Collins Hill claims Blue Devil Brawl
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
January 26, 2014 12:49 AM | 1435 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Collins Hill took home the team title, while Marietta and Hillgrove each crowned a champion in Saturday’s Blue Devil Brawl at Marietta Garden.

One of the top teams in the state over the last decade, Collins Hill had six champions and scored 145 points to get the team title. Roswell was second with 118 points and four champions, while Marietta (82) finished third.

Grayson (71) was fourth, followed by Berkmar (53), West Forsyth (52), Hillgrove (42) and Troup (37). Berkmar and West Forsyth each had one individual champion.

“(The tournament) ran pretty smoothly,” Marietta coach Tommy Carthers said. “One of our goals is to try and get some of those tougher teams that we don’t see all year to come here and compete. We use this to try and get us ready for state by getting those good teams from Gwinnett County and from other surrounding counties, so we can kind of get an eye on them and see what they can do.

“Plus, it lets us get a tune-up before region. That’s really the main reason why we (have this event). That’s why we keep it so small, so we can do it in one day and get some matches in.”

Carthers was pleased with the effort from his Blue Devils.

Daniel Leon (113 pounds), Dareon Agurs (145), Alex Ambio (152) and Darrin Hypsher (195) each placed fourth, while Andres Macleesh was third at 182 pounds. Anthony Neary (160), Jonathan Gates (170) and Brian Marshall (285) each finished second.

Neary and Marshall were each pinned in the championship round. Gates had West Forsyth’s Austin Sanders locked in a pinning predicament, but Sanders was able to kick out and held on to beat Gates 6-5.

Brandon Hill defeated Collins Hill’s Kyle Henschel for the 220-pound title.

“It really does feel good to win,” Hill said. “It’s really starting to show off how hard I work, how hard the team works in the room and how hard my teammates push me. It’s finally starting to show on the mat and I’m getting pretty satisfied with what I’m doing.”

Hill captured his first Cobb County Invitational crown last week, giving him back-to-back championship medals heading into this week’s Area 4AAAAAA traditional meet at McEachern.

“I’m feeling good, but not to the point where I’m feeling cocky,” Hill said of his confidence level entering the area tournament. “I want to also still work hard and just try to be better and be the best I can be.”

Hillgrove saw Phillip McBride place second at 145 pounds and Kobe Hicks finish fourth at 285.

Carlin Powell rallied from a 5-0 deficit to beat Troup’s Adam Love by a point at 138.

“I came in here and figured I had a pretty good shot of winning it,” Powell said. “I had a tough first and second match. They weren’t easy. My third match, I made a mistake and got put on my back and had to battle back and work hard to finish with a win.

“Knowing that you won your last match makes you feel good. Losing your last match can make you work harder. It could go either way (going into the area tournament), but I’m feeling pretty confident.”

Hillgrove coach Shawn Slenczka likes how his team is coming together going into the final three weeks of the season.

“We didn’t bring many kids, but the ones we did bring fought hard,” he said. “(Powell) came back from a pretty big deficit in the finals to win it. (McBride) gutted out a couple of matches, so I’m proud of them. They’re starting to peak at the right time.

“We’re young. We don’t have any seniors this year, so we’re taking our lumps. Hopefully, I’ll have close to a full lineup next week, and we’ll just roll the dice and see what we can do.”
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