Saturday, February 13, 2010

Robinson hopes to wrestle to state title

For most of the last year, the Concord Robinson wrestling team has worked to get back to this point. Now, the Bulldogs will have to wait a little longer as their 3A state championship match was postponed until Monday at 6 p.m. at Orange High School.

Robinson made it all the way to the 4A state semifinals in last year's state tournament before falling to Butler. This year, the Bulldogs (23-2) hope to win it all, but will have to beat two-time defending 2A state champion Orange.

But Robinson is used to good competition as the Bulldogs have won their last three playoff matches by a total of seven points, beating Anson County (37-35), Southwest Randolph (35-33) and Enka (33-30). Robinson also won the SPC conference and 3A Western Regional title.

"On paper I feel better about this match (against Orange) than I did the last two (SW Randolph and Enka), Robinson wrestling coach Dave Parisi said. "But they (Orange) aren't in the finals for no reason."

The Bulldogs are led by Coach Parisi's son Dominic. The younger Parisi, 41-2 this year, is a two-time individual state champion at the 112-lb. and 119-lb. weight classes. Parisi, who is being recruited heavily by American, Appalachian State and Virginia Tech, won 139 consecutive matches between the beginning of his sophomore year and this year (senior year), the fifth longest streak in state history. He is 156-2 in the last three seasons combined.

But Parisi doesn't have to do it all as Garrison White (119-lb.) and Davante Andujar (135-lb.) are also strong. Coach Parisi says the match against Orange could come down to four weight classes that include: Hamilton Jones (103-lb.), Jay Singleton (125-lb.), Caleb Swinson (130-lb.) and Patrick Oakley (140-lb.)

"We are very positive about our chances to win it all," Parisi said. "We know what we are capable of any time out and we know how to win."

Note: The students at Robinson are also behind their team as the school held a pep rally for the Bulldog wrestling team this week. The wrestlers were cheered on by their fellow students with a pep band as they walked down the halls.

--Jay Edwards