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Bulldogs claim title at duals
Newton wrestlers 4th

COVINGTON - Rockdale's wrestling team continued its impressive start to the season by winning the Cross Bones Duals at East Paulding High School on Saturday.

The Bulldogs weren't the only local wrestlers to show their moves on the mat as Newton finished fourth in the Titan Duals and Alcovy came in ninth in a 24-team at the Panther Invitational. Salem was in action at the Norcross Duals.

ROCKDALE

The Bulldogs started the tournament strong against Douglas County with a 78-6 win.

After beating Hillgrove (57-18) and East Paulding (46-30), the Bulldogs took care of Allatoona (54-28) to get to the finals.

In the championship match, Rockdale squeaked by Etowah 39-37 to win the duals.

"It was a great day of wrestling and the team is starting to wrestle as a team," Rockdale coach Craig Hargrove said.

As a team, the Bulldogs are 14-1 for the season.

Four wrestlers won all five of their matches in the duals: Jake Morris (112 pounds), Luis Ponce (130), Kafuba Donzon (160) and Rashaud Ferrell (189).

Going 4-1 were Hylan Taylor (119), Eddy Francis (135), EJ Banks (140), Muhammad Bois (152), Lloyd Martell (215) and Grady Jarrett (285).

NEWTON

Newton (12-3) showed that even though it has a first-year coach in Wes Cooper, it still has a talented squad.

The Rams had three wins and two losses in the tournament to earn their fourth-place finish.

One of their wins was against Area 2-AAAAA foe Redan, 56-10.

Their other wins were against Chattahoocee and Clarke Central.

"We wrestled well early in the tournament. We faced Whitewater in our last pool match to see who went to the championship. They are one of the top teams in (4-A) and we took one on the chin," Cooper said. "We were interested to see how we would respond to the loss and I don't think we handled it very well."

In the consolation round, the Rams lost their second match of the tournament to a South Forsyth team that they beat earlier this year at the Spartan Duals.

"We have to learn to bounce back from a tough loss and get focused for the next match in the future," Cooper said. "Overall, I was pleased with our effort on the day and I'm very excited about where we are heading as a team.

Individually, Aaron Reynolds was 5-0 on the day to improve his season record to 15-0. Also having a good day was Ryan Mitchell who was 4-1.

ALCOVY

The Tigers' Adam Pollard won the 135-pound weight class at the Panther Invitational, while Travis Knight had a second-place finish at 140.

Also placing for Alcovy with fourth place finishes were Jon Seymore (103) and David Jones (285).

"With the lineup we had this weekend, I thought we wrestled well," Alcovy coach Mike Mostek said.

Completing the two-day tournament with a record of 3-2 were Seth Parris (130), Dakota Papke (152) and William Ledford (717) while Zach Watola (119) and Quinton Collins (145) were at .500 going 2-2.

SALEM

The Seminoles had a runner-up finish from Joe Morovich at 189 pounds, while Josh Anderson and John Muirhead both finished in the top eight.

"I was very happy with the way Joe wrestled he had a really good tournament," Salem coach Tim Owens said. "Overall, we didn't look as good as we did Tuesday night but the overall competition was tougher."

All four schools, along with Eastside and Heritage, will be participating in the South Metro Tournament starting Friday.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.