Local grapplers battling for county bragging rights at Conyers Cup

CONYERS - County bragging rights are up for grabs today as wrestlers from all three high schools hit the mats with hopes of winning the 2008 Conyers Cup.

The competition has been ferocious the past three years, but the outcome has been the same.

The Patriots, led this year by coach Randy Hooley, are going for their fourth straight county championship.

"This title means a lot for the seniors. If we can win it, this will be the first class to win the Conyers Cup all four years of high school," Hooley said.

Hooley said today's matches will no doubt be another solid test as the Patriots gear up for the area duals.

"This is the Rockdale County championship, every match will be a battle. I expect some surprises from Rockdale and Salem in regards to the lineups," Hooley said. "Some of the interesting matches will be from kids wrestling up a weight class to help the team gain points for the team.

"The biggest goal for us was to get everyone healthy and in competitive form. For a couple of wrestlers, this will be the first action they have seen since the area duals. We should have everyone back into the lineup except for one weight class."

Meanwhile, Rockdale coach Craig Hargrove is hoping his team can take advantage of its home mat and dethrone the Patriots.

"Being that the meet is at home, it would be great if we could win the cup for our parents and fans," Hargrove said. "We hope to go out and wrestle aggressive for six minutes. As we enter these last few weeks, we've got to make a connection between our heads and our hearts. If we can do that, we can have the type of performance that we are proud of."

Hargrove said he's expecting the matchups to be very competitive.

"This late in the year, every weight is competitive. With area the next week, most wrestlers will be wrestling for seeds," he said. "The competition should be exciting."

Salem coach Tim Owens said his team is excited about the competition and the chance to improve its area seeding.

"Winning would be great, but it's more important for area seeds," Owens said. "Anyone we beat is one more person we go in front of at area. Now is the time we want to start to peak. We want to look good this week, look better next week and look great the last week."

The tournament is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. with Salem and Rockdale squaring off first. Salem and Heritage are slated to battle next with Rockdale and Heritage facing off in the final matches of the day.

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

SideBar: Conyers Cup

Where: Rockdale County High School

When: Today, 9 a.m.

Defending Champion: Heritage