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Landis is giant as JB pins down Chambersburg

February 06, 2004|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - With 13 matches in the book, it all came down to James Buchanan wrestler Anthony Landis.

Landis, the Rockets' sophomore 145-pounder, faced Chambersburg's Chris McLaughlin with the team score tied at 30-30. Neither wrestler had seen the other perform prior to Thursday night.

Even though McLaughlin gained the early advantage, Landis turned a reverse cradle and a second-period headlock into backpoints to pull away to a 10-5 victory and give James Buchanan a 33-30 victory.

"I really didn't think about it that much," Landis said. "This had been a great match and I wanted to do my part and help us win."

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"This was a big, big win for us," Rockets coach Bill Mitchell said. "Last year we couldn't even fill all the weight classes."

This year is much different for No. 5 James Buchanan (10-8), as the win over the Trojans assures the Rockets a winning record, their first in several seasons.

More importantly, Mitchell says his program has turned the corner to respectability.

"We matched up tonight and wrestled with focus and intensity," Mitchell said. "Landis came out and took it to (McLaughlin), and Wes Keener at 135 was a huge turning point."

It was in that match that JB's Keener used a head roll to pin Caleb Davis at 1:26 of the second period.

"(Davis) got a little high on me and I was able to turn him," Keener said. "I kept trying to get to him and I thought I could but he held me off for a while."

"Keener's pin put us back in it, no doubt," Mitchell said.

The six team points gave the Rockets the lead again after Mitchell watched an early 18-0 team lead evaporate as Chambersburg put together a pair of pins and a forfeit to forge ahead. With four matches left, the Trojans led, 27-18.

"This is definitely a big win for them," Chambersburg coach Doug Rine said. "They were more emotional than us and we simply got outwrestled."

"We have better technique and it gets better all the time," Mitchell said.

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