Lassiter wins own invite’s team title
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
December 15, 2013 12:49 AM | 1737 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Despite not crowning any individual champions, Lassiter was able to win the team title of its MTXE Invitational on Saturday.

The Trojans scored 159.5 points behind the strength of seven runners-up and other placers to beat out Wheeler (146), which had three champions and three runners-up.

Kennesaw Mountain (140), Holy Innocents’ (104) and Sprayberry (82) rounded out the top five. Campbell (65), Stephenson (64.5), Arabia Mountain (62), Chamblee (44) and North Cobb Christian (34) completed the team standings.

“It’s always good to win a tournament,” Lassiter coach Matt Brickley said. “It was a smaller tournament than we’ve had in previous years, but there were some good, competitive wrestlers here and I think the guys came away with some good matches.”

Brickley, the Trojans’ first-year coach, saw his current group of wrestlers beat the team he previously led, Wheeler.

“Certainly, putting seven guys into the finals is a good thing, but we went 0-7 in those matches,” he said. “Winning overall is nice, so I can’t complain with first place, but it’s overshadowed by the fact that we still have some work to do.”

Wheeler started the championship round on a good note with wins in the first three matches.

E.J. Walker won a 5-1 decision over teammate Devin Smith at 106 pounds, while Avi Lyons pinned Lassiter’s Justin Getz in the first period at 113. Aslan Kilic won a third-period pin at 120.

“I cut weight just to get into this,” said Lyons, who, along with Getz, were the only two wrestlers in the 113-pound weight class. “I didn’t have a lot of matches — just the championship — but I didn’t let that get to me.

“There was a lot of waiting around (Saturday), but I have an aggressive mindset, so I just went through my routine when it was time to go and I was ready.”

Wheeler coach Steve Gatanis was pleased with the effort from his team.

“The guys wrestled their hearts out,” he said. “They left it all on the mat and gave everything they had.”

Kennesaw Mountain, which only entered seven wrestlers, collected the most individual champions with four.

Augusto Paes won over teammate Henrique Thelemaque via forfeit at 145 pounds, while Brycen Colon topped Lassiter’s Woody Carter 5-3 at 152. Justan Rivera scored a 58-second pin over Lassiter’s Connor Shields at 182, and Kobe Gadson recorded a first-period pin over Lassiter’s Ahmad Alexander at 285.

Always the competitor, Thelemaque challenged Paes for his first-place medal. Both wrestlers kept their head gear and uniforms on away from the action on the mats, and used a best-of-three match of rock-paper-scissors to determine the medal winner, which Thelemaque eventually won.

“Yes!” he exclaimed as he exchanged medals with Paes, who could do nothing but smile.

Holy Innocents’ tied Wheeler with three individual champions, while Sprayberry had two.

The Yellow Jackets saw Tyrik Woods hold on for a 4-2 victory at 160 pounds, beating Holy Innocents’ Owen Penn, the No. 1 seed. Woods, who was at least 6 inches taller than Penn, had to adjust his style because of his height advantage.

“It seems like (Penn) was pretty confident going into the match, but I wanted to show him I should have been the No. 1 seed,” Woods said. “It feels great to win. I was third here last year, so winning this is nice.”

Sprayberry’s Christian McLellan recorded a third-period pin over Lassiter’s Steven Curran.

Arabia Mountain had one champion as did North Cobb Christian, which only brought three varsity wrestlers.

Freshman Mark Watson upset Wheeler’s Sergei Kilic at 126 pounds, topping the No. 1 seed 6-4 in overtime.

“There was a lot of good competition here, and that’s helping me become a better wrestler,” Watson said.

Watson is the oldest of three sons of former North Cobb Christian coach Leah Watson, who, along with current coach Keith Masters, helped found the Eagles varsity wrestling program before the 2011-12 season.

Leah Watson wanted to give her sons an opportunity to compete as varsity wrestlers when they got older, and the fruits of her and Masters’ labor led to Mark’s first varsity championship medal.

“It’s a good program with a lot of coaches and kids,” he said. “The best part is we’re all Christians and we love the Lord.”
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