Last weekend, James W. Robinson High School was the venue for this year’s State Championship Wrestling tournament. The event consisted of 14 different weight classes and had dozens of schools all over Fairfax County convening in Robinson’s gymnasium. There were four regions and 57 schools with hundreds of individuals wrestling for the coveted State title.
The setup for this tournament happened on Thursday afternoon which took away the space that Robinson’s PE classes usually have. The head of operations was Jeff Ferrell, the Athletic Director for Robinson. “It’s fortunate that we have other schools that help us out setting up,” Ferrell said. According to Ferrell, there’s a bonus to hosting the Tournament which “Helps FCPS with travel reimbursement, when we travel it costs money, but this way, it allows students to stay home.”
The Gymnasium’s space allowed for 4 matches to go on simultaneously, with the lighter wrestlers on the left side of premise. The Weight classes increased as the mats progressed towards the right side of the building. However, early Saturday evening from 5:30-8:30pm, the champions were fighting for their holy grail on a large mat in the gym’s center. One of Robinson’s own students got to bask in the glory of the winning the 145lb State title.
Robinson Wrestler Liam Gordon, (Junior) took home the State title over Brendan Marcy (Senior) from Forest Park, Gordon shut down Marcy 10-0. Gordon’s Head Coach Bryan Hazard knew that winning in front of a ‘Home’ crowd would be sweet. “It’s always nice to win in front of your home crowd,” Hazard also noted that the tournament has been at Robinson the past seven years. He also explained that for some of the kids the familiarity helped with the pre-match nerves. But he added that, “Liam was ready for the match, the location wouldn’t have mattered to him, but sleeping in your own bed certainly helped a little bit.”
This year’s tournament was also a successful attempt for redemption when it came to Anthony Martin from Woodson. Martin, a Senior, had been in the State Tournament last year, but was unable to win his prize. But Saturday, He managed to win the first-place medal for the 132lb weight class in a hard fought 15-8 match against Jaheid Lucas (Junior) from Oscar Smith.
“It felt like redemption,” Martin said, who explained that not only did he lose the State Championship last year, but he didn’t even reach the tournament in 2017. “It’s difficult to articulate how incredible it feels to have accomplished this,” he said. Martin has won 4 District titles and is waiting on a response from the Coast Guard Academy to go there in the fall. But this State Title is Martin’s crowning moment, “This is my greatest accomplishment wrestling, being the only 4-time district champ in Woodson’s history is good but winning the state title is far more rewarding.” It was a great way to cap off both Martin’s High School career and the weekend. A perfect ending to a long rewarding career for a hardnosed fighter about to graduate.