Pope continues commanding run of team titles at county invitational
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
January 20, 2013 12:20 AM | 3822 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pope’s Davis Burson, front, ties up with Kennesaw Mountain’s Augusto Paes in Saturday’s final-round match at 138 pounds. Burson won to defend his Cobb County Invitational title and help the Greyhounds to a sixth-consecutive team championship.
<BR>Staff photo by Todd Hull
Pope’s Davis Burson, front, ties up with Kennesaw Mountain’s Augusto Paes in Saturday’s final-round match at 138 pounds. Burson won to defend his Cobb County Invitational title and help the Greyhounds to a sixth-consecutive team championship.
Staff photo by Todd Hull
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MARIETTA — Pope wrestling coach Jim Haskin may have celebrated his 46th birthday on Friday, but it was Saturday when received his present.

The Greyhounds led from start to finish in claiming their sixth consecutive Cobb County Invitational championship Saturday at Sprayberry. They crowned six individual champions and placed all 14 of their wrestlers.

Pope scored 282 points to lead the 19-team event. Hillgrove (171.5) placed nine wrestlers and maintained its second-place lead from Friday.

“This tournament is always exciting for us because something special seems to happen every year,” Haskin said. “It’s rare to have every one of your kids place, and we’ve managed to do that for the second year in a row. And to see my kid (Tyler) win is special, not just for me as a dad, but also as a coach.

“I’m super proud of the guys. This is a big tournament that leads into the final couple of weeks of the season. It’s a great springboard for region and state, and the guys know that.”

Kennesaw Mountain (149) was third with eight placers, followed by Harrison (148) and Allatoona (134.5) for fourth and fifth, respectively. The Hoyas placed seven and the Buccaneers six.

Rounding out the top 10 were McEachern (127), Wheeler (119.5), Lassiter (101.5), Campbell (97) and Marietta (92.5).

Kell (79), Walton (67), Sprayberry (39), Osborne (37), North Cobb (29), South Cobb (14), Pebblebrook (8), North Cobb Christian (7) and Mount Paran Christian (3) followed.

Pope’s Jake Henson (152 pounds), the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler, won his third county title, while teammate Davis Burson (138) won his second. Tyler Haskin (126), Billy Meek (160), Joey Tabachino (220) and Taylor Howard (285) were also victorious for the Greyhounds.

Henson, a returning state champion, won his title in a stacked field that included two other state-placers from a year ago — Harrison’s Anthony Fiacco and Sprayberry’s Thomas Cook.

After Fiacco slipped past Cook 3-2 in the semifinals, Henson — in a rematch of last year’s county championship —came out on top again in the final, this time by a 7-1 decision.

“To win three county championships is a real honor because it’s tough to do,” said Henson, who won at 140 pounds in 2011 and 152 last year. “I really looked up to guys like (three-time county champion and former McEachern standout) Brandon Westerman and what he was able to do here, so it’s an honor.”

Burson, a sophomore, scored a 2-point takedown with 1 second left in overtime to beat Kennesaw Mountain’s Augusto Paes 3-1. It was Burson’s second straight title at 138.

Tyler Haskin, a No. 2 seed, upset the top seed and returning county champion, Hillgrove’s Cameron Westerman, 8-0 at 126.

“This win really means a lot because I’ve lost in the semifinals the past two years and had some anxiety coming in,” Haskin said. “But that went away when I got past the semifinals and got the monkey off my back.

“I knew wrestling Cameron would be tough. He gave me my first loss of the season, and that motivated me. When I found out he was wrestling up (in weight class), I got excited to face him again, and it worked out for me.”

Meek beat Campbell’s Charles Robinson 10-3 at 160, while Tabachino pinned Hillgrove’s Peyton Hewitt in 24 seconds at 220. Howard pulled away from McEachern’s Sharrod Pittman and won 7-4 at 285.

Kennesaw Mountain collected two county champions. Rene Gutierrez (170) pinned Lassiter’s Connor Shields in 3:29, and Justan Rivera (182), a returning state and county champion, outlasted Pope’s Trevor Stevens 5-4.

Stevens placed fourth in the state last year and was third in county a season ago.

Rivera led 5-3 in the third period, but he was given a warning for stalling with 30 seconds left. Stevens managed an escape seconds later, and his takedown attempt in the final 10 seconds wasn’t enough to pull off the upset.

“I didn’t want to get another stall, and I didn’t want to go into overtime,” Rivera said. “I just went on emotion. Trevor is definitely one of the top guys out there that I’ve faced, and it was a good match. I’m glad I got to wrestle him.”

Wheeler placed four wrestlers and had two first-time champions in Aslan Kilic (106) and Wysmark Chaves (132). Kilic, a No. 3 seed, beat fourth-seeded Aaron Powell of Harrison 10-3, while Chaves, a No. 5 seed, defeated second-seeded Jamez Taylor of Campbell 6-3. Taylor placed fourth in the state last year at 132 pounds.

“Whether I’m wrestling a state-placer or not, it doesn’t affect me,” Chaves said. “I treat each match like any other match, but Jamez was a good buddy of mine at Wheeler my freshman year, and then he transferred. It’s the fifth time we’ve wrestled each other, and he’s won the last three, so it feels so good to get this one, especially as a fifth seed.”

Hillgrove, Harrison, Lassiter and Campbell each crowned one champion Saturday.

Hillgrove’s Carlin Powell slipped past Kell’s Matthew Springfield for a 4-2 win at 113 pounds, giving Springfield his second straight runner-up finish, while Harrison’s Dylan Porter beat Marietta’s Isaiah Borne 4-1 at 195.

Lassiter’s Paul Pelletier, who won county at 103 pounds two years ago, beat Pope’s Preston Markwell 10-2 at 120 for his third consecutive county title. Pelletier also won at 120 last season.

“People said (Markwell) would be tough, so I knew the first takedown would be crucial, and I got it,” Pelletier said. “I got a lot comfortable with the match after that. If feels pretty good to be a three-time champion.”

Campbell’s Jeremie Tuzizila topped Kell’s Kerry Louis 11-4 at 145 for his first county crown.

“This is the time of the year to wrestle well,” Tuzizila said. “People have been doubting me. I came into the tournament ranked third, even though I beat the No. 1 guy. I knew I had to make a statement (Saturday).”
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