COVINGTON - The accolades continue to be bestowed upon the Eastside wrestling team.
The team recently received the Class AAAA Team of the Year honors while head coach Brandon Blakeman was named Class AAAA Coach of the Year by Team Georgia.
In state competitions, the Eagles were Class AAAA state champions in the traditional meet and were runners up in the Class AAAA state team duals this season.
"I hope that recognitions like this will continue to add validity to the program that's been created here at Eastside," Blakeman said. "Support from the fans and the parents gave us success and with the success came the rewards."
Now that Eastside's program has a name for itself, the next step for Blakeman is to make sure that they continue to work to make sure they don't become a flash-in-the-pan team.
The ultimate goal for the coaches is to make Eastside one of the top teams in the state.
"We feel that with the amount of effort we're putting in we can continue this. Obviously, you're not going to win the state championship every single year. But we don't see why we can't be a perennial top five team," Blakeman said.
"Be one of those that every two or three years can have a really strong run that the major teams in each classification do. Like Ringgold, Collins Hills, Parkview, Harrison, McEachern and teams like that. They created a program and did the little things they needed to keep things going, like the youth program."
One way to ensure the longevity of the program is to get younger wrestlers interested in the sport before reaching middle school.
In order to bring the sport of wrestling to the forefront Black Water Wrestling has been formed.
"The coaches and wrestlers in the county got that going. You'll really see a payoff on that in about five years. Having it here I hope shows that we want to create this as a lasting thing," Blakeman said. "It's a place where the guys in high school can work but you really see the payoff when those young kids get in middle school."
Before moving to their new facility on Wheat Street, the club was limited as to what they could do. But now all that can slowly make it what they want, a full fledge training facility.
Besides having two sets of mats, one for middle and high school wrestlers and another for beginners, Black Water is hoping to add climbing ropes, weights and eventually they plan on adding locker rooms.
For more information on Black Water visit www.blackwatchwrestling.com.
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.