GRAY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Sixteen of the best high school wrestling teams across the state arrived in Macon Thursday for the GHSA dual team championships.
Six of those teams are from right here in middle Georgia, including Jones County.
Coach Daniel Lewis started up a wrestling squad at Jones County 15 years ago, but he says no group he's coached has supported each other more than this one.
"Usually in wrestling it can become a very individual sport," says Lewis. "When you're out there, you're by yourself. There's no one there to help you. You can't rely on somebody else to throw a block or whatever. It's you and that other guy, and somebody's gonna get their hand raised and somebody's gonna get embarrassed."
The top two teams from each area across the state advance to the state tournament. Jones County beat out Northside Saturday for the top spot in Area 2.
At the state tourney, the competition gets a little tougher.
"They're the 16 best teams in the state," says junior wrestler Tim Randolph. "It's somewhat intimidating. When you get in there, you're gonna see at least 16 mats. It's just unbelievable."
Just like any other sport, when you get down on the mat, it's all about using proper fundamentals--something Coach Lewis says is important his team does this week in the state tournament.
"90% of the time, or 95% of the time, you're just trying to maintain a good stance and not get out of position where you can get yourself in trouble," says Lewis.
"You really want to try to match your opponent's level," says Randolph. "That way he doesn't have the upper hand."
Now to see which team has the upper hand in Georgia, just show up and watch.
"Until you've been to a wrestling match, you can't really appreciate just how exciting it can be," says Lewis. "Especially when it comes down to those last couple matches and everybody's cheering for their teammates. It can be quite an environment."
"I'm praying that we can win a state championship so we can all get a little taste of how it feels," says junior wrestler Jequelle Griffin. "If we do, we do, but if we don't, I know we'll come back next year and compete."
East Laurens, West Laurens, Perry, Monticello and Northside will also represent middle Georgia in the tournament, which is being held at the Macon Centreplex.
It kicked off Thursday and runs through Saturday.
Here's the full schedule:
Thursday, Jan. 10: 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Admission $7
Friday, Jan. 11: 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. Admission $10 (All Day)
Saturday, Jan. 12: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Finals at 3 p.m. Admission $10 (All Day)
TOTAL TOURNAMENT PASSES ARE $24
For more information, visit GHSA.net.