Virginia aaa wrestling

Jacob Crawford wins state title, Robinson finishes second overall

By Mark Giannotto
Sunday, February 21, 2010

Robinson sophomore Jacob Crawford was still covered in sweat when teammates and friends in the midst of celebration mobbed him at Saturday night's AAA state wrestling championships. Crawford knew they were there to congratulate him on his 6-2 state title win seconds earlier at 130 pounds over Michael Chalfant of Frank W. Cox, but he had yet to put what he and the Rams accomplished at their home gym this weekend into context.

The AA state champion in 2009 at Millbrook before transferring to Robinson this fall, Crawford expected to repeat this weekend. But in doing so, he unknowingly became the symbol for the Rams second-place finish in the team competition. Robinson finished behind only Cox of Virginia Beach, the strongest showing by a Northern Region team since Centreville took second place in 1994.

"It's really hard to put into words, you can't really describe the feeling but it feels good to know all our hard work has paid off," said a surprised and smiling Crawford when told of his team's accomplishment. Crawford's second-straight title came in dominating fashion, as he won his four matches in the state tournament by a combined score of 44-3. "I would like to have no points scored on me and pin my way all the way through, but I'll take what I can get."

His performance was the defining highlight for No. 1 Robinson, which finished with nine place winners. Freshman Dallas Smith (103 pounds) also made the finals before losing, 8-3, to Deep Run's Kasey Early. The Rams' Jake Smith (112) and Mickey Bennett (145) finished in third place.

But Crawford wasn't the only repeat state champion from the area. Westfield senior Austin Fallon helped catapult the Bulldogs to a third-place finish in the team competition by capturing his second-straight 189-pound state championship despite suffering a knee injury in the quarterfinals Friday. Fallon finished his high school career by defeating junior Charles Arnold of Deep Creek, 7-0.

"It feels great because there was pressure to repeat," said Fallon, who completed his senior season with a 52-1 record and leaves as Westfield's first-ever two-time state champion. "I felt it all season except for just before the match. Last year, there was so much emotion, but this year I'm able to comprehend it."

Three-time defending state champion Colonial Forge had four place winners, led by 215-pound senior Demetri Cox, who lost to Cox's Connor O'Hara, 7-2, in the finals. The Eagles fell to sixth in this year's team competition.

The other finalist from the area was Annandale 112-pound sophomore Dane Harlowe, who watched his 41-0 season come to a close with an 8-3 loss to Cox's Caleb Richardson.

Injury defaults: Top-seeded Lake Braddock senior Ross Renzi withdrew from this weekend's tournament after tearing two tendons in his right knee while winning the Northern Region championship on Wednesday night. The wrestler he defeated in that final, Westfield's Nick Grinups, was forced to take an injury default after suffering a concussion during his first-round match Friday afternoon.

Strong showings: Third-place finishers from the area included: Forest Park's Jacob Kingett (130) and Jorge Mendez (189), Westfield's Kyle Arnold (140), and Colonial Forge's Scott Reilly.

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