COVINGTON - There is no doubt that Rockdale is a marked team.
After the Bulldogs wrestling team won the Area 8-AAAA Team Duals Championship and placed third in the Class AAAA Team Duals Tournament, there is one more piece of hardware they are after - the Conyers Cup.
Heritage and Salem hope to strip Rockdale, the reigning Conyers Cup champion, of the cup as the three local schools compete starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at Heritage.
The Bulldogs know that the Patriots and Seminoles grapplers gunning for them could bring added pressure. But the pressure they feel could come from somewhere else beside the mat.
"It's a great county rival. The county meet attracts many wrestling fans across the county so that in itself can add pressure, but our guys are well prepared. Rockdale will come ready to wrestle," Bulldogs coach Craig Hargrove said.
Besides giving the school bragging rights as being the best for the rest of the year, there are other reasons why a school wants to show up to perform at its best.
"If we can beat Rockdale and Heritage in a particular weight class that puts us ahead of them in the area seed meeting," Salem coach Tim Owens said. "The goals that we have are to win as many matches as possible for the area seed portion of it. As many matches as we can win only helps us."
If any team has a chance to dethrone Rockdale and take the cup away from it has to be Heritage. In the area team duals championship, Heritage finished fourth.
While Salem has quite a few quality wrestlers, they have too many open weight classes in their roster to give them a legitimate shot.
"It's going to be real hard, I'm going to be either three or four weight classes that I'll forfeit," Owens said. "So we're going to be starting 18 or 24 points in the hole. It makes it real hard especially when Rockdale and Heritage don't have any missing spots in their line up."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.