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Group AAA Wrestling Tournament: Indians’ Jackson won’t let title slip out of grip

BY JUSTIN RICE

FAIRFAX—By his fingertips, with every inch of strength, Logan Jackson held on. Clinging to the leg of Indian River’s Aaron Rowe, clinging to control from the top position, Jackson refused to let go.

And then the final buzzer sounded, and Jackson was a state champion.

Stafford’s 195-pound senior rode out Rowe in the final period for a 1–0 win Saturday at the Group AAA state tournament.

He’s the Indians’ first individual champion in school history.

“I’ve never really felt like this before,” said Jackson, who finished the season 55–1. “If I would have taken second, it wouldn’t mean much. I had to pull it out.”

After a scoreless first period, Jackson took the lead with an escape in the final moments of the second.

Rowe chose the down position for the final period, hoping for his own escape to tie the match, or a reverse to take the lead.

And he almost got it one or the other.

As Rowe tried to slip out of the side and grab control, Jackson latched on to his leg, with just enough leverage to keep control. Barely.

“That was intense,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t looking at the clock until about 30 seconds were left. It was getting to the point I thought I was going to have to let go.

“I could feel [Rowe] was getting control”

The ride-out was a fitting conclusion to Jackson’s season and high school career.

“That’s Logan’s’ routine,” Stafford coach Brandon Gilbert said. “He’s tough as nails on top. He’s had a couple of instances like that. You think, ‘How does he do it?’ It’s just fingertips, but somehow he just barely pulls it out.”

Jackson wasn’t the only local wrestler—aside from Colonial Forge’s host of placers—to finish in the top eight.

Mountain View freshman Josue Beltran lost in the 113-pound semifinals in a 5–2 decision against Great Bridge’s Eric Merriam. Beltran finished fourth.

Riverbend Steven Sarver advanced to the 220-pound semifinals, but lost 7–0 to Landstown’s Elden Valery. Sarver ended up fifth.

Orange had two state placewinners—Ryan Almond, who was sixth at 152, and Sean Raftery, who was seventh at 160.

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045

jrice@freelancestar.com

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