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Collins Hill runner-up at Kyle Maynard Duals

SUWANEE -- Collins Hill was knocked out of the national rankings two weeks ago.

The Eagles had a chance to show they are worthy of being one of the country's top wrestling programs on Wednesday.

Collins Hill met No. 5 in the nation Brandon (Fla.) in the finals of the Kyle Maynard Duals. The Eagles built an early lead, but couldn't hold on as Brandon reeled off seven straight victories to win the dual 38-24.

It's the second time in three years Brandon has defeated Collins Hill in the finals of the Kyle Maynard Duals. Brandon won 34-25 in 2009.

"I knew we could match up with them at some places," Collins Hill coach Josh Stephen said. "We gave up some pins that hurt us."

The tournament, which is named after famous wrestling alum Kyle Maynard, featured some of the Southeast's top teams. Tennessee schools Baylor and Soddy Daisy reached the consolation finals, but have a dual already set up next week. They will determine the third-place winner at the meet.

Brandon is one of the nations most decorated teams in the country in any sport. They are ranked No. 5 in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News, have 11 straight Florida state titles and were owners of a 459-straight dual meet winning streak from 1974 to 2008.

Collins Hill defeated Manatee (Fla.) 54-21, Cass 69-6, Peachtree Ridge 59-15 and Baylor (Tenn.) 43-30 to reach the finals.

Collins Hill built a 12-0 lead by winning the first three matches. Sean Russell took a forfeit at 106 pounds, Ryan Millhof and Drew Ferguson-Mitchell followed with decisions.

Millhof's victory was big for the state runner-up, beating Brandon's James Flint, who was a defending state champ.

"That kid is real tough," Stephen said. "That was a good win."

State champions Rossi Bruno (pin) and Kevin Nostrem (major decision) had big wins to put Brandon back in the dual 12-10.

Spencer Rickman posted a pin at 138 pounds to make it 18-10, but then Brandon went on its run.

Brandon won the next seven matches and Robert Enmon's decision at 195 pounds sealed the win.

Collins Hill's Zach Carmin had a 38-second pin in the final match at 285 pounds.

"I felt like we had a shot to beat them. Not winning those big weights didn't help us," Stephen said. "If we could have gotten some bonus points, it would have really helped."

The Kyle Maynard Duals was a rare in-state tournament for Collins Hill, which has spent the last three weeks traveling the country. The Eagles took fifth at the Cougar Invitational in Florida, 10th at the prestigious Ironman Invitational in Ohio and was second at the Midwest Classic in Kansas City last weekend.

The Eagles will go to the Tiger Holiday Classic in North Carolina next weekend before it prepares to defend its Class AAAAA dual state title at the end of January.