Posted: Mar 17, 2019
Sophomore Kolin Johnson, an Electrician Apprentice from King George, VA made his mark Saturday winning the 133 lb National Championship. Entering the tournament as the #3 seed, Kolin would face #1 Brendan Hazelton of Grand Valley State, who defeated Kolin 10-2 previously this season.
Trailing 3-2 in the final seconds of the title bout, Kolin found a takedown on the edge of the mat with 12 seconds remaining to go up 4-3. In a frantic scramble from Hazelton to escape, Kolin was able to keep his toes in bounds and secure a pin with only eight seconds left on the clock. He finishes the season with a record of 40-10, including 22 pins. He is now a 2X All-American and National Champion.
The remaining four finalists failed to win titles as Erin Aragon (123 W), Colton Messick (125), Chad Simmons (157), and Ross Graham (197) each dropped their championship bouts to finish runner-up.
Aragon, the first female All-American for the Builders was caught with a dump from a front headlock early by now 4X National Champ Marina Goocher of Michigan Dearborn and was unable to find a way out. Erin recorded two first period pins in her first appearance at the big show on her way to the finals and will likely be a favorite to win next season.
Messick entered the final period of his final bout 0-0 after a scoreless first period and a two minute ride-out of David Campbell from Grays Harbor. Campbell was able to find a two point reversal with 24 seconds remaining to stop Colton from his second consecutive title with a 2-0 decision.
Trailing 2-3 in the closing seconds, Simmons appeared to have won the 157 lb crown, finding a reversal and nearfall points with two seconds remaining. Andrew Burgette of Liberty would reverse Chad at the buzzer to win 7-5. Chad finishes his career as a 3X All-American with a 127-49 career record.
In the showcase bout of the evening, Graham would give up an early takedown to Austin Amos of Liberty off his own attack. Amos would spend the remainder of the bout blocking and countering with a comfortable lead to stop Graham with a 10-5 decision.
The remaining Builders to finish on the podium were Tristan Mabe, Russ Pierce, and Steven Francisco.
After dropping his consolation quarters bout, Frankie would drop a hard-fought 9-5 decision to Austin Wells of Middle Tennessee to finish in 8th place. He finishes his career as a 2X Heavyweight All-American.
After defeating David Smith of Liberty in the consolation quarter-final, Pierce would drop his second loss to Giovanni Guarnero of Winona State to put him in the 5th place bout. In his final bout he recorded a first period pin with a headlock on the edge over Joseph Carbonaro of UCONN for a 5th place finish. Russ is the first 235 lb All-American in fourteen years for Apprentice. His only two losses were to the same opponent in the entire tournament.
Tristan Mabe also finished in 5th place, receiving a medical forfeit in his final bout. He recorded a second period pin over Marcus Martinez of Rutgers WC in the consolation quarterfinals before nearly upsetting Chad Cantrell of Liberty in the consolations semis, as time expired while holding Cantrell on his back with a late throw. Tristan's only losses came to 3rd place Cantrell, and Tyrae Carter who was selected as the tournaments 'Most Outstanding Wrestler'. Known for his grit, Mabe finished both of those losses on top working for a fall.
Ultimately, Liberty ran away with the team score in the final session finishing with 201.5 points, followed by Apprentice with 164, and Central Florida with 129.5.