Eagles emerge on top
Bulldogs, Pats take second and third at competition

CONYERS - Some of the area's top grapplers were in action Saturday at Heritage High School in the East Metro Duals.

Of the five schools competing in the event, Eastside took the top spot after going undefeated. The Eagles went 4-0 against the varsity squads and also won a match against a compilation all-star JV team.

The Eagles topped Woodland-Stockbridge (75-0), Rockdale (42-32), Heritage (44-30), Salem (60-23) and the JV all-star team (77-6).

Eastside had five wrestlers go 5-0 in their matches, and four wrestlers go 4-1.

Cody Durden (103 pounds), Jamarcus Griggs (112), Joel Stafford (119), Trevor Bailey (135) and Ardest Carter (189) all went 5-0 on the day.

Michael Green (125), Dalton Bragg (140), David Bender (152) and Jonathan Palmer (171) also had solid days on the mat, going 4-1.

Eastside coach Brandon Blakeman said he was pleased with the win, but he stills sees room for improvement.

"It wasn't our best wrestling, but they gutted it out when they knew what was on the line. This was their first year wrestling at the East Metro and they didn't want to come in and have a bad showing," Blakeman said. "All-in-all it was a good day. I think they're just a little worn out. Still, they knew how to step it up when it was necessary."

Eastside is still undefeated on the season and is currently the measuring stick in the area with wins over its 8-AAAA opponents. The Eagles hit the mats again this Friday and Saturday in the South Metro Duals.

Heritage took second at the event, going 3-1. The Patriots did not wrestle against the all-star JV team.

"They were extremely good. We're learning and getting better every week," Heritage coach Randy Hooley said. "Eastside beat us last Saturday 67-10 and they beat us today 44-30. We're working hard and getting better. They're starting to believe in what they can do."

Heritage had four wrestlers go 4-0, and three went 3-1.

John Wigington (160), Cameron Macke (145), Travis Wynne (285) and Eric Lauritsen (130) all went undefeated on the day.

Cody Shubert (112), Steven Crawley (119), Wade Powell (135) and Abe Williams (215) finished with 3-1 marks.

Rockdale took third in the tourney after finishing 3-2 on the day.

"It was a great showing for our guys. They came out and battled Eastside real hard and only lost by 10 points," Rockdale coach Craig Hargrove said. "I think that if we had wrestled with the same intensity against Eastside, we would have had a better showing against Heritage. We came out a little flat and they (Heritage) got the best of us today. They're a well-coached team, Heritage is, but we'll be ready for them next time."

Rockdale had four wrestlers go 5-0 on the day in Luis Ponce (125), John Collins (140), Rashaud Ferrell (215) and Jimmy Brown (171).

Lloyd Martell (189) and Ahmed Burton (145) both finished with 4-1 marks.

Rockdale also wrestles again at the South Metro Duals next weekend.

Salem finished 2-3 on the day, but coach Tim Owens said he saw some bright spots.

"The meat of our lineup did real well," he said. "They wrestled hard all day."

Salem was led by Peter Yates (152) who went 5-0 on the day. Sammy Ahonen (160) and Bobby Nance (130) finished 4-1.

Salem wrestles Tuesday at Dacula before competing in the South Metro Duals next weekend.

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans@rockdalecitizen.com.