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Fields named wrestler of year

LILBURN - It's hard to imagine Carson Fields ever gets nervous when it comes to wrestling.

The way the Parkview wrestler dominated his opponents the last four years, it looked like the sport was too easy for him.

But next season things will change. The Daily Post's Wrestler of the Year will compete at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, where he'll no longer be the top guy at tournaments. He'll be one of dozens.

Which is why Fields is a little nervous about the next chapter of his wrestling career.

"Just balancing everything, grades and weight. All my workouts," Fields said. "It's going to be tough to balance, but I'm looking forward to it."

After facing so much adversity the last three seasons, Fields was finally able to finish his career with a state championship. He won the Class AAAAA 135-pound title at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in dominating fashion with four pins and a technical fall.

"It was great to have him dominate at the state tournament the way he did," Parkview coach Tom Beuglas said. "He is regarded as one of the top couple of wrestlers in Georgia and it was nice to see him prove it with everyone there to watch. I think he showed everyone how good he really is. He saved his best work for last."

Said Fields: "I wanted to dominate throughout the whole time. I'm pretty happy that I did."

Fields finished the season with a 64-2 record. His only losses were to three-time Florida state champion Tico Baez, who is ranked No. 5 in the nation, and to a Jefferson wrestler for an illegal slam.

"First of all, he's a great kid and comes from a great family," UTC coach Chris Bono said. "He's got the tenacity I look for in a wrestler. His passion for wrestling is amazing."

Fields finished his career as a three-time Gwinnett County champion and a two-time area champ. He won the McCallie (Tenn.) Invitational three times and won every tournament he wrestled but one the last two years. He finished with a career record of 182-9, but it also included four years of controversy, injuries, disappointment and triumph.

As a freshman, Fields cracked a rib the week of the state meet, but still managed to place sixth. The following season was the toughest. Fields was the weekly subject of Internet message boards. He and his family live in Flowery Branch in Hall County, but because his mother works at Camp Creek Elementary in the Parkview district, that allowed Fields to attend the Lilburn school.

Whether Fields was eligible to wrestle for Parkview was frequently the subject of wrestling fans across the state. So was Fields' weight.

With state champions Jon Puerta and Ryan Galloway at 112 and 119 pounds, respectively, that left Fields at 103 or the junior varsity.

All season he battled to make weight, but it caught up with him at the state meet. After winning his semifinal match, Fields couldn't make the last weigh out and had to forfeit his state finals match.

He rebounded that summer to win the Greco Roman national title, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country. Fields is just one of four Georgians ever to win the tournament.

It looked like Fields would finally win state his junior year, but a shoulder injury ended his season before the state meet.

That's why this season's state title was so special.

"All three years I was mad because I either did this or did that, couldn't wrestle at state, can't make weight or I got hurt or something," Fields said. "It was good to stay healthy this year and not have a weight where I'm killing myself."

Since Fields was an 8-year-old, his father made him fill out a goals sheet. In middle school his goal was to win Kids State, which he did twice. In high school, it was the win state, win nationals and be nationally ranked. He accomplished all three.

Now that he's going to wrestle in college, his goals are to be a national champion, win a world championship and be an Olympic wrestler.

"I think he has all of the tools to be successful in college," Beuglas said. "He has a lot of experience in big matches, he is technically sound and he is a very physical wrestler. I think the biggest thing will be for him to get stronger and to learn to manage his time because both wrestling and his academics will be demanding."

Fields joins a UTC program that is one of the best in the Southeast. The Mocs won their fourth straight Southern Conference title last week and their sixth this decade.

"Ever since Bono started coaching it's only been going up," Fields said. "I'm excited how it's going up and up and up."

That is one of the reasons Fields chose the school over Missouri and Hofstra. He plans to continue the Mocs' run in the Southern Conference while majoring in physical therapy.

"I looked at UTC and they had the major I want, they are close home, have good coaching, it's kind of like you've got a good program close to your finally," Fields said. "I think I'll do just as good here as anywhere else."

SideBar: ALL-COUNTY WRESTLING

Wrestler of the Year: Carson Fields, Parkview, Sr.

Won county and area titles, and Class AAAAA state championship with 64-2 record

Coach of the Year: Cliff Ramos, Collins Hill

Led Eagles to Class AAAAA state dual and traditonal titles

FIRST TEAM

103: Clint Jones, Parkview, Soph.

Area champ, fourth at state with 52-15 record

112: Andrew Sartain, Peachtree Ridge, Sr.

County and state champion with 59-3 record

119: Noah Hunt, Dacula, Jr.

State champion with 47-4 record

125: John Allgood, Collins Hill, Jr.

Area champion with 22-9 record

130: Jamal Shelton, North Gwinnett, Sr.

County and area champion with 43-11 record

135: Carson Fields, Parkview, Sr.

County, area and state champion with 64-2 record

140: Daniel Helena, Shiloh, Sr.

Area champion, state runner-up with 49-2 record

145: Taylor Knapp, Collins Hill, Jr.

County, area and state champion with 59-1 record

152: Gary Tiller, Collins Hill, Jr.

County and area champion, state runner-up with 50-10 record

160: Travis Sheehy, North Gwinnett, Sr.

County and area champion, third at state with 50-10 record

171: Nick Smith, Collins Hill, Sr.

County and area champion, state runner-up with 56-6 record

189: Sam Kuntz, Peachtree Ridge, Jr.

Area champion, state runner-up with 51-10 record

215: Kelby Smith, Wesleyan, Sr.

County, area and state champion with 54-2 record

285: David Coffey, Collins Hill, Sr.

Area champion, state runner-up with 52-5 record

SECOND TEAM

103: Greg Epps, North Gwinnett, Soph.

112: Frankie Miller, Dacula, Sr.

119: Allen Willard, Collins Hill, Soph.

125: Joe Epps, Brookwood, Jr.

130: James Smithson, Collins Hill, Sr.

135: Joel Smith, Collins Hill, Soph.

140: Kendall Albert, Peachtree Ridge, Sr.

145: Scottie Forrester, Buford, Jr.

152: Colin Genthert, Wesleyan, Jr.

160: Matt Chapman, Peachtree Ridge, Jr.

171: Rasheed Manson, South Gwinnett, Jr.

189: Michael Douglas, Wesleyan, Jr.

215: Brian Farris, Parkview, Sr.

285: Steve Buffington, North Gwinnett, Sr.