Robinson wins Virginia AAA State Wrestling Championship

February 20, 2011

Jake Smith stood atop the winners' podium and the crowd booed.

The Robinson junior had just earned a controversial triple-overtime decision to win the 119-pound Virginia AAA State Wrestling Championship, and many raucous spectators apparently thought the win was undeserved.

For Smith the win wasn't perfect, but he wouldn't let the harsh reception ruin his championship moment.

"It makes a true champion when you can come in and wrestle like [garbage] and still win," Smith said. "A win's a win and I don't care what anybody else thinks. I have a state title."

Little came easily for Robinson in the championship round of the tournament it hosted Saturday night, but that did not stop the Rams from enjoying a historic team win.

Smith and 135-pound senior Brooks Martino won individual championships, and after dominating the tournament's earlier rounds Robinson held off defending champion Frank W. Cox to earn a state championship with 155.5 team points to second-place Cox's 125.

Three other Robinson wrestlers finished second, and the team title is the first AAA state wrestling championship for a team from the Northern Region since Robinson won in 1985.

"It's amazing," Robinson Coach Bryan Hazard said. "It hasn't hit me yet, but it's pretty awesome."

Smith looked ready to cruise to his championship in the best match of the night before Bayside senior Jerrelle McCabe scored a stunning takedown and two back points as time expired to erase a 5-1 deficit and force overtime.

Smith seemed frazzled by the sudden turn of events, and McCabe controlled the extra periods.

After Smith scored an escape point, McCabe appeared to have Smith pinned near the end of the third overtime but it wasn't awarded and Smith won, 6-5.

"I was wrestling a perfect match until those last couple seconds, but those last couple seconds I went into shock," Smith said. "It's good to know I can win a state title on my worst match."

Martino's win was more conventional, as he faced a tough opponent in Cox's C.J. Jablonski, but led throughout in an 8-4 decision.

Robinson's second-place finishers were 112-pound sophomore Dallas Smith, 285-pound freshman Jake Pinkston and 125-pound freshman Jack Bass.

Bass lost in an upset to Annandale junior Dane Harlowe, who won his first state title with a 4-1 decision a week after he dropped a lopsided 12-2 major decision to Bass in the Northern Region final.

Area competitors as a whole had a great tournament, with five local wrestlers winning individual championships and nine more placing second.

Other area champions were Westfield sophomore Beau Donohue, who won a 7-3 decision at 140 pounds over Forest Park senior Jacob Kingett, and North Stafford senior Justin Tribble, who capped a perfect 63-0 season with a 6-4 decision over Hickory senior Darren Hankins at 215 pounds.

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