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PREP WRESTLING: Eastside grapplers' third straight Newton Cup gives young team momentum ahead of Saturday's South Metro Invite
Eastside Wrestling
The Eastside Eagles' Area 4-AAAA duals runner-up finish pushed them into the Class AAAA state tournament which begins Thursday in Macon. -Submitted Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. -- Eastside winning the Newton Cup for wrestling isn’t exactly new news anymore. 

The Eagles’ wrestling team captured its third straight Newton Cup this past Tuesday with resounding victories over Newton and Alcovy. Eastside defeated Newton 65-18 and dominated Alcovy 70-6.

But what is new is that, given the youth of this particular squad, the momentum provided in this win ushers in a fresh boost of confidence. 

“We’ve got nine underclassmen on this team,” said Eastside coach Earl Larimer. “It’s a young team, but it’s a team with promise.” 

In addition to the new underclassmen who’ve been added, Eastside’s also got grapplers like sophomores Hunter Fuquay and Seth Martin who have been to state. They add to the experience of senior wrestlers like Kyle Johnson, Christian Curry and Will Gaither, all who have been state qualifiers in the past, and even juniors like Cory Christian whom Larimer says, “has been right there.” 

Fuqua and Christian were among several Eastside wrestlers who had impressive wins by pin during Tuesday’s gathering of Newton County squads. And there were others who provided solid showings, en route to the Eagles’ hosting the Cup trophy one more time. 

It was an on-time win for Larimer’s bunch which will compete in the South Metro Invitational Saturday, which has long been one of the premier regular season meets in the state that hosts a plethora of talented teams. 

But no offense to Alcovy or Newton — which are also slated to compete in the South Metro Invite — Larimer understands that the level of competition will drastically rise Saturday.

“This definitely gives us some confidence,” he said. “But we’ve also been to the South Metro before, and we know what we’re going to be dealing with there. Henry County has some monster teams, Fayette County has some monster teams. And there will be others, so yes, it is a confidence booster what we did here in the Newton Cup, but come Saturday we know we’ve gotta show up and wrestle.” 

Larimer said he won’t use his team’s youth as an excuse for not performing well amongst some of the top squads and individual wrestlers in Georgia. 

“I often tell them, a lot of times when you’re an upperclassman, you should look to set the tone,” he said. “But when you’re an underclassman, look to make noise and follow that tone and create an impact that maybe we didn’t see coming. Upperclassmen, you set the leadership, and underclassmen, you make an impact that’s more than just being on the team.”