In one of the Virginia AAA wrestling championships' most stacked weight classes, Battlefield's Gregg Martino found the edge he so desperately needed.
One of just three returning finalists from the Washington area, the 135-pound senior figured there was nothing he'd face this weekend that wasn't thrown in front of him last year -- a conviction that benefited him late in his 4-3 quarterfinal win over Westfield's Joel Hutchens last night.
"All those matches last year [at states], they were tough matches," said Martino, who narrowly lost to Gar-Field's Justin Hickey in the Northwestern Region final last week and could potentially meet him in today's final. "I don't lose my composure and I know that I can win those one-point matches."
With Martino (42-3) trailing for much of the match, he started the third period in the bottom position. Hutchens, the Northern Region champion, was penalized for an illegal hold and Martino was awarded a point to knot the score at 3. Hutchens opted to let him escape, and Martino was able to ward off several takedown attempts over the final minute.
"Gregg is just one of those kids who will just find a way to win," Battlefield Coach Tommy O'Neill said. "I love him dearly, but he makes me bite my nails. It just comes down to something like [the end of that match]."
Early Lead:Colonial Forge led nine-time defending champion Great Bridge 78-67 at the end last night, a major coup considering Great Bridge has traditionally opened an insurmountable first-day lead during its lengthy title run.
Still in the Running:Colonial Forge advanced six wrestlers to the semifinals -- Shane Gentry (112), Michael Garofalo (119), Joe Pantaleo (125), Philip Chichester (140), Max Huntley (171) and Matt Reck (215). Great Bridge also advanced six wrestlers.