Pope claims seventh straight county championship
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
January 19, 2014 12:35 AM | 2595 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
or all the success Pope’s had over the last decade, it couldn’t claim a four-time county champion until Saturday. Jake Henson, top, did the honors with a decision against Allatoona’s Will Kemp at 160 pounds, helping the Greyhounds claim a seventh straight team title at the Cobb County Invitational. 
<Br>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
or all the success Pope’s had over the last decade, it couldn’t claim a four-time county champion until Saturday. Jake Henson, top, did the honors with a decision against Allatoona’s Will Kemp at 160 pounds, helping the Greyhounds claim a seventh straight team title at the Cobb County Invitational.
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
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MARIETTA — Eight first-time champions were crowned Saturday, while six others added on at the Cobb County Invitational on Saturday at Sprayberry.

Pope wrestlers claimed five of those wins as the Greyhounds led from start to finish and captured their seventh consecutive title with 260 points. Allatoona, which had two champions, finished a close second at 242.5 points, while Marietta (160) rallied to take third, with three title-holders.

It was the 43rd edition of the prestigious event.

“We placed 13 kids, so I’m really proud of them,” said Pope coach Jim Haskin, who turned 47 Saturday. “It’s really special to get our seventh straight on my birthday. It was a tough day, but the kids did what they were supposed to do.

“We’re still getting better and getting ready for area, sectionals and state. This is a great tournament to use as a stepping stone for the remainder of the season.”

Wheeler’s E.J. Walker won a 10-4 decision at 106 pounds to take home his first county title, while teammate Aslan Kilic wrestled an aggressive bout at 113 and won for his second straight championship.

“I’m aggressive in every match I wrestle,” Kilic said. “I stay on them and don’t let them breathe. It feels good to be a two-time county champ. I’m that much closer to my goal of four in a row.”

Kell’s Matthew Springfield, a two-time runner-up, finally won his first championship, holding off Harrison’s Aaron Powell for a 4-3 victory at 120.

“After coming in second two years in a row, it’s about time I won,” Springfield said. “It was a tough match. I was prepared and I’m happy I won.”

Allatoona’s Jarrett Williams won his first county title, 3-1 at 126, after scoring a 2-point takedown with 26 seconds left to break a 1-all third-period tie with McEachern’s Alex Noble.

Pope’s Tyler Haskin scored a pin in 1:35 at 132 to earn his second straight championship, while teammate Jake Adcock, a traditional state champion at Carrollton last year, claimed his first crown after downing Walton’s Jacob Murphy 10-2 at 138.

Murphy was also a state champion last season.

“Since I came to Pope, it’s been important to me to win a county championship,” said Adcock, who was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler. “My dad wrestled at McEachern and was a captain on one of their first state championship teams. He won county back in the day and it was always special to me to be a county champion, too. I couldn’t let my dad one-up me.”

Adcock was told by a trainer that he had broken his nose during his semifinal-round match with Kennesaw Mountain’s Augusto Paes. That didn’t stop him, however, who wanted to compete against Murphy for the title.

“I was looking forward to the match, even with my nose,” Adcock said. “The main thing was to put our state titles aside and not focus on that. You go out there and treat it like any other match.”

T.J. Collins continued Pope’s run of champions with an 18-7 major decision at 145. It was Collins’ first county crown.

Davis Burson then added to the Greyhounds’ haul following a 7-0 win at 152, allowing him to become a three-time county champion.

Jake Henson, who became Pope’s first four-time county champion, wrapped up the Greyhounds’ streak of five straight victories with a hard-fought 4-0 decision over Allatoona’s Will Kemp at 160.

“I never thought I’d be Pope’s first four-time county champ,” Henson said. “It was a goal this season and I’m honored to be included with the other guys that have won four in a row.

“Over the years, I’ve felt comfortable here, and I’ve gotten lucky that every kid I’ve wrestled in the finals I either knew growing up or had wrestled before. None of the wins have been easy, and this tournament has always gotten me ready for state and area.”

Marietta’s Jonathan Gates collected his first title with a 6-2 victory at 170, and Kennesaw Mountain’s Justan Rivera posted a 20-4 technical fall at 182 for his third straight crown.

Allatoona’s Coby Webb scored a pin in 1:04 at 195 pounds to capture his first county crown. It was the senior’s fourth straight pin of the tournament.

“I’m glad to get the opportunity to come back and make the finals in my last year,” he said. “I just wanted to score as many points as possible, and get a pin if it showed, and that’s what I got.”

Marietta’s Brandon Hill scored his third pin of the tournament to win at 220 and claim his first county title, while teammate Jeron Holsey, who also won county for the first time, held on for a 1-0 decision at 285.

“With three champs and finishing third, it just affirms what we’ve been telling these guys all year,” Marietta coach Tommy Carthers said. “They’re starting to believe it, and this is the best time of the season for that.”

More history was made Saturday as Mark Watson became North Cobb Christian’s first county placer with a third-place showing at 126 pounds.

“This was hard because there are a lot of good kids,” he said. “Our school is used to wrestling Class A teams, so this was a big step up for me and our program. Doing well here says a lot about what our wrestlers can do.”

The rest of the team standings saw Walton (149) place fourth, followed by Kennesaw Mountain (141.5), Wheeler (112), McEachern (111), Lassiter (107), Kell (106), Harrison (98), Sprayberry (47), Hillgrove (40), Campbell (36), North Cobb Christian (33), South Cobb (21), Pebblebrook (20), North Cobb (15), Whitefield Academy (11) and Osborne (4).
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