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Taking to the mat
Avoiding the pin: Tyler Meeks tries to avoid a pin by a Woodland wrestler in the 126-pound division on Thursday. - photo by Bryan Fazio

With the winter season well under way, wrestling has taken to the mat.

The 2011 wrestling season is in full swing for Salem, Heritage and Rockdale as the Salem Seminoles and Bulldogs have hosted meets.

Salem hosted Woodland, Henry and Peachtree City Thursday night, while the Bulldogs welcomed Lithonia and Alexander.

The Bulldogs have started the season with an unblemished record, going 7-0.

Rockdale participated in the Newton County on Nov. 23 beating all five competitors.

The Bulldogs defeated Lithonia 60-18, Alcovy 51-16, Newnan 59-15, Social Circle 64-9 and Spalding County 78-3. They then defeated Lithonia 64-9 and Alexander 39-27 at home on Nov. 29.

"Things have been going great," Rockdale coach Craig Hargrove said. "We're 7-0 after a big win against Alexander."

Rockdale is not only using its experience, but also counting on players who have recently moved up from the junior varsity squad.

That combination has kept the Bulldogs from being the team closest to the mat throughout the season.

The Bulldogs boast three seniors in Jose Robledo at 145, Akheel Character at 113 and Stephen Lopez at 182.

"We've got good leadership this year," Hargrove said. "We've just had guys in the program that have been with us for a while and that have got varsity experience. It makes it a little easier."

Rockdale also boasts returners such as Ulises Ponce and Alonzo Allen, state runners-up in 2010-11.

"We have a lot of returning guys and guys who have been in our J.V. for a while, and are ready for our varsity," Hargrove said.

The Bulldogs get ready for big meets, when they travel to the Cross Bone Duals at East Paulding and, along with Heritage and Salem, compete in the South Metro Duals at Union Grove starting on Dec. 9.

"We've still got a lot to work on," Hargrove said. "There are still a lot of tough teams on the schedule."