Eastside wrestlers place third in tourney

COVINGTON - Eastside coach Brandon Blakeman got a good measurement of his team's preparedness for the Class AAA state duals by finishing third in the Red Devil Classic over the weekend.

"We learned a lot about some of the things we need to fine-tune over the next three weeks before area. It was a real good two-day tournament," Blakeman said. "We saw some things that will help kids as we get deeper in the season; ways to help them prepare and things we can work on to build their endurance for a full six minutes."

Of the 14 weight classes, the Eagles had 11 placers, including two champions.

Joel Stafford (125) and Jonathan Palmer (160) won their respective weight classes, while Cody Durden (112), Trevor Bailey (140) and Tommy Williams (189) finished as runners-up.

"Tommy's finals match was voted the best finals match of the tournament. It was 2-1 and it went down to quadruple overtime," Blakeman added.

Eastside had a third-place finisher in Michael Green (130) and a fourth-place finisher in Brandon Gatt (103).

"I was very pleased. We had a couple of kids who had never placed at a varsity tournament place, like Dalton Temple and Jake Malcolm," Blakeman said. "I think that will be a big thing for their confidence as we get closer to state."

Dalton Bragg (135), Malcolm (152) and Temple (171) all came in fifth, while Danny Gatt (119) finished sixth.

As a team, the Eagles earned 236 points in the tournament.

Fort Dorchester, out of North Charleston, S.C., won the event with 260 points, followed by Union Grove, which is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA.

Eastside's closest competitor was Grayson, which came in fourth with 205.5 points.

"I think 11 placing in a single tournament is a school record. We were behind Fort Dorchester of South Carolina and Union Grove," Blakeman said. "We were only eight points behind Union Grove."


At Snellville, the Tigers placed fifth in a 16-team field at the two-day Brookwood Invitational.

Malachi Outlaw was Alcovy's only first-place winner, taking the top spot in the 160-pound weight division.

The Tigers had two runners-up - Travis Knight (140) and Quinton Collins (145) - and one third and fourth place finisher. Zach Barton came in third at 125, while Jon Seymore took fourth at 103.

The Tigers will be back in action today starting at 9 a.m. in the Social Circle Invitational.