With seeding completed this week, all that's left to do is wrestle.
"We're kind of trying to treat it like every normal day of practice," said Cass coach D.L. Koontz of the week leading up to the Area 7-AAAA tournament.
Woodland coach Adrian Tramutola said he cut practice down a bit, but still got a good week out of his wrestlers.
"We've shortened them up a little bit, worked hard and got out the room. ... We're looking to get back on the mat after last Friday's fiasco," Tramutola said, referencing the Wildcats' 45-36 loss to McEachern.
Woodland has had a week to stew over that loss whereas the Colonels, as well as Cartersville, wrestled Wednesday for Senior Night.
Cass beat Jonesboro, which brought just four wrestlers, 72-0 and stopped McEachern, 51-9.
Alec Rivera (103 pounds), Rashad Williams (112), Sammy Rosario (125), Austin Buffaloe (130), Charlie Thacker (135), Ryan Barnett (140), Alex Kanocz (152), Hunter Purvine (189), Albert Catron (215) and Max Smith (285) won for the Colonels. In a mix-up, Barnett, who typically wrestlers junior varsity, actually won against a 145-pounder, while Rosario won by minor decision over one of the Indians' better wrestlers.
Koontz, who said he was pleased with where his wrestlers were seeded, thinks his qualifiers from a year ago are at an advantage.
"They've been here before, and the huge part is it takes all that nervousness away from them," he said, adding his guys have wrestled everyone in their area. "They know who to expect, what to expect. ... You can't beat experience, you can't coach it."
Garvin Edwards, the Purple Hurricanes' coach, also thinks his wrestlers are rearing to compete at the area traditional tournament.
"I think they've been working hard, and I think they're going to be ready to wrestle," Edwards said, expressing some concern for possible bad weather. "I hope we get this thing going and are able to have this tournament."
Adairsville coach Patrick Konen also sounded excited for the area tournament, especially considering how his guys have looked lately.
"We're peaking at the right time. We're not injured. Our kids are fresh," he said. "There's kids we've lost to at the beginning of the season, and we wrestled last weekend at the Bowdon tournament and, all of a sudden, we're beating them. ... We feel good where we're at."
While any coach would dream of qualifying a full roster, that usually does not pan out, but Bartow coaches still sound hopeful for high numbers to qualify for sectionals.
"If you can qualify over half your team for section, you're in a good position," said Konen, who is taking 11 wrestlers, six who have been seeded -- Kevin Grimaldo (112, 3rd), Hayden Randolph (119, 4th); Virgil Gentry (125, 3rd), Cody Tincher (135, 3rd), Aaron Wooldridge (171, 4th) and Dalton Johnson (215, 1st). "That would be very remarkable [to have six or seven guys qualify]. The consensus is we wrestle in the toughest region [7-AA]. If you could get out of area and into sectionals, you have a very good shot qualifying for state."
Like Adairsville, Cartersville also could make the claim that its area, 7, is the toughest in its classification, AAA.
"It's certainly one of the toughest areas in the state," Edwards said. "It's going to be real hard. You got Heritage [Catoosa], LaFayette and Gilmer, Dalton and Murray [County]. ... It's going to be a real meat grinder to get out of it.
"You'd like to have your whole team [qualify but] I don't know if that's realistic ... but I would like to take eight or 10 [wrestlers]" to state.
The top four individuals at each weight class move on to sectionals next weekend, so a top-four seed is welcoming.
"I was actually pleased with our seeds. We snuck some in that we thought would be a toss up and managed to get 'em [seeded]," Koontz said.
Rivera is seeded second for Cass, behind Woodland's Chad Hawkins, and other highly seeded Colonels wrestlers are Nick Sims (112, 4th), Rosario (119, 1st), Douglas Nuckols (125, 4th) and Catron (5th).
Koontz was surprised with guys like Sims and Catron's seeding.
"[Sims' seeding is] kind of surprising because he didn't have as many matches at 12," he said. "[Catron has] only been [wrestling] since January," which is good that he got seeded.
Tramutola said he was proud of his wrestlers getting seeded -- Hawkins, Ryan Cecil (130), Andrew Henson (135), Matt Martel (140) and Trent Gresham (145) got top seeds -- but knows the weekend will tell the story.
"They've done a good job throughout the year to earn that seeding," he said. "But I told the guys, 'Seeds are made up by a couple of coaches who haven't wrestled in years. Kids will wrestle it out and ultimately decide who goes on to the section tournament.'
"We haven't won [an area traditional tournament] in four years. I think we're right where we need to be. Now, we just gotta go in there and wrestle."
The Area 7-AA tournament begins today at Dade County, the Area 7-AAA tournament is at Allatoona and Creekview hosts the Area 7-AAAA tournament. Each area tournament is scheduled to conclude Saturday.