Haislip wears bull's-eye, makes it badge of honor

March 30, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

After three years spent aiming at targets on other wrestlers' backs, Musselman senior Dustin Haislip bared the burden of the bull's-eye this season.

But no one could match his shot.

Haislip pinned East Fairmont's Steven Robe in 4:50 in the 135-pound final at the West Virginia Class AAA state tournament last month to capture his third straight state title. He won at 125 last year and at 112 as a sophomore, after placing third at 103 as a freshman.

"His sophomore year, he beat the No. 1-ranked kid in the state semifinals. And his junior year, he beat the No. 1-ranked kid in the finals," Musselman coach Mark Cagle said. "This year he was the No. 1 kid, and that's a hard thing to maintain. But as hard as they tried, nobody was able to beat him - and they tried hard."

Haislilp was named Outstanding Wrestler of the state tournament for the first time this year. And, for the second straight year, he is The Herald-Mail All-Area Wrestler of the Year.


"I wasn't really looking to knock anybody off this year," said Haislip, Berkeley County's first three-time state champ. "I was just going out there to hold my position and defend my state championship. But that didn't stop my aggression or make me overconfident.

"I didn't think I was better than everybody else just because everyone said I was."

He went out and proved again that he was better, going undefeated for the third straight year against West Virginia competition. He finished 42-2 for the season and 161-7 for his career with 94 pins.

"He has every school record," Cagle said, "all of them."

Haislip's only blemishes this season came in December at the nationally renowned Beast of the East tournament in Delaware, where he went 3-2 and failed to place.

"I wasn't afraid to go out there and lose," said Haislip, who never lost again.

He also wasn't afraid to dream big.

"I didn't have small goals," he said. "I always aim high and try to do the best I can. Some of my goals might be a little over my head, but that's what keeps me going."

"I definitely wanted to be a four-time state champ, but that didn't happen. But I wasn't going to let that stop me from getting three."

Haislip will spend next school year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I., before enrolling at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he already has been accepted.

He said his goal is to become an NCAA All-American wrestler.

Joining Haislip on the 2006-07 All-Area First Team are:

· Adam Barnette, Jr., Mercersburg Academy, 285 - Pennsylvania private-school state runner-up; placed seventh at prep nationals.

Season: 37-3; Career: 110-25

· Billy Barrett, Sr., Musselman, 125 - West Virginia Class AAA state champion.

Season: 42-3; Career: 140-22

· Tyson Bennett, Sr., Berkeley Springs, 160 - West Virginia Class AA-A third-place finisher at states; Region II champion.

Season: 48-4; Career: 163-21

· Billy Forquer, So., Hedgesville, 152 - West Virginia Class AAA state runner-up.

Season: 50-10; Career: 92-27

· Colton Gustines, Sr., Jefferson, 112 - West Virginia Class AAA state champion; Tri-State's only unbeaten wrestler.

Season: 37-0; Career: 137-15

· Derek Hovermale, Fr., Berkeley Springs, 103 - West Virginia Class AA-A state runner-up; Region II champion.

Season: 43-4; Career: 43-4

· Justin Hovermale, Sr., Smithsburg, 152 - Set school records for pins in single season (28) and career (85); went 2-0 at the postseason Maryland Senior All-Star Classic, defeating the state's top-ranked overall 152-pounder.

Season: 33-3; Career: 110-30

· Jimmy Hughes, Fr., Chambersburg, 112 - District 3-AAA Section I champion; All-Mid-Penn Colonial first-team selection.

Season: 31-6; Career: 31-6

· Cody Reed, Jr., Berkeley Springs, 189 - West Virginia Class AA-A state and Region II champion.

Season: 52-2; Career: 139-24

· Jimmy Sutch, Sr., St. James, 171 - Maryland private-school state runner-up; Saints' first state finalist.

Season: 39-3; Career: 115-23

· Jake Turner, So., North Hagerstown, 135 - Area's top finisher at Maryland 2A-1A states, placing fifth; West region runner-up.

Season: 21-8; Career: 28-18

· Joey Wilmot, Jr., Chambersburg, 152 - Placed fourth in PIAA District 3-AAA; All-Mid-Penn Colonial second-team selection.

Season: 31-6; Career: 76-26

· Bobby Wolford, Sr., Mercersburg Academy, 140 - Placed third at Pennsylvania private-school state tourney; had a team-high 43 victories.

Season: 43-7; Career: 133-46

· Mark Cagle, Musselman, Coach of the Year - Cagle, in his 13th year at Musselman, guided the Applemen to their first Berkeley County and Potomac Valley Conference titles. He had two state champions, Haislip and Barrett, and seven state qualifiers this season as Musselman had its best team finish at states, placing seventh.

"It was a dream year," Cagle said. "It was neat."

All-Area Second Team

· De'lon Agee, Jr., North Hagerstown, 119

· Chris Bell, Sr., South Hagerstown, 285

· Josh Borland, Sr., North Hagerstown, 171

· Alex Buterbaugh, So., James Buchanan, 140

· Jim Eichelberger, Jr., North Hagerstown, 140

· Jimmy Fiorita, Sr., Williamsport, 145

· Jeremy Harbaugh, Sr., Smithsburg, 189

· Jordan Heckman, Sr., Chambersburg, 215

· Charlie Kopp, Jr., Hedgesville, 285

· Dan Mazzei, Fr., Mercersburg Academy, 171

· Mike McClenning, Fr., St. James, 112

· Matt Nel, Jr., Waynesboro, 103

· James Reilley, Jr., Smithsburg, 130

· Garrick Skubon, Jr., Jefferson, 130

· Derek Straley, Jr., James Buchanan, 171

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