February 17, 2013

Fraire second to none

Raiders senior wins 220-pound crown

Ever since he finished second last year at the Georgia High School Association wrestling state traditional tournament, Southeast Whitfield’s Carlos Fraire has thought about little else than what it would take to take the very last step.

The senior’s last step was merely keeping the lead.

Fraire scored a point on an escape midway through the third period to take a 2-1 lead over Griffin’s Terry Sloan and then finished out the match without giving up a point to claim the 220-pound title in Class 4A on Saturday at the Macon Centreplex.

“I just wanted to have a positive attitude,” said Fraire, who was second in Class 3A last year. “It was pretty big. I knew this was my year. I worked hard for it.”

Other placers from the area were North Murray sophomore Alex Gambino, who finished fourth in Class 2A’s 106-pound weight class and is the first medalist in the history of the school. Finishing fifth were Southeast’s Lester Paucay (152, Class 4A), Northwest Whitfield’s Alex Reynolds (145, Class 4A) and Murray County’s Clay Thornbury (182, Class 2A).

Fraire finished the season with just one loss in 53 matches, but he said that there was always a lingering doubt as he headed to state.

“I had plenty of times with some doubt,” he said. “Even Thursday night, I was thinking about that because there is such great competition at the state tournament. Everyone talked to me and they were there for me, and I was able to get past that.”

Southeast coach Michael Herndon said in the championship match Fraire had to survive a battle of two wrestlers waiting for the other to make a mistake.

“It was almost exactly what we thought it would be,” Herndon said. “Carlos pushed and pushed and pushed.”

Early on, Fraire went down outside of the circle and injured his knee.

“The trainer looked at him, and asked us if we wanted to continue because it looked pretty bad,” Herndon said. “Carlos jumped up and he wasn’t going to let any kind of injury stop him from wrestling. He stumbled around and did what he had to do to win the match.”

Both wrestlers were penalized one point for stalling, and with 1:20 left in the third, Fraire got an escape for what turned out to be the difference in the match.

“I just had to be smart after that,” Fraire said. “I knew I had it because he wasn’t doing anything. I kept on attacking him because he wasn’t doing anything. It took a while to finally get a state title, but it feels pretty good. It was great. I couldn’t have asked for anything better to end my senior year.”

Herndon was equally glad of the final step being taken.

“Ever since last year finishing second, that was the fire that pushed him through this season,” Herndon said. “That was the fuel to make him work hard, and we are definitely proud of him.”

In Saturday’s other matches involving area wrestlers, Gambino faced Carver-Columbus’ DeAndre Jackson in the consolation semifinals, a wrestler to whom he had lost twice previously. But North Murray coach Steven Colley said Gambino came to him before the match with a plan and he executed it perfectly.

“He told me he was up all night thinking about it, and it obviously worked,” Colley said. “He was going to let the Carver kid wear himself out. He was going to be very defensive early on and turn it on the second and third period. That is exactly what happened. By the third period, the Carver kid was gassed.”

Gambino got a reversal with around 30 seconds remaining in the final period to take a 5-4 lead and held on in the final seconds for the victory.

“They were going at it hard in those last seconds, and Alex did a great job,” Colley said. “I think I was more excited than he was.”

In the consolation finals, Gambino — a sophomore — lost by pin halfway through the second period to Buford’s Darius Bunch.

“He tried a move, and it didn’t work and he just got caught,” Colley said.

Southeast’s Paucay opened the day with a 9-4 loss to West Laurens’ Gerald Carr in the consolation semifinals, but he came back with a 3-0 win over Locust Grove’s Emillio Conde in the match for fifth.

“He did well,” Herndon said. “The Conde kid, Lester put him in a cradle and we knew if he put him in it he wouldn’t get out. But the official called it a dangerous (hold). When he got out of it, Lester rode him out.”

Paucay, a senior, finished the year with a 46-7 record.

“He had a great career with a lot of tough guys in his weight class,” Herndon said. “He had a good tournament, and we are definitely proud of him.”

Murray County’s Thornbury lost in the consolation semifinals by pin to Toombs County’s JD Rogers. But the junior stormed back in the fifth-place match with a dominating 8-1 win over Heard County’s Timothy Barnes. Barnes had beaten Thornbury at the Class 2A West sectional tournament last weekend at Lamar County.

“He did great,” said Indians coach Chris Thornbury, Clay’s father. “Clay had a real good first period, and he really worked on clearing his arm when he was on bottom, and got out of bottom, and it wasn’t easy. It was a fight.”

Thornbury finished 40-7.

Reynolds, also a junior, took his fifth-place finish after losing to region rival Chaz Reimer of Gilmer in the consolation semifinals. Reimer took a 5-3 victory, and Reynolds won by forfeit in the fifth-place match over Brandon Benson of Locust Grove. Reynolds ended the year 45-8.

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