Camden’s wrestlers, coach Stephen Sutusky and the Bulldogs fans were put through the emotional wringer during the championship finals at the Class 3A state tournament on Saturday at Lexington.
Senior Horus Madrid had a state title taken away from him at 130 pounds, but senior Will Long assuaged the pain of that unfortunate happening by win a bit by winning his first state championship at 140.
Madrid seemingly had a 7-6 win on the books against Chris Jones of Travelers Rest. His arm was raised at the referee, and he took the official match sheet to the main scorers table. But after about 10 minutes of debate by the TR coaches, the referees ruled and error in computing “injury time” had resulted in a tainted outcome. Sutusky, of course, disagreed. In the end, the decision was to put 45 seconds back on the clock and the score tied at 6-6. Jones promptly got a reversal to go ahead 8-6. The crestfallen Madrid managed an escape with five seconds to go but ran out of time.
Here is Sutusky’s take on the ruling that took away Madrid’s state championship:
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“According to the rulebook “bad time” can be re-wrestled as long as the offended wrestler (TR kid) never leaves the mat. I do not believe there was any “bad time” because I don’t think an error was made by the official. But the TR coaches convinced the official that he should not have called injury time, but rather should have stopped the match to allow (Jones) to clear up the uniform malfunction of having his hand caught in Horus’ singlet. However, in Horus’ defense the TR kid used it as an injury timeout (attended to by trainer) and even told the ref he was injured. That was the explanation I received. I don’t like it, but I guess I have to live with it. I feel bad because in this situation one of these kids is going to feel pretty miserable and obviously I don’t want my kid to feel that way. The way it went down is just very unfortunate because they raised his hand and allowed him to think for a solid ten minutes that he was in fact the state champion.”
Madrid finished with a 39-2 record and a bitter taste in his mouth.
Long had no such issues in the title bout that followed, downing Hilton Head’s Ryan Sparks 5-2 in a rematch of the Lower State championship match from the week before. Sparks was the winner at the qualifier, but Long claimed the biggest prize.
“This time I wrestled my match, not his,” said Long, who finished his senior season with a 39-3 record and beat Sparks, a four-time state qualifier, for the first time in three tries this season. “I made mistakes (this time) but not as many as I did last week.”
Davis Partin and Nick Benson, Camden’s other state qualifiers, went 1-2 and 0-2, respectively, at state. Partin closed the book on a 33-7 campaign, while Benson finished 25-12.
“Obviously, we lose a lot with three of our four state qualifier graduating.” said Sutusky.
“However, we have a good core group of kids coming back, many of them unheralded and I think we stand a chance to be pretty good, if not better next season. You never replace state champions, and losing Horus and Will will be tough, but with Benson and 10 other starters coming back, we should be very competitive. We had a very good season. The regular season was somewhat up and down, but we finished on a very high note, going deep in the playoffs and winning the region. Individually, we had a lot of success with two state finalists and numerous guys placing at tournaments throughout the season. Most of our kids are involved in spring sports and then football, but in the summer we will go to camp and work on improving before next season.”