Winning its final four dual-team matches by a combined 10 points, Concord Robinson's wrestling squad won the school's first team state championship in any sport, beating Orange County High 35-32 in the 3A finals Monday.
With the team score tied 32-32, junior Davante Andujar captured a 7-6 decision over Troy Jones at 140 pounds to clinch the Bulldogs' championship.
Junior Jake Eldridge won the meet's first match, taking a decision at 145 pounds. Robinson lost the next five matches and entered the heavyweight match behind 26-3.
Sophomore Jordan Taylor turned the momentum for the Bulldogs, grabbing a decision before the lighter weights came on.
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At 103 pounds, freshman Hamilton Jones recorded a technical fall for five points. Sophomore Garrison White and senior Dominic Parisi pinned their opponents at 112 and 119 pounds, respectively, and senior Jay Similton won a decision at 125 pounds to tie the team score at 26-26.
Robinson chose to forfeit at 130 pounds so that Caleb Swinson could bump up to wrestle at 135 pounds. The strategy worked as Swinson won by pin to knot the score at 32-32.
"Assistant coach Rick Hedden and I have been coaching together for nine years," said Robinson head coach Dave Parisi. "He has the unique ability to size kids up on the scales and is often the mastermind behind us juggling our lineup."
In his climactic match, Andujar jumped to a 2-1 lead in the first period, took a three-point lead in the third period and held on for the victory.
"The place went crazy," Parisi said. "We were in their house. When they started with the heavyweights, (Orange fans) were going nuts. They thought they were putting it out of reach."
Robinson reached the semifinals of the state dual team tournament last season when it was in 4A.
The Bulldogs opened the 2010 state playoffs Feb. 9 with a 56-20 win over East Rowan and finished the day by beating host Anson County 37-35. Two days later, Southwestern Randolph (35-33) and Enka (33-30) fell victim to Robinson in the next two rounds.
The championship match had been set for Feb. 13 but was postponed two days by snow. The Robinson wrestlers attended school Monday and then rode two hours by bus to Orange High.
Parisi and Hedden made a promise that they would copy their wrestlers' white-dyed hairdos if Robinson won the state championship. The night after winning the title, they were at Parisi's house getting an extreme makeover.