Farewell to a Champion
Picture courtesy of Leftwich Photos (Charles Leftwich)
Isaac (Warmup - Thursday)
McMillian (1st Round)
Last February (2015), Isaac McMillian walked off the mat after finishing second in the 2A State at the 152 lb weight class. Everyone that followed Isaac throughout that season was proud of his accomplishment, but it was obvious that Isaac was not content with second. Almost a year would pass before Isaac got his chance to compete for the State Championship again. A year filled with dominating victories. Issac finished the regular season with an unblemished record (48-0), taking the MidWest Regional Tournament with ease.
At the State Championship, Isaac pinned his first opponent at the 1:43 mark of the 1st period. One match down, and three to go as the format dictates. In the State Championship, each of sixteen wrestlers have a match on Thursday night. The winners of each match will not wrestle again until the following morning. Winners keep advancing while losers move to the consolation side of the bracket.
Isaac's second match came against Kee of Shelby High School who had a record of 52-3. This match was all offense as both wrestlers were able to get the upper hand at one point in the match. Isaac got a scare as Kee was able to get Isaac on his back. This must have sent a wake-up call to Isaac as he escaped and pinned Kee at 1:56.
Isaac met a familiar foe in the 3rd round as he stepped onto the mat against Salisbury's Willie Clark. Clark finished in 4th place in the Regional Tournament, but upset Corbell in the 2nd round to get to Isaac. Isaac made quick work of Clark to reach the championship match against Spears of RS Central. A year had passed, and now Isaac had returned to Mat 2 where his season had ended in 2015 with disappointment. This time would be different. Isaac was in complete control from the beginning. As the time ticked away, the anticipation grew. Finally, the match ended and Isaac's hand was raised by his opponent in a classy acknowledgment of the 2A State Champion!
Isaac's career at Forbush is now complete. At 52-0 and the 152 lb champion, Isaac was indeed able to walk off the mat on his own terms. Good luck at the National tournament!
Caleb (1st round victory)
Price (In control)
Paying the Price
Caleb Price continues to make the State Finals which is a difficult feat to say the least. Unfortunately for Caleb, he hasn't caught the break needed to place in the tournament. In 2015, Price lost his first match in the 106 lb class, but then battled back with two straight wins before finally getting knocked out in a close decision just before placing. Not bad for a sophomore.
This year, as a junior, Caleb had bumped up to the 113 lb weight class. Caleb finished 4th in Regionals to gain access to the State tournament, and looked poised to be a tough out. In the first round, Caleb took the mat against the 1st place (ME Region) Stafford. Caleb caught Stafford by surprise and got a take-down to upset his opponent with a 11-9 decision. Caleb's road continued to be difficult as he faced off against Clary (44-10) of West Lincoln in the 2nd round. This match was also close until the end, but Price ended up on the wrong end of a 2-5 decision. Caleb was bumped to the consolation side of the bracket to try and compete for 3rd place. Caleb put up another great effort, going 1-1 in his final two matches, but came up just short of placing for the second consecutive year. With another year of experience under his belt, Caleb will be pushing hard next year to get back to the State tournament to try his luck again.
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Edwin Alvarenga was not a participant in 2015, and spent half of the 2016 season trying to get back in the swing of things. In fact, Edwin only wrestled a total of 20 matches this season. That includes five matches at the State tournament. In Edwin's case it must be like riding a bike.
Edwin entered the State tournament as an underdog with the low number of matches registered during the season. He had finished 3rd in the Regional tournament to earn a spot. In his first match, it looked as if his opponent overlooked him just a bit. Edwin came out of the gate strong, and earned a take-down just before the end of the period to gain the lead. That was the turning point of the match. His opponent, Gilbert of East Burke fought hard to get back in the match, but could never get Edwin to give up control. Alvarenga won the match with a 7-4 decision and advanced to the 2nd round to face the #1 seed out of the East region. Edwin pinned him just before the period ended to get to the semi-finals.
In the semi-final match, Edwin ran up against Norman of the West region. Norman had one his previous two matches with ease (pin, 7-0), but now was in a dogfight with Edwin. The match went down to the wire with Edwin coming up short on points with a 4-6 defeat.
Edwin won his final two matches 5-2, 6-1 to get 3rd place in the 120 lb weight class. Considering where Edwin started it is fair to say that he accomplished a lot this season. With another year to go, Edwin will be a tough competitor in 2017.