Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Wesleyan's Josh Tolman celebrates the Class A state championship after winning the 145-pound match on Saturday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
DULUTH -- All week Josh Tolman worked on a hip toss that Wesleyan coach Jeff Plunk wasn't sure he would use in the state tournament.
The Wesleyan senior saved the move for the Class A state finals on Saturday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Tolman tossed Bremen's Zac Bell to the mat in the first period for a 5-0 lead and went on to win the 145-pound state championship 11-6.
"As soon as you go up 5-0 in the first period, that's very demoralizing," Tolman said. "Most guys would have given up, but I give credit to him, he never gave up. "
Tolman joined teammate Zack Rindik as state champions on Saturday.
Rindik defeated Bowdon's Patrick Thompson 3-2 in the 119-pound finals and then held back his emotions as he celebrated with his family.
"It's incredible. I thought I could keep a straight face afterward, but I can't," the junior said. "I'm in denial. I thought I would win, but I wasn't sure."
The duo helped Wesleyan to a fourth-place place finish in the Class A standings with 112.5 points. Bremen won the title with 255.5 points, Gordon Lee (191.5) was second and Commerce (180) was third.
Wesleyan had eight state placers. Alex Sierota (125) was third, Zach Taylor (112) and John Mosley (160) were fifth and Conor Fitzpatrick (103), Rhett Delk (140) and Andrew Whited (152) placed sixth.
"These guys worked so hard and I couldn't be prouder of them," Plunk said.
Lions' Petrushev claims championship
Gwinnett County hasn't had a four-time state champion since Collins Hill's Tyler Parker completed the feat from 2002-05.
Peachtree Ridge's Tsvetomir Petrushev might be the next.
The freshman defeated Union Grove's Hunter Gamble to 3-2 to win the Class AAAAA 152-pound state championship.
"I don't believe it. I don't know if it's true or not," Petrushev said. "I felt like everyone was relying on me to win it."
Petrushev moved from Bulgaria nine years ago and has excelled in wrestling. He won kid state titles as a seventh- and eighth-grader and kept it rolling as a freshman for the Lions. He upset defending state champion Jonathan Rivera from Kennesaw Mountain in the semifinals and finished the season with a 39-4 record.
Since Parker's four-peat, Peachtree Ridge's Kendall Albert and Collins Hill's T.J. Mitchell won titles as freshmen, but were unable to complete their careers with four titles.
"That's what I'm looking forward to," Petrushev said. "I think I can do it and that's what I'm going to work for."
Aiken-Phillips puts pin on season
Jacob Aiken-Phillips dominated throughout the season. Nothing changed in his state finals match on Saturday.
The Central Gwinnett junior pinned Etowah's Jerrod Thomas in the first period to win the Class AAAAA 285-pound state championship.
"This is something I've been working for all year, going to two practices," Aiken-Phillips said. "Now that it's here, it's awesome."
Aiken-Phillips is the first state champ for Central Gwinnett since Dennis Mack won it in 1997.
"Ever since I was a freshman I've wanted to be a state champion and now it's here," Aiken-Phillips said.
After placing fourth last year as a sophomore, Aiken-Phillips was a monster this season. He won the Gwinnett County and Area 8-AAAAA titles and finished the year with a 61-0 record. He had 52 pins, one win by decision and the rest were by forfeit. Even better, he only allowed one takedown all season.
"It's been a great season for him. It's about as perfect as you can get," first-year Central Gwinnett coach Thomas Bartollota said.