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February 2, 2014

HUNTSVILLE WRESTLING — The Hornets are state-bound

Lady Hornets repeat as regional champs; Hornets finish second in team standings at Class 4A Region III wrestling tournament

CYPRESS — At the opportune time, the Hornets and Lady Hornets wrestlers keep getting better and better.

Back in the Region III tournament, where the Huntsville girls won a regional title and one of the Huntsville boys clinched a trip to the state tournament in 2013, the Hornets and Lady Hornets collectively outdid themselves Saturday at the Berry Center.

The Huntsville girls successfully defended their title and repeated as the Class 4A Region III champs as well as advanced all nine wrestlers onto the UIL Wrestling State Tournament.

Additionally, the Hornets took second in the boys team standings, just behind Dallas Highland Park and qualified four wrestlers for the state tournament.

“This is just exciting. We lost half our girls from last year, so it’s exciting to come back and still get first,” said Marissa Dixon, who won the girls 138-pound regional championship and was also voted as the region’s Class 4A Girls Most Outstanding Wrestler.

 Along with Dixon, sophomore Latresha Johnson (215) and senior David Magness (120) also won regional championships.

“We had three kids get regional championships,” said coach Dean Schaub, who was named the region’s Class 4A Coach of the Year for both the boys and girls. “David won his first. Latresha, she did a great job.

“I’m proud to be a Hornet. Our little wrestling program has got people to turn their heads now all over the area. That’s all because of their work ethic.”

Following Friday’s results, the Lady Hornets had a huge 54-point lead on the rest of the teams in their field.

All nine wrestlers were still alive in the tournament.

Sophomore Laterrica Riles came close to finishing with a regional title of her own, but had the tables turned on her in the 128-pound championship bout by Humble’s Kaylin Vinson.

In Dixon’s title-winning match, she trailed for most of it. After scoring a takedown in the first round, College Station’s Bri White held a 2-0 lead.

White also had the upper hand throughout the second round.

Dixon got a break early in the final round when White committed a violation that brought the Lady Hornet junior to within a point.

After knotting the match at 2 late in the round, Dixon escaped a maneuver and took a 3-2 lead that she held onto through the end of regulation and secured her regional championship.

“It was really crazy actually because me and her have wrestled like six times now. She’s won and I’ve won, so it really could’ve went either way,” Dixon said. “It was really exciting to get that win.”

Also placing for the Huntsville girls were third-place finishers Kori Beckham (19), Skylar Brock (148), Zenia Hernandez (165) and Christian Walker (185) as well as Jordan Kader (102) and Maya Lewis (110), who both finished fourth.

“I was nervous at first,” Hernandez said. “I just wanted to go out and do my best. I’m really excited. I think it’s going to be really fun.”

As a result of finishing in the top four in the regional in their respective weight classes, all nine Lady Hornets qualified for the state tournament.

For the Huntsville boys, success at the regional tournament was mostly a new concept since senior Toby Dierksheide was the only Hornet to advance to the state tournament last winter.

This was a different, motivated boys squad.

On the championship mat, Magness had arguably one of the most compelling matches of the day.

He fell behind early in his bout against Humble’s Chris Ringo on a reversal, but got both points back with a pair of escapes by the end of the second round.

Ringo scored a reversal at the beginning of the final round to take a 4-2 lead.

Magness got within a point, but was running out of time.

As the clock was winding down to the final seconds of regulation, Magness maneuvered in a way near the boundary line and Ringo was caught with his hands illegally clasped. That resulted in a one-point penalty that drew the bout even and forced overtime.

“A match with low scoring is usually the best matches you’ll see,” Magness said.

“I tried to get an escape and I guess what had happened was that I landed on my butt and he still had his hands locked. They called him for a technical point. It was literally at the last second.”

In the sudden death overtime, whoever lands the first takedown wins the match.

Near the boundary line, Magness was on his back, but he wiggled his way out of a hold on a reversal and took Ringo to the mat for the takedown and won the regional championship.

“The only thing that was going through my mind was Coach telling me that you’ve got to get this takedown,” Magness said.

“He almost took me down. He had my leg and I had his leg. I lifted it up and landed on my back. I had a split-second to turn around and land on him for those two points. It was very exciting.”

Dierksheide clinched a second straight berth to the state tournament with a second-place finish in the 138-pound weight class.

“I really wanted to get first,” Dierksheide said. “Last year, I placed fourth. I thought I could’ve gotten first. I made a little mistake and ended up second.

“I don’t feel bad because I still get to go to state and get another chance.”

Jordan Johnson (160) placed third and Morgan Carr (182) took fourth to both secure state tournament spots.

Nic Dornbush (152) also finished fourth, but had to wrestle Humble’s Garrett Holder, who finished fifth, because the two hadn’t wrestled in the tournament.

Holder pinned Dornbush to take away the state tourney spot.

A.J. Robertson (106), Randy Shipman (195) and Bailey Larson (220) finished fifth, just shy of qualifying for state. However, if any of the top four wrestlers in their respective weight classes is unable to compete, then those Hornets would take part in the competition as an alternate.

Elijah Dierksheide placed sixth.

Additionally, assistant coach Eddie Pierce was selected as the top Class 4A Region III assistant coach.

The 13 Huntsville boys and girls have two weeks to prepare for the state tournament, which will be held at Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center on Feb. 14 and 15.

“What we’ll do is just business as usual,” Schaub said. “We’ll still have practice everyday. We might shorten practice a little and they’ll have next weekend off. We’re really going to hit it hard in two weeks and I really don’t want to change it too much because kids really like that consistency.”

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