Categorized | Sports

Trojan Wars serve as a crossroad for area wrestlers

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Trojan Luke Walker gets a pin during the 2012 Trojan Wars.

Brighton’s Essex Ramsey, above, gains control in his match.

Millington’s Devante Robinson, far right, chats with Millington teammates Saturday.

Each year there are moments at the Trojan Wars hosted by Millington Central High School wrestlers get a chance to set back and watch the action.

For grapplers like Brighton Cardinal Essex Ramsey he had moments to spectate between matches. For his Millington counterpart Devante Robinson, he could only watch the matches during his final Trojan Wars Saturday in the William Osteen Gymnasium.

“I sprang my MCL in my left knee,” the senior wrestler said. “It happened in Arlington I think in the fourth quarter. I felt OK, best I knew I would still be able to wrestle. I thought I was going to miss half of the season.”

Robinson will be back to the mat later this month. The All-District defensive lineman said he still made the most out of his final Trojan Wars as a MCHS student/athlete.

“It sucks, but it still feels good to be here to support my team,” he said. “It’s just good to have them around.”

Up in Brighton, Ramsey is not surrounded by as many Cardinals in years past. Head Coach Larrick Johnson is fielding one of his smallest teams in years. But the quality is still there featuring athletes like Ramsey.

As a freshman Ramsey reached Regionals. Last year he placed third and earned his first trip to State. Now a junior, Ramsey is poised to take another step up.

“It’s going pretty well,” he said. “Slowly but surely, I see myself getting better. I’ve been shooting a lot lately. I’ve been going for the take down more on the legs than what I’ve been doing with the upper body.”

Ramsey is off to a solid start in 2012-13 with nine wins and a fifth place finish at the Blackhorse Tournament trying out his new strategy. Ramsey said he will be wrestling in the 182 pound division this season.

A student of the game, Ramsey is well versed in the rich history of Brighton Wrestling. He knows about all the past State qualifiers and two-time State champion Demetrius Johnson. Now Ramsey is the athlete expected to continue the Brighton tradition at State.

“It kind of adds a little bit of pressure to win, to perform at my best,” he acknowledged. “I like the pressure. It helps me perform better. I could take the Region. If not at least top two.”

Robinson has multiple trips to State already on his resume’. But it was a second-place finish at Regionals last year that left a bitter taste in his mouth.

“I had messed up,” he recalled. “I did a single from far away. I had it but he put his leg around me and got control. I lost in overtime.”

As one of the top wrestlers in the area in the 170-pound division, Robinson expects another shot to take the Regional crown.

“I believe I can pick up where I left off,” he said. “It probably won’t be much of a problem. I wrestle with injuries all the time.”

Robinson said the mat is his happy place. And years of hitting the gym, playing football and taking on his older brother Rodney, a former Trojan State qualifier, he will be ready to take on his goal for the season.

“My main goal is not to give up any wins,” he concluded. “I want to go undefeated but I don’t want to have any losses to where it’s my fault. Somebody beats me, its because they’re better than me.”

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