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Cooper shows first-rate form


Owings Mills' Robbie Cooper edged Dulaney's James Knox, 3-2, in double overtime of their 119-pound title bout in yesterday's fifth annual Parkville Invitational, but each wrestler showed championship class.

Though it was Cooper, a returning state champion, whose hand officially was raised in victory, the Owings Mills wrestler then raised the hand of Knox, a state runner-up.

"He deserved to win. He out-wrestled me," said Cooper, who is 10-0 to Knox's 8-1. Cooper was named Outstanding Lowerweight Wrestler.

"I'm good on my feet, but I didn't open him up or get the takedowns I should have. I'd like to maybe wrestle him again, show I can beat him, but he's tough."

Though his corner argued for an escape point that might have spelled the difference between winning and losing, Knox had no excuses, saying, "He beat me."

"You can't always depend on the referee to give you a call," said Knox, who said he is winless against Cooper dating to their junior days.

Cooper's teammates, Eric Vinores (125), Ryan Nash (130), Sasha Binder (140), Mike Kessler (152) and Eric Fishel (171) also won titles as the No. 3 Eagles defeated runner-up Eastern Tech, 246 to 171.5, for the team crown.

Nash won his first high school tournament title and Vinores his third as each moved to 9-0. Binder (8-0) swept through his opposition with his sixth, seventh and eighth pins. Fishel (9-0) had a pin and two major decisions, the latter for the title over Edgewood's Eric Lindblad (9-1) in a rematch of Fishel's 17-5 regional-title win.

Kessler was named Outstanding Upperweight Wrestler. He pinned twice to reach the final, where his 11-1 rout of Eastern Tech's Chris Clark (9-1) included six near-fall points.

"I never thought I'd dominate like that," said Kessler, who plans to drop to 145 pounds.

Eastern Tech crowned John Mullinix (135) and Justin Shaffer (160), each of whom is 10-0. Mullinix earned his seventh, eighth and ninth pins - the last for the title against Owings Mills' Jon Demchick.

"Beating Demchick was a huge because everyone thought I would lose," said Mullinix, a sophomore. "I knew I would win, but I made a statement by pinning him."

Havre de Grace 103-pound wrestler Robert Peak (8-0) had pins in 29 and 53 seconds, and a third in 5:23 of his title bout with Dulaney's Scott Carroll (7-1). With the match tied at 5, Peak got a headlock, rolled through Carroll's counter and came up with the fall with 23 seconds left.

Patterson's Thomas Smith (189) and DeShawn Barrett (215) each won a title, also. A former junior league state champ, Barrett (7-0) pinned all three opponents in the first period. Smith, a highly recruited, All-Metro running back, was persuaded to return to the mats just last week.

"I was going to take my last year off to lift weights and get ready for [college football], but DeShawn convinced me I'd miss wrestling," said Smith, a two-time city champ in his first competition of the season.

Pikesville's state runner-up, Alex Prezenchuk (112), earned a technical fall, a pin and a 6-0 title-bout win, and teammate Phil Thomas (heavyweight) scored a takedown with eight seconds left in his 6-4 championship win over Parkville's Charles Watkins.

Catonsville junior Alex Broadwater's victory in the 145-pound class was his second high school tournament title.

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