SUWANEE - Jon Isburgh was on his way to the biggest win of his career on Thursday at the traditional state wrestling tournament.
The Grayson senior was up 7-3 in the third period on Union Grove's Justin Crozier when a signature win turned into a controversial loss.
Isburgh had double leg control with one wrist and was working a half nelson with the other. The ref stopped the match when it looked like both hands were touching, which is a full nelson and is illegal.
Crozier, who is a defending state champion and was projected to win this year's 125-pound title, was given a point for the illegal hold. Medical staff attended to Crozier on the mat and eventually he was unable to finish the match and was awarded the win.
Anytime a wrestler is hurt on an illegal move, the injured wrestler is given the victory.
"You can ask anyone in here when the ref stopped the match, his coach went over and said something to Justin," Isburgh said. "I've had people come up to me telling my hands didn't touch and I won that match."
Instead of making it to the quarterfinals for the first time, Isburgh will now have to battle back in the consolation bracket.
"I'm going to come back and take third and show everybody that I should have been in the finals," Isburgh said.
Big time quarterfinals
There are several high caliber matches in today's Class AAAAA quarterfinals, which begin at 11:45 a.m., for Gwinnett County wrestlers.
North Gwinnett's Travis Sheehy, a two-time state runner-up, will take on Bradley Banks, who placed third last year, in the quarters.
"I'm excited and I know I'm ready," Sheehy said.
Sheehy won his first match on Thursday by pin and followed that up with a victory be technical fall.
"I was a little sloppy," Sheehy said. "I guess it was just the first day of the tournament and getting that out."
Sheehy's teammate Jamal Shelton was the only other Bulldog to reach the quarters.
In some of the other quarterfinals, Brookwood's Chris MacLafferty, a fourth-place finisher last year, will wrestle Walton's Andrew Lanham, a third-place finisher a year ago at 145 pounds.
Parkview's Clint Jones will be wrestling Camden County's Stephen Spradlin (fifth last year) at 103. At 140 pounds, Collins Hill's Sam Hoppenbrouwer will take on Harrison's Alex Medved (fifth last year) and Peachtree Ridge's Kendall Albert (two-time state champ) will wrestle Kell's Gerrard Spice (fifth last year).
Peachtree Ridge's Andrew Sartain, a state runner-up last year, will face Kennesaw Mountain's Ryan Maus in the 112-pound quarterfinals. Maus defeated Pope's Dexter Bushart, a fourth-place finisher last year, by pin in the second round.
"I'm not surprised he beat him, I'm surprised he pinned him," Sartain said of Maus' win. "I think it will be a good match. He's quick like me."
Sartain beat Maus early in the season 5-2 and today's winner advances to the semifinals.
Eagles put 11 in quarters
Collins Hill wrestling coach Cliff Ramos was happy to get 11 of his 13 wrestlers into today's Class AAAAA quarters.
"I was hoping for 10 and expecting nine," Ramos said.
The Eagles got big wins from Hoppenbrouwer, Joseph Doyague and C.J. Collins.
Hoppenbrouwer defeated Brookwood's John Matyac, a state placer last year, 10-8 and then won in the second round.
"That was the most exciting match of the year," Ramos said.
Doyague and Collins each beat area champs to advance.
"We won some matches that we were not favored in," Ramos said.
Man on a mission
After placing second as a freshman, the state tournament hasn't been too kind to Daniel Helena.
The Shiloh senior lost by one point in the quarterfinals as a sophomore and in the second round last year.
The way Helena has been wrestling the last few weeks, it looks like he could be back on the podium on Saturday.
"This tournament has put a sour taste in my mouth the last two years to say the least," Helena said. "I'm wrestling pretty good right now and I'm looking forward to finishing strong."
Helena is 44-1 this year with his only loss coming to Brookwood's John Matyac at the county tournament. Helena beat Matyac last week for the Area 8-AAAAA title.
On Thursday, Helena defeated North Gwinnett's Corey Newman in the first round and Warner Robins' Kevin Ciciora by pin in round two. He'll face Union Grove's Chris Phillips in the quarterfinals today.
"I don't know much about him," Helena said. "I'm trying to finish on top."
Dacula sends 4 to quarters
Dacula's Frankie Miller and Noah Hunt were expected to be in today's Class AAAA quarterfinals. But the Falcons got two more there as well.
John Hall (145 pounds) and Zeke Hunt (152) also reached the quarters.
Hall won by pin and then 5-4 in the next round and Zeke Hunt won a close 8-7 decision and by pin.
Miller, a state runner-up last year, won both of his matches by pin at 112 and Hunt won by pin and DQ at 119.