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Robinson Grapplers Pinkston, Martino Win Region Titles

Rams finish region runner-up to district foe Westfield.

Robinson’s Jake Pinkston picks up Marshall’s Matt Crawford during the heavyweight final of the Northern Region wrestling championships on Feb. 11 at Hayfield Secondary School.

Robinson’s Jake Pinkston picks up Marshall’s Matt Crawford during the heavyweight final of the Northern Region wrestling championships on Feb. 11 at Hayfield Secondary School. Photo by Craig Sterbutzel.

Robinson heavyweight Jake Pinkston dropped 10 pounds prior to regionals. In exchange, he gained a second Northern Region championship.

A lighter, quicker Pinkston pinned Marshall’s Matt Crawford in the first round of the 285-pound final during the region wrestling championships on Feb. 11 at Hayfield Secondary School, helping the Rams to a runner-up finish. Pinkston, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, said he dropped from 254 pounds to 244 prior to regionals --- a move which paid dividends. He was recognized for recording three pins in 5 minutes, 21 seconds during his four-match ride to the championship.

"Last week [at districts], I just wanted to get through it. This week, I wanted to prove a point that I’m the best heavyweight in Virginia."

— Robinson sophomore Jake Pinkston

"I meant to be more aggressive and not as passive," said Pinkston, a state runner-up last year. "Last week [at districts], I just wanted to get through it. This week, I wanted to prove a point that I’m the best heavyweight in Virginia."

Pinkston said experiencing regionals as a freshman helped him this year.

"It kind of helped me with my approach because last year I was like, ‘Wow, what is this tournament? I’ve never been here before,’" he said. "Now it’s kind of like, ‘OK, I’ve got to win [the] first two [matches on the] first day [and the] second two [on the] second day to be on top."

Teammate Brooks Martino won the 145-pound title, earning a 16-3 major decision against Lake Braddock’s Rory Renzi for his third region championship. Martino, a 2011 state champion, was named the most outstanding wrestler for the 2012 regional meet.

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Robinson’s Brooks Martino, top, defeated Lake Braddock’s Rory Renzi for the 145-pound Northern Region wrestling title on Feb. 11 at Hayfield Secondary School.

"You kind of know what to expect," he said. "You expect a bigger crowd than district or other tournaments you’ve been to. You’re going to know there’s tough competition that you’ve been training for."

Robinson’s Santiago Valdez placed second in the 138-pound bracket, Daniel Mika finished second at 182, Austin Riggs placed third at 120, Jonathon Simmons took third at 160 and Greyson Olimpo finished fourth at 106.

Robinson posted a team score of 174.5, finishing runner-up behind Westfield’s 193. Annandale finished third with 129.5, followed by Mount Vernon (126.5), Lake Braddock (105), Marshall (81), South County (79.5) and Oakton (73.5).

The state championship will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18 at Robinson Secondary School.