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Navy-bound Haislip can count losses on two hands

January 05, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

Musselman senior Dustin Haislip doesn't know how many high school wrestling matches he's won.

"I don't know," he said. "I only keep track of my losses."

That's easier than counting all of his victories.

Haislip, a two-time West Virginia Class AAA state champ, is 16-2 this season and 135-7 for his career.

Both of his losses this season came at the prestigious Beast of the East tournament in Delaware, where Haislip went 3-2 at 135 pounds and failed to place.

"It probably is the top tournament in the country, the elite of the elite," Musselman coach Mark Cagle said. "Dustin beat a two-time New Jersey state champ there."

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"I didn't expect to go there and dominate everybody, but I always set my goals high - to be the best and beat the best," said Haislip, last year's Herald-Mail Wrestler of the Year. "It was humbling, but I try to look at all my losses as positives because I learn from them."

Haislip - the state champ at 112 as a sophomore and 125 as a junior - is set to continue his education on and off the mat at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He was accepted in mid-September.

"Dustin has that work ethic, that demeanor," Cagle said. "He strives to be the best and that's what they look for."

Haislip said he's had his heart set on the Naval Academy since he was a freshman.

But first he'll spend a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I.

"It's pretty much a maturing year," Haislip said. "I could go straight into the Naval Academy, but because you can't redshirt, the coach really likes his wrestlers to go to the prep school because it gives them an extra year. It's also a big advantage academically, so the academic load won't seem so harsh that first year."

Five Naval Academy wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Division I championships last year.

"I want to go there and do the best I can and try to earn a spot," Haislip said. "I just want to work my way up from there and hopefully become an NCAA All-American."

But first things first. Haislip admits it's tough to look past this weekend's 34th annual Jefferson Invitational Tournament, where he'll try to become the tourney's first four-time champ.

"Jefferson is really tough. They bring in some quality teams," he said. "I'm excited."

Notes: Jefferson senior Colton Gustines will be aiming for his second straight JIT title at 112. ... Gustines is 12-0 this season. Other unbeatens include Smithsburg senior Justin Hovermale (14-0) at 152 and Mercersburg Academy junior Adam Barnette (8-0) at 285. ... St. James senior Jimmy Sutch (8-1) is Washington County's only wrestler in the Maryland overall rankings. He's No. 3 at 171. ... Mercersburg's Bobby Wolford (140) recently earned his 100th career win, joining fellow senior co-captain Nick Mazzei (152) in the Blue Storm's Century Club. ... Waynesboro (2-1), under first-year coach Eric Mowen, already has equaled its total victories from last year's 2-16 season.

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