LOCUST GROVE -- Eastside went to the Area 4-AAA tournament with nine of the 14 wrestlers that make up a full team and left with nine finishing, taking the runner-up position and claiming four area champions.
"Injuries happen, you can't make excuses you just have to finish as strong as you can. The guys that we had really stepped up," said Eastside head coach Earl Larimer. "You always want to win but I'm proud of the guys. We put forth a solid effort and came up with a runner-up."
The Eagles had six grapplers in the championship finals and three in the consolation finals.
Winning area for the Eagles were D.J. Powell (106-pound weight division), Tyler Bailey (113), Misha Felton (120) and Kevin Thompson (138).
Claiming runner-up status were Ethree King (160) and Jacob Wilder (170) with Austin Wynne (182) and Tyler Campbell (152) winning the consolation finals and Dylan Gilmore (132) taking fourth.
Of the six wins in the finals, four were by pins.
"You always want to win but if you could get bonus points via pin, that's like icing on the cake," said Larimer. "We finished mostly third and up."
Eastside will take all nine placers to the Class AAA East Sectional starting Friday at West Laurens High School.
Newton, who improved as they took third place in the Area 2-AAAAA tournament at East Coweta after being in seventh last year, is also taking nine wrestlers with them when they go to their East Sectional at Tift County.
The Rams had one area champion with Jose Rivera winning the 145 division and three others claiming runner-up. Taking second place were Zach Jenkins (152), Nnamei Omyekwululje (160) and Javen Gant (285).
"He wasn't even seeded," Newton head coach Paul Nelson said of Omyekwuluje. "He just returned from an ACL injury from football so he didn't start until January. He knocked out the No. 2 seed, then knocked out the fourth seed and went on to wrestle for the championship. That was awesome."
Winning the consolation finals were Kameron Wallace (120), Jeremy Fuller (170) and AJ Palomino (195) with Edwardo Jarquin (106) heading to the sectional as they No. 4 seed from his weight class.
In the 14-team Area 3-AAAA tournament held at Fayette County, Alcovy ended up sending three out of the 10 wrestlers they brought to the Class AAAA West Sectional at Northside, Columbus.
"We wrestled well. We only took 10 because we had a bunch of kids get hurt at Social Circle. We wrestled about as well as we could," said Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman.
The Tigers finished eighth overall and claimed one area champion with Kenneth Queh winning the 136-pound weight class.
Also placing in their area tournament earning a trip to Northside, Columbus were Austin Richardson (145) and Cole Patterson (160).The Area 8-AAAA wrestling championships ended too late for this edition. The Citizen will have full coverage of the event in Tuesday's issue.