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Wrestling notes: Mill Creek's Hagen knocks off defending champ

Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips<br> Mill Creek's Austin Hagen hugs his mother Cindy, left, and sister Ashley after winning the Class AAAAA 285-pound state title Saturday.

Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Mill Creek's Austin Hagen hugs his mother Cindy, left, and sister Ashley after winning the Class AAAAA 285-pound state title Saturday.

DULUTH — No one expected Austin Hagen to win.

Maybe he would put up a good fight for posterity, but he wasn’t supposed to win.

Up against the state’s top wrestler at 285 pounds, Hagen shocked the state in the Class AAAAA state final at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

State placers

The following wrestlers placed at this year’s traditional state wrestling tournament at the Arena at Gwinnett Center:

FIRST PLACE

Sean Russell, Collins Hill, 103

Bazell Partridge, Collins Hill, 125

Zach Rindik, Wesleyan, 125

Chip Ness, Buford, 152

Tsvetomir Petrushev, Peachtree Ridge, 171

Michael Chapman, Peachtree Ridge, 215

Austin Hagen, Mill Creek, 285

SECOND PLACE

Ryan Millhof, Archer, 103

Drew Ferguson-Mitchell, Collins Hill, 112

Dallas Brown, Mountain View, 119

Spencer Rickman, Collins Hill, 130

Joseph Doyague, Collins Hill, 135

Steven Bradtmueller, Collins Hill, 140

Aaron Reynolds, Dacula, 145

Zach Feuerbach, GAC, 160

Jared Hemmings, GAC, 171

Carl Rider, North Gwinnett, 189

Nick Holbert, Collins Hill, 215

Jacob Aiken-Phillips, Central Gwinnett, 285

Kevin Brou, Wesleyan, 285

THIRD PLACE

Brandon Bullock, Dacula, 112

Ryan Mosley, Shiloh, 130

Tre Horton, Peachtree Ridge, 140

Steve Epps, North Gwinnett, 145

Andrew Krawulski, Collins Hill, 152

Rhett Delk, Wesleyan, 152

Michael Spikes, Collins Hill, 160

Matthew Connell, Collins Hill, 171

FOURTH PLACE

Connor Fitzpatrick, Wesleyan, 112

Tevin Timmons, Dacula, 119

Brandon Smith, Peachtree Ridge, 130

Tony Garren, North Gwinnett, 152

Mac Bennett, Collins Hill, 189

FIFTH PLACE

Kasean Cobbs-Walton, Central Gwinnett, 112

Denzel Harmon, Grayson, 119

Mac Shiver, Peachtree Ridge, 125

Brent Hornbuckle, Wesleyan, 140

Dustin Ellis, Collins Hill, 145

Turner Ables, Wesleyan, 145

Phillip Bowman, Dacula, 171

Josh Beane, Grayson, 189

SIXTH PLACE

DeQuan Olbert, Archer, 112

Robbie Kane, Parkview, 119

Zach Taylor, Wesleyan, 119

Chris Boulware, Buford, 135

Bradley Atkinson, Parkview, 140

Ryan McFall, Parkview, 145

John Mosley, Wesleyan, 171

Ernest Alexander, Archer, 189

Parker Fair, GAC, 215

The Mill Creek wrestler scored a takedown in overtime to beat defending state champion Jacob Aiken-Phillips from Central Gwinnett 3-1. He become the first state champion ever for Mill Creek.

“You always have to go out there thinking you’re going to win,” said Hagen, who will play football at Georgia Southern this fall. “Whether or not that happens, you have to think it.”

It was the first loss for Aiken-Phillips in two years. The Cornell commit came into Saturday’s state finals needing one win to tie the Gwinnett County single-season record. He finished the year 66-1.

Hagen finishes the year 35-2. Both of his losses were to Aiken-Phillips by a score of 7-4 and 6-3.

“With Austin, I think it was a mental thing,” Mill Creek coach Rodney Potter said. “He realized tonight is his last shot and he had nothing to lose.”

Lions claim two titles

Peachtree Ridge is developing a tradition of producing state champions. The Lions had two on Saturday, giving them seven all-time and at least one in six of the last seven years.

Tsvetomir Petrushev defended his title, while Michael Chapman ended his career with a championship.

Chapman failed to place the last two seasons at state, but this year locked up the 215-pound title with a 11-6 win over Collins Hill’s Nick Holbert.

“That was the hardest thing I have ever done,” said Chapman, who finished the year 51-0.

Petrushev wants to go down as one of the state’s best wrestlers. The Peachtree Ridge sophomore helped his case on Saturday.

Petrushev won his second Class AAAAA title with a 4-2 victory over Bennedictine’s Jeffery Holmes at 171 pounds.

“Nothing in life has come easy to me and neither was this match. It was tough,” Petrushev said.

Petrushev moved to the U.S. 10 years ago from Bulgaria. He picked up wrestling as a middle schooler and has blossomed in high school. Petrushev finished the year 30-0, but more importantly a two-time state champ.

“I want to win it two more times and make history and be a four-time state champ,” Petrushev said.

Wolves Rindik’s repeats

Zach Rindik didn’t win his second Class A state championship the way he wanted to, but he’ll still go down in Wesleyan history.

Rindik defeated Social Circle’s Marcus Burden 6-3 to claim the 125-pound title.

“It’s what I’ve worked for all year,” Rindik said. “I didn’t win it the way I wanted to, though. I wanted to pin him.”

Rindik pinned Burden at last week’s at the area and sectional tournaments.

It’s the fifth year in a row Wesleyan has had a state champ and the 10th since 2007. Rindik is the first two-time champ in the program’s history.

It’s quite a turnaround for the senior, who placed sixth two years ago.

“Last year’s title was bigger because I had less of an idea in my mind I would win it,” Rindik said. “This is one is still pretty special.”

All eight of Wesleyan’s state qualifiers placed. The Wolves finished fourth in the team standings. Kevin Brou was runner-up at 285 pounds. Rhett Delk placed third, Connor Fitzpatrick was fourth, Brent Hornbuckle and Turner Ables were fifth and John Mosley and Zack Taylor finished sixth.

Buford’s Ness wins title

Buford’s Chip Ness entered high school as a decorated youth wrestler, but his performance in Saturday’s Class AA topped them all.

Ness defeated Jefferson’s Jake Sherman 3-0 to win the 152-pound title.

“Nothing compares to this. Not even my first title as a youth,” the freshman said.

Ness was a five-time kids state champ and won some of the top national tournaments. However, his expectations were low when he entered high school.

“At the beginning of the year I was hoping just to place,” Ness said. “I was a freshman coming out of nowhere. I didn’t know what I could do. I was just hoping to make the finals, really.”

Ness went up 3-0 in the second period after a reversal and locked hands call.

“Once I was up three, I knew I could hold him down for two minutes to win it,” Ness said.

Ness finished the season 36-0 and is the fourth state champ in five years for Buford and sixth overall. He was one of two placers for the Wolves. Chris Boulware placed sixth at 135 pounds.

Archer, Mountain View must wait

Second-year programs Archer and Mountain View each put a wrestler in the state finals, but the up and coming programs will have to wait for their first state champ.

Archer’s Ryan Millhof lost in the 103-pound finals 3-2, while Mountain View’s Dallas suffered a 4-3 loss in overtime at 119.

Millhof’s loss was the first of the season as the freshman finishes the year 52-1. He joins six place finishers DeQuan Olbert and Ernest Alexander as the school’s first state placers.

Drought continues for GAC

Greater Atlanta Christian had two shots to get its first state champion on Saturday.

However, Zach Feuerbach and Jarred Hemmings lost their state finals match, making GAC 0-for-7 all-time in the finals.

Hemmings, a fourth-place finisher last year, took second at 171 pounds, while Feuerbach was runner-up at 160.

GAC’s Parker Fair placed sixth at 215 pounds.