After defeating a three-time state champion in the semifinals of the Georgia High School Association Traditional Wrestling Tournament, Derick Crosby, a junior at Spencer High, came just one point shy of being crowned Class AA state champion in the 125 weight class.
Though he lost 10-9, if time had been on his side, the outcome may have been different. Trailing 10-7, Crosby pulled a reversal with about 20 seconds remaining in the final period and was awarded two points. In the waning seconds of the match, controversy centered on whether Crosby had his opponent, Brandon Owens of Elbert County High School in Elberton, Ga., on his back long enough to be awarded points, but Spencer coach Robert Sanders said as time expired the referee judged Crosby did not have position established.
“I thought he had it,” Sanders said. “He was winning, but there was a controversial call that could have gone either way.”
As a sophomore, Crosby, whose father is a retired marine and now lives in Germany as a military contracted avionics engineer, finished fifth in the 2010 state tournament and while many people may not have heard of him, Sanders said, despite the loss, Crosby made himself known after defeating three-time state champion Cason Thurmond of Jefferson High School in Jefferson, Ga.
“I think that gave him a lot of confidence,” Sanders said. “That really put him on the map. A lot of people started focusing on him. They were amazed at his skill level as a junior.”
Crosby pulled out a narrow 4-3 win over Thurmond in which Crosby said he had to make some late moves to get the win.
“It was pretty tough going against a three-time state champ,” Crosby said “I had to wrestle smart. I pulled it out at the end with two takedowns.”
Owens had little to no competition as he made his way to the championship round to square off against Crosby, but Crosby showed no intimidation.
“A lot of people thought that kid was going to beat (Crosby) to death. He wrestled that kid better than anybody. (Owens) was like 53-1.”
Crosby and his teammates from Spencer will be participating in the dual wrestling state tournament on Friday in Lyons, Ga.
By finishing runner-up, Crosby automatically qualifies for the National High School Coaches Association High School Wrestling Nationals Championship.
Though Crosby came up just short of being state champion, he said he is optimistic and determined about working harder next year to get one final attempt as a senior. Crosby said he will try to work on finding ways of ending matches as quickly as possible.
“I need to try to win it instead of holding out for three periods, try to get the quick take down,” Crosby said. “I had him on his back. I should have stuck him there instead of letting him up.”
Other area schools also had wrestlers with Fort Benning ties compete in the state tournament, including Columbus High School (AAA) and Harris County High School (AAAA). Namu Keys (152 weight class), Myhe Brown (140) and Miguel Porrado (103) were each defeated in the first round of their respective brackets.
Tyler Denova of Harris County made it past his first round in the 189 weight class, but lost in the second round.