|Edmonds finishes season with a smile as #1 at 125 lbs.|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Victory was sweet for HHS junior Mark Edmonds Saturday night when he avenged a regional tournament loss to claim the 125-lb. state championship over Alex Klopp of Yuma.
Losing the regional championship to Klopp the weekend before was heartbreaking for Edmonds, but his 8-4 win on the state mats where it counts put the smile back on his face.
Even though Klopp came to Yuma two years ago as a champion from Wyoming and won fourth place at 112 lbs. in 3A competition last year, Edmonds said he looked past him at regionals. The two juniors never met on the mat during regular season.
But there was no looking ahead Saturday night at the Big Show. Edmonds was focused and in control, leading the entire match.
Coach Jack Garrison said losing at regionals was actually a blessing for Edmonds. “He was hungrier and angrier,” and that paid off in his state tournament effort.
Mark Edmonds celebrates his second state championship as he dives into the arms of Coach Jack
Entering the state bracket as a regional runner-up put Edmonds in some tough matches on his way to the championship. He had some battles coming through the bracket, squeaking by with 3-2 wins in both his quarterfinal and semifinal bouts.
He emerged with confidence, ready to battle again in the championship, said Garrison.
Less than 30 seconds into the championship match, Edmonds got a takedown for two points.
“That got me pumped,” said Edmonds with enthusiasm, just minutes after coming off the mat where he claimed the gold.
“He (Klopp) beat me on my feet at regionals—he threw me. So I was glad to get that takedown early,” Edmonds added.
Klopp escaped to make it a 2-1 match after one period. In the second, Edmonds earned a point when Klopp was warned and then penalized for stalling. Klopp escaped, and it was 3-2 Edmonds heading into the final period.
Edmonds started the period in the down position, got away and added a point to his score.
Mark Edmonds, pictured at right, makes a crucial move leading to a
It was a flurry of action in the last 20 seconds as Edmonds took Klopp down and turned him on his back for four points. Then the Yuma wrestler reversed it for two points of his own.
The whistle blew on the 8-4 Edmonds win for his second-straight state championship.
“Mark did a heck of a job,” praised coach Garrison.
“He is so disciplined and works so hard,” added Garrison. “He puts in the hours it takes to be a state champion.”
Edmonds’ route to the top not an easy one this year
Edmonds kicked off his venture to the 125-lb. gold with a first-round pin over Robert Gonzales of Del Norte in :42.
From there, the going got tough.
Edmonds said his roughest match all weekend was in the quarterfinals with Nick Hammes of Holly.
Hammes got the first takedown, and Edmonds had to come from behind to win the 3-2 match.
Another 3-2 win was posted in the semifinals Friday night when Edmonds earned the one-point decision over Keegan Arnold of Nucla.
Edmonds led that whole match to claim the narrow win, and Arnold went on successfully to place third in the tournament.
Edmonds finishes the 2010-11 season with an impressive 40-5 record.
Season has been fun
“The whole season has been fun,” said Edmonds. “This team is like a family, and that’s made it fun.” The two-time state champ also acknowledged Garrison as a great coach.
“And I thank my dad (Bert) most of all,” said Edmonds with pride.
Not wanting to leave anyone out, Edmonds thanked the rest of the coaches and team, his family and the fans.
Businesses, friends and family have helped support Edmonds in his off-season wrestling, and he’s extremely appreciative of that.
Now Edmonds said he plans to take a couple of weeks off, then will return to training for the Junior Nationals in Virginia in April—”so I can be an All-American.”
He’ll be back on the mats for the Dragons as a senior next year—on the hunt for a third state championship.
There really isn’t an off-season for Edmonds. He travels all over to wrestle during the summer. “He’s the type of wrestler that makes the whole team better,” said Garrison.