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Eagles wrestles to top eight in State Duals

MACON -- Eastside's wrestling team won some close matches. But in the end, those close matches came back to bite it as it was eliminated in a close match in the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket of the Class AAA Team Dual State Wrestling Tournament at the Macon Centreplex Friday and Saturday.

"We made it to the final eight. I'm proud of the guys. When you're a competitor and you don't win the whole thing you're not completely satisfied, because that's the goal; you want to win," Eastside head coach Earl Larimer said. "But to get a few wins here and get to the top eight and a hair away from getting to the top six, I'm proud of the guys. We just have to keep working and improving."

The Eagles started the tournament with a 41-31 win over North Hall before getting sent to the bottom bracket, losing 57-13 to defending Class AAA state champions Gilmer.

After surviving a close match to Westlake, Augusta winning 41-31, Eastside lost to Chestatee 42-36.

"We lost a close one, gave up some pins and that's the difference. You want to win the close ones that can go either way. Then the ones that they figure will go their way, the very least don't give up bonus points via a pin.

That's why I tell them, you pin, you win or you don't get pinned," Larimer said.

Against Westlake, Eastside had a 20-points, 35-15 lead with four matches left. After losing three, two by pins, to make it 35-31, Zack Kimmel (285-pound weight class) came back to pin his opponent allowing Eastside to advance.

Eastside started strong against Chestatee as Tyler Bailey (120), Misha Felton (126), Dylan Gilmore (132) and Kevin Thompson (138) got pins giving Eastside a 24-0 lead. But Chestatee was able to come back to get three wins by fall before Jacob Wilder won his match in overtime 14-12 to make it 27-18. However, Chestatee proved to be too much for Eastside to handle as it pinned the Eagles in four of the last six matches.

Winning for Eastside in the final six matches were Kimmel (9-6) and DJ Powell (113), who got a pin.

"I feel good about it," said Larimer about the future of the Eastside wrestling program. "We'll return a lot of guys and hopefully those guys will be back in. Then we'll have some new guys that will make us better."

The Newton wrestling team had an early exit, losing both of its matches on Friday. After falling to an excellent Camden County team 72-9, the Rams lost a decisive match to Lassiter 60-21 in the double elimination tournament.

Winning against Camden County were Jose Rivera and Dale Warren with Jeremy Fuller, Javan Gant and Tyler Head getting good victories.

"I thought our kids fought really hard," Newton head coach Paul Nelson said. "In the first match we went up against an outstanding team. Our second match, we wrestled really hard but made mistakes they just can't make. We have to find a way to correct those things."