Total domination
2008 All-Area Wrestling Team: Salem's Yates simply the best wrestler around

There are only two words that can describe the senior season of Salem wrestling standout Peter Yates: total domination.

The truth is, total domination might not be descriptive enough because the competition stood no chance again the Salem standout.

This winter, he captured the third state championship in his illustrious career, posting another perfect record along the way. At the state meet, Yates didn't even surrender a point to his opponents.

So Yates, of course, is the Wrestler of the Year on the Citizen's 2008 All-Area Wrestling Team.

The Coach of the Year is Eastside's Brandon Blakeman, who guided the Eagles to a state championship in the Class AAAA traditional tournament, their first in school history. The Eagles also finished second in the Class AAAA Team Duals and claimed their third straight crowns in the Area 8-AAAA traditional tournament and 8-AAAA team duals.

Individually, Blakeman guided the Eagles to three state runner-up finishes in Class AAAA as well as five Area 8-AAAA champions. The Eagles qualified a total of 10 wrestlers for the state tournament.

Cody Durden (103 pounds, Eastside)

Durden, a junior, posted a 50-6 record this season for the Eagles. He finished second in Area 8-AAAA and collected his weight class title at the South Metro Tournament.

Jake Morris (103 pounds, Rockdale)

Morris made a strong run in the Class AAAA state tournament, collecting a fifth-place finish for the Bulldogs. He also placed third in 8-AAAA.

Jamarkus Griggs (112 pounds, Eastside)

Griggs, a senior, capped off his career with a runner-up finish in Class AAAA. He posted a 34-6 record and also finished second in 8-AAAA.

Joel Stafford (119 pounds, Eastside)

Stafford, a junior, recorded a 51-5 mark for the Eagles and a second-place finish at the state meet. He also claimed an Area 8-AAAA individual championship.

Luis Ponce (125 pounds, Rockdale)

Ponce, a junior, reached new heights in his career with the Bulldogs by placing second in the Class AAAA state meet. He also finished second in 8-AAAA.

Adam Pollard (130 pounds, Alcovy)

Pollard registered an impressive 49-3 mark for the Tigers this winter, collecting a third-place finish at the state meet. He also claimed an Area 8-AAAA individual title.

Trevor Bailey (135 pounds, Eastside)

Bailey, a junior, finished second in the Class AAAA state tournament and posted a 51-6 record. He claimed an Area 8-AAAA championship and also took first in the South Metro Tournament.

John Collins (140 pounds, Rockdale)

Collins, a senior, capped off his career by claiming the Bulldogs' only individual title in Area 8-AAAA.

Peter Yates (145 pounds, Salem)

From now on, Yates will be the measuring stick for all the area's great wrestlers. The senior completed his illustrious career with his third Class AAAA title, this time at 145 pounds, after claiming titles in 2005 and 2007. He finished off his career with 98 straight victories for the Seminoles an incredible overall record of 163-1. His only loss was as a sophomore in a state title match to a four-time state champion. He is the first local three-time state champion. Yates also claimed his fourth 8-AAAA title this season.

David Bender (152 pounds, Eastside)

Bender, a senior, placed fourth in the state meet and compiled a 48-12 record for the Eagles. He finished third in Area 8-AAAA.

Sam Ahonen (152 pounds, Salem)

Ahonen, a senior, battled through a tough draw to claim a top-eight finish at the state meet. He posted a runner-up finish in 8-AAAA.

Malachi Outlaw (160 pounds, Alcovy)

Outlaw put together an impressive season for the Tigers, finishing second in the state meet. He chalked up a 50-3 record and won an Area 8-AAAA individual title.

John Wigington (160 pounds, Heritage)

Wigington set a school record for wins in a season by posting a 65-12 record for the Patriots. Five of his losses came against 2008 state champions. He finished second in 8-AAAA and claimed individual titles at the Brookwood Christmas Tournament and the Patriot Rumble.

Jon Palmer (171 pounds, Eastside)

Palmer, a junior, placed sixth in the state meet and finished with a 36-9 record for the Eagles. He also claimed an Area 8-AAAA individual title.

Ardest Carter (189 pounds, Eastside)

Carter, a senior, finished fourth at the state meet and recorded a 51-6 mark this winter for the Eagles. He won an Area 8-AAAA championship and took first in the South Metro Tournament.

Karl Williams (215 pounds, Eastside)

Williams, a junior, placed fourth in the state meet for the Eagles, finishing the season with a 23-6 record. He also claimed an Area 8-AAAA individual title.

Travis Wynne (285 pounds, Heritage)

Wynne posted a record of 43-12 for the Patriots and finished third in 8-AAAA. He won his weight class at the Lovejoy Wildcat Invitational.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.

SideBar: All-Area Wrestling Team

· Wrestler of the Year: Peter Yates, Salem

· Coach of the Year: Brandon Blakeman, Eastside

First Team

103: Cody Durden, Eastside

103: Jake Morris, Rockdale

112: Jamarkus Griggs, Eastside

119: Joel Stafford, Eastside

125: Luis Ponce, Rockdale

130: Adam Pollard, Alcovy

135: Trevor Bailey, Eastside

140: John Collins, Rockdale

145: Peter Yates, Salem

152: David Bender, Eastside

152: Sam Ahonen, Salem

160: Malachi Outlaw, Alcovy

160: John Wigington, Heritage

171: Jon Palmer, Eastside

189: Ardest Carter, Eastside

215: Karl Williams, Eastside

285: Travis Wynne, Heritage

Honorable Mention

Alcovy: Travis Knight (135), Corey Reid (140), T.C. Jackson (189), David Jones (285)

Eastside: Michael Green (125), Brandon Cole (130), Dalton Bragg (140)

Heritage: Cody Shubert (112), Steven Crawley (119), Erik Lauritsen (130)

Newton: Corey Ware (119), Joey Joseph (140)

Rockdale: Hylan Taylor (112), Joseph Richardson (130), Ahmed Burton (145), Kafuba Donzon (160), Jimmy Brown (171, Rashaud Ferrell (189)

Salem: Bobby Nance (130), Stephen Cross (140), Jeremy McElyea (160)