WINDER - Eastside wrestling coach Brandon Blakeman has a good chance of getting what he wants for his birthday today as his team is in position to win the Area 8-AAAA championship.
After the first day of the tournament at Winder-Barrow on Friday, the Eagles have 10 wrestlers in the quarterfinals to lead all schools.
"Of the 10 in the quarterfinals, if I could put six in the finals, I'll feel comfortable," Blakeman said.
Of the area schools, Heritage has the six wrestlers in the quarterfinals, followed by Rockdale and Alcovy with five each and Salem with two.
Wrestling in the quarterfinals for Eastside are Cody Durden (103-pound weight class), Jamarkus Griggs (112), Joel Stafford (119), Michael Green (125), Brandon Cole (130), Trevor Bailey (135), David Bender (152), Jon Palmer (171), Ardest Carter (189) and Karl Williams (215).
Heritage will have Cody Shubert (112), Steven Crawley (119), Raheem Williams (125), Erik Lauritsen (130), John Wigington (160) and Travis Wynne (285).
Representing Alcovy are Adam Pollard (130), Travis Knight (135), Corey Reid (140), Malachi Outlaw (160) and T. C. Jackson (189).
Wrestling for Rockdale are Jake Morris (103), Luis Ponce (125), John Collins (140), Kafuba Donzon (160) and Jimmy Brown (171).
The two Salem wrestlers are Peter Yates (145) and Sam Ahonen (152).
"There are some very nice matchups, like the 130 with (Roy) Herrera and (Brandon) Cole. (Today) is really going to start to separate the top three and four from everybody else," Blakeman said.
Alcovy, Eastside, Heritage, Salem and Rockdale have the rest of their wrestlers competing in the consolation round.
Alcovy leads the group with nine wrestlers, followed by Rockdale, Salem and Heritage with seven and Eastside with four.
Besides leading the area traditional tournament in the number of wrestlers, they also have the highest score.
Eastside leads all schools with 93.5 points, followed by Jackson County (77), Dacula (70), Heritage (67), Rockdale (56) and Alcovy (52.5).
Salem is in 10th place with 23 points, eight behind Clarke Central and one ahead of Madison County.
The second round continues at 9:30 a.m. today with the championship finals beginning at 4 p.m.
Those in the consolation round have an uphill battle if they hope to wrestle in the Class AAAA state championship. They have to win three matches to get to battle for third place.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to state.
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.