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Prep wrestling: Eagles shine on first day of state meet
Will Newlands, top, of Riverside Military Academy, wrestles and beats Austin Newsome, of Trinity Christian School, in the 152-pound weight class during the first round of the GISA State Wrestling Championships on Friday at Riverside Military Academy. - photo by ROBIN MICHENER NATHAN | The Times
GAINESVILLE — Despite considering themselves a young and inexperienced team, the Riverside Military Academy wrestlers proved to the rest of the Georgia Independent Schools that they are indeed still a force to be reckoned with.

The Eagles advanced nine wrestlers to the quarterfinals of the GISA State Wrestling Tournament on Friday night at Riverside.

"We were hoping to punch one or two more through, but the nine that advanced, we have confidence they can advance to the finals," Riverside coach Josh Merry said. "We’re young, but we have great coaching and these young guys have filled big shoes."

Five Eagles (Doug Kellermeyer, Daniel Vergara, Josh Frey, Bill Dearybury and Colton King) advanced to the quarterfinals due to a bye in the opening round, but the remaining advancing wrestlers were able to display just what Riverside was capable of.

First, Will Newlands outlasted Austin Newsome of Trinity Christian with a 4-1 win in the 152-pound weight class. Then, teammate Sebastian Mims was able to pin his opponent from Calvary Christian with less than a minute remaining in the third period to advance.

The final two matches of the first round proved to be the least competitive for Riverside, as both Tersoo Uhaa and Diego Osegueda were able to pin their opponents without any trouble.

The strong opening round gave Riverside’s coach much confidence.

"If we wrestle the way we can then I can’t see an issue with us not winning the whole thing," Merry said. "We got some good draws and hopefully our young guys can step up and make the finals."

Senior co-captain Dearybury believes that all of the Eagles will play a key role in the hunt for the state championship.

"I wish we had all of our guys advance," said the 171-pound wrestler. "But those who didn’t advance will wrestle back hard and the ones who did advance will have to keep pushing in order for us to win this thing."

The GISA state tournament continues at 9 a.m. today with the consolation quarterfinals and concludes with the championship finals beginning at 4 p.m.

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