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Derrick Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Alexander wrestlers Austin Starnes, left, and Trevor Rose listen look to place well for the Cougars this weekend at the Area 5-AAAAA Tournament.

When Alexander wrestlers failed to qualify for the Class AAAAA duals championships earlier this month, they took it personal.

The wrestlers proclaimed it was time to get back to work in the wrestling room and get ready for the area’s individual championships.

That time has now arrived for wrestlers across the state. Alexander will host the Area 5-AAAAA Championship starting today in its new gym.

The meet will conclude on Saturday with the top four finishers advancing to next week’s Sectional meet at Allatoona. From there, the top eight advance to the state meet in Gwinnett.

In addition to Alexander, there will be 11 other teams competing in the tournament.

Wrestlers from Allatoona, Chapel Hill, East Paulding, Hiram, Kell, Lithia Springs, New Manchester, Paulding County, South Paulding, Sprayberry and Villa Rica will be competing for spots in the state tournament.

“We know there will be some good wrestlers at the meet,” Alexander sophomore Nate Nelson said. “South Paulding and Allatoona will have some good competition. We feel we can do well and get some wrestlers to advance. We are definitely looking forward to the meet.”

Alexander wrestlers say they are motivated after what happened the area duals, where they finished third to Allatoona and South Paulding.

Senior Austin Starnes won the area tournament in the 113-pound class last season. He has moved up to the 120 division and says he has a good shot at the title.

“We are ready as a team and as individuals,” Starnes said. “We know what the competition looks like. I know South Paulding feels as if they can beat us. We have been working hard in the room to get ready for this meet. As a senior, I’m definitely ready.”

Alexander said their biggest competition will definitely come from Allatoona, South Paulding and Kell as it tries to advance.

“For all our seniors this is really big,” Starnes said. “It is the last one for us. We definitely have to be ready and focused on what we have to do.”

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