In all, five wrestlers placed in the tournament, Gage Cox and Marquis Lyons finished third in their respective weight divisons, while Tony Patterson and Mimi Riega took second. Dallas Castleman, who is quickly making a notorious reputation for one of the mid-state's top wrestlers, blasted his way to a championship, pinning three straight opponents.
The slow start was due to several factors, according to head coach Marcus McDonald
"Wrestling is a different animal when compared to other sports. Everyone here, from wrestlers, coaches, managers on down to parents, had to wake up somewhere around 5 a.m. to be here today. The kids finally got on the mat at 10 a.m. That's tough to deal with, but that's part of it. It's not going to change, so the name of the game is adapt and survive," he said.
And that's just what the Eagles did. After losing opening matches, Lyons and Cox were both facing a "one and done" situation for the rest of the tournament. They both dug deep to find the energy they needed to finish with a 3-1 record. Tony Patterson had the hardest road to a medal with all three of his matches going deep into the second or third period, each match versus an equally-skilled wrestler.
"I'm proud of those kids, matches get harder as the day goes on, not easier," McDonald said.
"Lyons is fighting a cold also, so it makes it even more worth it for him to put in the hard work and place today. Tony set the tone for us after we lost those first three matches. I pulled all the kids into a corner and told them they had a choice. Feel sorry for yourself, or wrestle hard.
"Not more than five minutes later, Tony was on the mat and had to absolutely gut it up to win. I think I am more proud of that win than any other on the day," McDonald said.
Overall, it was a team effort for the Eagles on Saturday. The second place finish was a product of everyone who won a match, as each individual win contributes to the team point total.
The Eagles' season is now in full swing with matches coming every Tuesday and Thursday until Christmas. The Eagles will be in action this afternoon as they travel to Warren County in a tri-meet with Forrest High.