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Skubon shakes off third-period gaffe for JIT championship

January 06, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Mercersburg Academy junior Garrick Skubon made his 135-pound championship bout a bit more difficult than it needed to be Saturday at the Jefferson Invitational Tournament.

But the inconvenience could not shake his confidence.

Nursing a 2-0 lead, Skubon surrendered points on an escape and a stalling penalty in the final seconds to force overtime against Loudoun Valley's Jamie Hardey.

He responded with a takedown with 2.5 seconds left in overtime to win his first JIT title.

"(Hardey) was tying up my wrist, so I decided I would let him go because there was like five seconds left," said Skubon, the runner-up at 130 for Jefferson last year. "I kind of gave it to him. I just backed up too far."

The bout was scoreless going into the third period, which Skubon began on his knees. He scored a reversal with 1:38 and maintained control for the rest of the period. That is, until he shoved Hardey away to give him an escape and pull the score to 2-1. Skubon began to backpedal from Hardey and was called for stalling as time expired.

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"I watched (Hardey) for the whole tournament and saw that he was getting gassed late in matches," Skubon said. "I was confident I could get the win in OT."

Sophomore teammates Cody Barrick and A.J. Firestone also won titles for Mercersburg, which finished eighth in the 17-team tournament with 90.5 points despite bringing just six wrestlers.

"Essentially, we only brought the regional kids because of the break and we had two practices - Wednesday and Thursday," said Blue Storm coach Rick Hendrickson. "Six wrestlers and three champions. And even the three kids that didn't place wrestled well."

Barrick won his second straight JIT title with a 9-1 major decision over Musselman's Luke Dawson at 145. Barrick scored five points in the second period and got a takedown in the final seconds of the third period to seal the win.

"Before my match I was thinking that I had to come out and prove something after winning last year," said Barrick, who won at 152 last year. "We just got back from Christmas break and I thought if I could do well here, it would be a good start because it's only going to get tougher."

Firestone capped the day with a pin of Susquenita's Mike Bruetsch in 4:42 at heavyweight. Firestone led 3-0 before being put on his back early in the third period. He responded with a reversal and turned it into a fall to win his first tournament of the year.

"(Bruetsch) snapped me with a move that I wasn't ready for, then he kind of rolled me," Firestone said. "I was like, 'I'm not losing this,' and I turned him over."

Musselman finished 10th with 80 points, led by Dawson's runner-up finish and junior Jared Weatherholtz, who defended his title at 189. Weatherholtz dominated the championship bout against Loudoun Valley's Justin Belcher and took a 9-1 major decision.

"It's good. It feels good to win it twice," Weatherholtz said. "It's good to win any time you go out, you never want to lose. Losing can make you better in a sense, but in the end you always want to win."

"Weatherholtz is probably our highest ranked kid, so we could expect that," said Musselman first-year coach Mike Bosley. "Luke Dawson wrestled well to finish second, which is up from his seed (third)."

Jefferson sophomore Dylan Nick was the only other area champion after scoring a 9-4 decision over Shikellamy's Matt Wertz at 171. The bout was scoreless after the first period, but Nick scored four takedowns in the final three minutes to take his first JIT title. He was pinned in the semifinals last year.

"I knew (Wertz) was good at neutral, which showed at 0-0 after the first round. Once I score I get confidence, I'm more laid back and I can do more," Wertz said. "As a freshman I didn't really win as many weight classes because I was going against a lot of juniors and seniors, but it's prepared me for what's to come."

Jefferson finished with 66 points, good for 14th place. Hedgesville was 11th with 80.5 points and Martinsburg was last with 28. Shikellamy once again defended the title with 205 points, followed by Susquenita with 198.5 and Penn Manor with 195.5.

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