Lo­cal squads are hop­ing to bring home a ti­tle

The Covington News - - Sports -

af­ter be­ing de­feated by Ring­gold in the fi­nals.

East­side is con­sid­ered the fa­vorite to win the tra­di­tional ti­tle, but will have a tough hill to climb at the tour­na­ment with the likes of Ring­gold, Tucker, North­west Whit­field and Stock­bridge, the de­fend­ing Class AAAA tra­di­tional state cham­pi­ons.

None­the­less, the suc­cess of the Ea­gles this sea­son has Blake­man ex­pect­ing his team to dom­i­nate by leav­ing ev­ery­thing on the mat.

“This is it,” said Blake­man. “You might as well make it count now.”

The Ea­gles will fea­ture 10 wrestlers at the state tour­na­ment, in­clud­ing de­fend­ing AAAA State Cham­pion Joel Stafford (119 pounds), who cap­tured his sec­ond area ti­tle last week.

Other area cham­pi­ons rep­re­sent­ing East­side are Trevor Bai­ley (135), Jon Palmer (171), Ardest “A-Train” Carter (189) and Karl Wil­liams (215).

Bai­ley also earned his sec­ond area cham­pi­onship at 135 pounds. Palmer and Carter each cap­tured their first area ti­tle, while Wil­liams, who sat out last sea­son with a knee in­jury, nabbed his sec­ond area ti­tle.

Cody Dur­den (103), along with, Ja­markus Giggs (112) and Bran­don Cole (130) didn’t leave Win­der empty-handed af­ter all three wrestlers placed sec­ond head­ing into the state tour­na­ment.

This year East­side wants to leave Class AAAA on a high note be­fore mov­ing to AAA next sea­son. De­spite the sweet­est of vic­to­ries or bit­ter­est of de­feats the Ea­gles have en­dured, Blake­man is ex­tremely proud of his wrestlers, par­tic­u­larly his se­nior class. It has been with him the long­est since his ten­ure at East­side for a tremen­dous sea­son.

“So far, the goals that we wanted to ac­com­plish we have met,” said Blake­man. “We are wrestling well and we can’t wait to get started.”

Mean­while, the evo­lu­tion of the New­ton wrestling squad is ap­par­ent by the tremen­dous growth and progress the team has made head­ing into its tour­na­ment.

Al­though Union Grove ran away with the Area-2 ti­tle, the Rams tied with Redan for sec­ond over­all. How­ever, New­ton still made the state tour­na­ment by one pin.

This year New­ton has 11 wrestlers qual­i­fy­ing to com­pete at state, the most wrestlers com­ing from the area.

Top wrestlers for the Rams who placed sec­ond last week in­clude Corey Ware (119), Aaron Reynolds (130), Daniel Men­doza (135), Joey Joseph (140), Hosea Hines (171) and Mike Fel­lows (HWT).

Third place fin­ish­ers for New­ton are Ryan Mitchell (112), Carl Collins (125) and Allen Aman­cio (215).

For the sec­ond-year Al­covy Tigers, they con­tinue to show signs of great­ness and are ea­ger to make some noise as next sea­son’s Class AAAA con­tender.

The Tigers (29-4), who were de­feated by Dac­ula at the Area8 Duel Tour­na­ment last month which kept them from ad­vanc­ing to Ma­con, will fea­ture six wrestlers at state af­ter plac­ing fifth at the Area-8 tour­na­ment in Win­der.

“I got a great group of kids that come into the prac­tice room and work re­ally hard,” said Al­covy head coach Mike Mostek. “They do what we ask and they keep im­prov­ing.”

The six who will rep­re­sent Al­covy in­clude ju­niors Adam Pol­lard (130) and Malachi Out­law (160), who both re­cently cap­tured their sec­ond area ti­tle.

Corey Reid (140) placed sec­ond, while Travis Knight (135) fin­ished third. T.C. Jack­son (189) and Jon Sey­more (103) each earned the fi­nal two spots at the state tour­na­ment.

“I think we well get bet­ter with the group that we have,” said Mostek, “and come next year, we will have a strong show­ing.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Gym rats: New­ton’s Aaron Reynolds plants a move on an op­pos­ing East­side wrestler in ear­lier ac­tion this year. Both squads will com­pete in the 2008 GHSA State Tra­di­tional/ In­di­vid­ual Wrestling Cham­pi­onships in Du­luth this week­end.

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