up to Richmond Hill at the team dual championship last month in Macon. Richmond Hill had all 14 of its wrestlers to qualify for state. One of its wrestlers will go as a sectional champion.

Alexander will likely get competition from Richmond Hill, Creekview, Valdosta and area foe South Paulding at the state meet.

“We feel we should be very competitive at the state meet,”  South Paulding coach Michael Kositzke said. “There are about four or five teams that could win it. You have to be ready to wrestle when you get down there.”

Alexander wrestlers say they are ready redeem themselves after what they term ‘a disappointing’ showing at the sectional meet.

“We are disappointed that we didn’t wrestle as well as we wanted to,” Nelson said. “We are excited to get to Macon and compete for a state title.”

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