While The 2012-13 East Jackson wrestling squad hasn’t been a dominating force in tournaments, head coach Zach Morrison firmly believes that the team has consistently made strides as the 2012-13 season has progressed.
“When you look at how far we have progressed this season, it is night and day,” he said. “Coming into the season I knew we would be a really young team with a lot of inexperienced kids, but they have bought into what coach Pruitt and I have been teaching them.”
With the Area 4-AAA tournament coming up this weekend, Morrison feels certain that several members of his Eagle squad have a good chance to make it through to the sectional tournament.
Heavyweight Jeff Chandler will go into area as a number-one seed after finishing the season with a 34-1 record.
“After finishing third in state last season (Chandler) has something to prove this year,” added Morrison.
Morrison also believes Hugo Eguairte has a good shot at advancing through the bracket. Eguairte is 16-4 in his last 20 matches, and 26-11 on the season.
Morrison also pointed to Alex Trejo (26-13), Dalton Chandler (22-15), Jacob Lindenmeyer and Kevin Flack (18-17) as strong area competitors.
“(They) are dark horses going into the Area tournament,” said Morrison. “They have been so close in so many matches this season and could shock some people at Area.”
While the future looks bright for the Eagle wrestling program, East Jackson will have to overcome some serious competition along the way. The Eagles will compete with Area juggernauts Banks County and Oconee County, which placed first and third place at the state duals this year.
The Area 4-AAA tournament kicks off on Friday, Feb. 1, at Elbert County High School at 5 p.m., and commences on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Last weekend, the Eagles earned a fifth-place finish at the Inferno Invite in Elbert County featuring eight teams from all GHSA classifications.
Morrison said he was particularly impressed with the performance of a number of Eagle wrestlers at the tournament.
“I was very impressed with Hugo (Eguairte),” said Morrison. “He has been improving every week and has a great opportunity to do well at Area this weekend. Jacob Lindenmeyer finished third, and is really showing his toughness on the mat. He may be one of the most dedicated kids I have seen in a long time. And Jeff (Chandler), as usual, wrestled extremely well, pinning his opponent in the first period of the finals.”
East Jackson’s top wrestlers at the Inferno Invite were: Jacob Lindenmeyer (3-1), third, 120 lb.; Hugo Eguiarte (3-1), second, 126 lb.; Alex Trejo (3-1), third, 152 lb.; Dalton Chandler (2-2), 160 lb., Dayton Watkins (3-1), 195 lb.; and Jeff Chandler (3-0), first, 285 lb.