BY RANDY SACHS SPECIAL TO THE STAR-TELEGRAM
FEBRUARY 20, 2019 11:00 AM,
The two-time dual state champion Arlington Martin wrestling team will once again look to knock off Allen from the top podium step this week when the UIL State Wrestling Tournament takes place at the Berry Center in Cypress.
No one has been able to dethrone Allen for the last nine years.
And the Eagles are well-positioned to make it an even 10 this year.
While Martin has taken the dual team championship the last two years, they’ve also finished second to Allen at the state tournament several times.
Martin head coach, Patrick Dunn, said his Warriors have finished second “too many” times.
“It’s probably been five or six times,” he said.
The last two tournaments, Martin brought home silver.
The rule of thumb for winning a state tournament is to have the numbers.
Martin qualified 10 of the 14 weight classes while racing to a Region I championship last weekend. Allen will advance 13.
But a tournament format with a 16-man brackets will inevitably produce surprises, upsets and some wrestlers peaking at the right time, regardless of their season records.
“Allen is the best team for a reason,” Dunn noted. “But as long as we wrestle our best and just keep getting better, we’ll let the chips fall where they may.”
Outside of needing to wrestle to their potential, Martin will need help from others to knock some Allen wrestlers out of placement spots and garnering team points.
“They’ve got some hammers and we were hoping the brackets would fall differently,” Dunn said.
There are no head-to-head match-ups in the first round. Only at 195 are the two schools in the same half of the brackets. Max Soto (Region I fourth place finish) could face Allen’s Zane Davis (Region II third place).
At 106 pounds, the brackets are set to hopefully see Martin’s Donavan Whitted (31-5) face off for a state title against Allen’s Kade Moore (34-7).
Another such pairing is at 160, with Eric Twolance (27-8), Martin’s Region I champ, with Allen’s Alejandro Cavazos (37-11) on the opposite side.
Another factor playing into state tournament pairings has to do with the strength of the respective regionals. A tougher regional may pare down and knock out otherwise potential state placers.
Region I, held at Birdville ISD’s WG Thomas Coliseum, saw Martin take the team title in what many feel was the state’s toughest in 6A.
Martin outpaced second place El Paso Franklin, 235.5-161. Arlington Bowie was third at 122.
Allen was a resounding winner of Region II, taking the tournament title with 311.5 points to runner-up Prosper’s 135.
Katy could make things interesting in the state tournament. Many consider the Tigers the third-best team in the state behind Allen and Martin. They finished second to Martin in the dual state tournament.
Even if Allen extends their streak to 10 straight, Martin should be an even stronger contender next season as the Warriors have just three seniors and should have a strong contingent of freshmen stepping in next year.
“We just need every kid to make weight and wrestle, Dunn said. “As long we wrestle well, we’re good with what happens. If it’s not good enough (to win state), that’s OK,” Dunn said.
Other State Tournament Notes:
There are only six undefeated wrestlers in this year’s 6A state tournament, including Keller’s Parker Decker (42-0) and Adam Kilgore, Bowie (12-0). Preston Decker of Keller is 39-1. Katy’s Daniel Maniborg at 160, is 52-0.
Timber Creek’s girls enter the state tournament after winning their second straight Region I tournament title. The Lady Falcons qualified all five of their wrestlers. They finished sixth in last year’s 6A state tournament.
Grapevine’s Karestin Andrews was the Region 2 champ at 148 (27-2). The name may sound familiar. She is the sister of two other Grapevine state champions – Brian and Blake. Brian is now wrestling at Wyoming and collected three state titles while Blake had two. The Mustangs will take seven boys and three girls to the state tournament this week.
Northwest ISD had a state champion from each of their high schools last year. Mike Kumlien and Andrena Car, Justin Northwest; Mattison Parker, Haslet Eaton; and Lexie Basham, Trophy Club Nelson all won state titles. This year Basham is back at state, while Parker was injured late in the year. With Parker out, Eaton has Kaylynn Albrecht wrestling well, going in at 49-1 at 165. Northwest’s girls will take their second-place regional finish (five qualifiers) in 5A with hopes on Madison Brown (41-3 at 102 pounds) to bring home a title.
Other undefeated wrestlers are Azle’s Jasmine Howard at 29-0 at 95 pounds and returning state champion, Weatherford’s 119-pounder, Camille Fournier at 38-0.
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