Monday, March 29, 2010
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
T.J. Mitchell completed his brilliant prep wrestling career on Sunday at the NHSCA national championship.
The Collins Hill senior won the 125-pound national title, becoming the fourth Georgian to ever win the senior division of the National High School Coaches Association tournament.
Mitchell joins Dustin Kawa (Shiloh), Drake McCoy (Fayette County) and Josh Condon (Harrison) as the other Georgia senior national winners.
"It was exciting," Mitchell said. "I knew I had been practicing and working hard. I thought I had a shot a winning it. I knew I just had to go out and wrestle.
"It was a great way to end my senior year on a good note and being on TV."
Mitchell's title was the second in his family as his younger brother Drew Ferguson won the 103-pound sophomore national title on Friday. The duo were part of five Gwinnett County wrestlers to place at the tournament. Collins Hill's Joel Smith took second and Devante Brown was seventh at 130 pounds to earn All-American honors in the senior division.
Central Gwinnett's Jacob Aiken-Phillips placed third in the junior national championships. Aiken-Phillips dominated the state of Georgia this season, going 61-0 with 51 pins. He experienced his first loss of the season in the the first round of the tournament, a 3-2 defeat in overtime. But Aiken-Phillips battled back to win his next seven matches to place third.
Ferguson beat the No. 3 ranked wrestler in the semifinals and then won 4-2 in overtime in the championship.
Smith was named Daily Post co-Wrestler of the Year with Mitchell this season after winning his second state championship. The Arizona State signee beat the No. 2 and No. 6 ranked wrestlers at 140 pounds in the tournament to reach the finals. He lost in the final 10 seconds 5-3 to Chris Villalonga from Blair Academy (N.J.).
Mitchell won three state championships in high school and placed third as a sophomore. He posted a 214-9 high school record with only one loss coming to a Georgia wrestler. Considered one of the top wrestlers in Georgia history, the Virginia Tech signee by confirmed that by defeating four-time Oregon state champion Tommy Siciliano 6-0 in the finals.
"I'm still going to stay a little humble," Mitchell said. "I've got a lot of work to do before college. I'm sure I'm gonna get my butt whipped up there a little."