Eastside captures duals title

COVINGTON - The Eastside Eagles wrestling team tuned up for the Area 8-AAAA Team Duals by beating the competition and taking first place Saturday at the Brookwood Duals.

"I am extremely proud of how well the boys performed in such a tough tournament," Eastside coach Brandon Blakeman said. "I was hoping they weren't looking ahead to the team area tournament coming up this weekend and they didn't disappoint me as they kept their focus and defeated some talented teams."

The Eagles started the first round with a convincing win over Kennesaw Mountain 47-21 before downing Notre Dame, from Chattanooga, Tenn., 37-31. Kennesaw Mountain started the weekend ranked No. 7 in the GaSports.com Class AAAAA poll, while Notre Dame is defending Class A/AA State Dual Champion in Tennessee.

Eastside continued its winning ways with a 42-30 win over Brookwood and a 46-24 win over Kell to head into the championship match.

In the championship match, the Eagles beat their second top-10 team with a 43-36 win over Northwest Whitfield. The Bruins are currently ranked No. 9 in Class AAAA.

"I think winning this tournament created excitement and confidence amongst everyone in our program heading into the team area tournament," Blakeman said.

Even though the Eagles had five hard bouts, a few wrestlers managed to come out of it with perfect records.

Going 5-0 for Eastside were Cody Durden (103-pound weight division), Joel Stafford (119), Jonathan Palmer (171) and Ardest Carter (189).

Having just one loss to go 4-1 for the day were Jamarkus Griggs (112), Trevor Bailey (135) and Karl Williams (215).

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