Grapevine wrestler wins state wrestling title

Posted Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Grapevine took three wrestlers to the UIL Wrestling State Championships and made the most of it.

Two Mustangs wrestled for a state championship and the other was a state placer.

Blake Andrews cruised to a perfect season and a state title at 220 pounds Saturday, posting a 37-0 record. Andrews beat Trey Smith of South Grand Prairie in the finals.

Gabe Cabrera, the Mustangs’ 170-pounder, notched a second-place medal after losing to Allen’s Bo Nickal in the finals. Nickal finished his high school career without a loss.

Freshman Brian Andrews, Blake’s younger brother, worked his way through the consolation matches on Saturday to take sixth place.

Oldest brother, Jacob, had nabbed a state title for Grapevine last year.

Grapevine coach Kent Hall said he knew all three Mustangs wrestlers could place, but admitted Cabrera’s finals appearance was just a little surprise.

“I knew he could do it, though,” he said. “It was close all the way, including an overtime win his first match and then two 5-4 decisions.”

For Blake Andrews, it was a vision realized after finishing as the runner-up last year as a junior. He took second place at 182 and spent the past year focusing on working out, becoming stronger, bigger and more agile.

“I worked out every morning from 8-10,” Andrews said of his conditioning program, which started in earnest immediately after surgery to repair a torn ACL.

Possibly one of the biggest surprises of the night was the championship taken at 160.

Michael Basler pinned Abbas Mounshed of Arlington Bowie to claim the state title for Southlake Carroll. Basler came into the tournament as the third-place finisher in his regional meet.

Basler lost to the El Paso Franklin wrestler in the regional tournament but upset him at the state semifinals in triple overtime.

“I felt confident because I had wrestled him [Mounshed] at regionals and it was pretty much the same result,” Basler said. “It’s been a lot of hard work but feels incredible when it pays off.”

Always next year

Keith McGee, a 220-pounder from Keller Fossil Ridge expected to be introduced at the championship finals but, instead, won third place. McGee was undefeated until his second-round match of the state meet.

McGee had to work his way back through the consolation rounds after shaking off the upset.

“At the beginning of the year, I kept telling myself I was going to be in the finals,” McGee said. “Then when someone catches you off-guard, got to keep telling yourself this isn’t the end.”

McGee finished the season with a 37-1 record, but feels the experience will benefit him next year as a senior.

Byron Nelson’s Blake Bunce was another area wrestler fully expecting to compete for a state title.

The 160-pounder earned third place but knew his journey was evolving.

“I had to make the transition from being an alternate last year,” Bunce said. “I just had to get to where I mentally believe what I can do. I’ve never been in this kind of atmosphere and I guess I let the pressure get to me last night,” he said of his quarterfinals loss.

“But I’ll use this experience for next year as a senior, but I’ll have a lot of work to do in the off-season because we’ll be moving up to 5A.”

Dylan Fawcett, Keller Central’s 138-pounder, finished third for the Chargers after an illegal move disqualified his opponent, leaving Fawcett with a scratched cornea.

Fawcett was joined by teammate Bryanna Perkins at 185, after she won bronze after beating Vine Kaihau of Trinity.

Girls win

Daysha Woods of Sam Houston won her finals match 13-10 over the same Carrollton Turner opponent she beat last year for third place.

Woods said she didn’t think the number of matches she logged was the difference.

“It’s just a matter of how hard you work and who you train with,” Woods said.

Once Woods regained the lead early in the final period, coach Amy McNease emphasized to stay back on her opponent: “No halves.”

“No halves, is what I heard her yell,” Woods said, keeping any rolls from changing the tide of the match the rest of the way.

Miah Acosta, Saginaw’s sophomore 215-pounder, had revenge on her mind in the 4A finals. Acosta lost to Carrollton Creekview’s Kenyasha Paige in the regional final for her only loss of the season. Acosta got out to a 6-3 lead in the second period and extended that for an 11-6 win.

Arlington Martin took second place as a team in 5A on the strength of Jose Taylor’s championship and Tanner Kuketz’s second-place finish.

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