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Six place at state finals
Magnussen takes runner-up, five others finish top-six
North Forsyth’s Elliot Bourne spadles his opponent during the Class AAAAA traditional state finals at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth. Bourne earned fifth place in the 160-pound weight class.
Dane Magnussen was looking for a little payback Saturday. Facing Chase Duke from Heritage (Catoosa) for the second time this year, the West Forsyth senior wanted to avenge his only loss of the season and claim the Class AAA 285-pound traditional state title for the second year in a row.

Unfortunately, the rematch looked a lot like the first meeting between the two, as Duke got one big scoring play and held on for a 2-1 victory in the state finals at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Duke had previously beaten Magnussen 1-0 in the state duals.

“Same as first time we wrestled, we couldn’t get off the bottom. We couldn’t get a takedown. ... You generally lose when that happens,” West coach Dennis Stromie said.

After a scoreless first round, Magnussen caught a break with a penalty point after Duke made an illegal finger grab to start the second. Near the end of the period, though, Duke went on top by earning two points with a reverse, which would be all the scoring for the match.

“Third period, we go down and we can’t get up, so that’s pretty simple,” Stromie said.

“If you can’t get out and you can’t take him down and you can’t ride him, you’re not going to win.”

Magnussen’s run to the finals was made possible by beating Demarkis Rousser (Troup County) in a 2-1 decision in round one, taking down David Boosley (Carver, Columbus) in a 10-1 major decision in the quarterfinals, and slipping past Mwangi Mugi (Riverwood) 2-1 in the semifinals.

Magnussen’s runner-up performance was the best finish from Forsyth County, but he was not the only local grappler on the medal stand.

Magnussen was one of six local wrestlers who earned a top-six finish in the state tournament, four of them from West Forsyth.

Along with Magnussen, West placed three more guys in the placement round: sophomore Tyler Everton (145 pounds), who finished sixth; junior Ross Anderskow (152), who earned fifth place; and junior Jeff Sayer (215), also a fifth-place finisher.

Forsyth Central senior David Esbeck (215) earned a fourth-place finish in Class AAAA, while North Forsyth senior Elliot Bourne (160) came in fifth in his weight in Class AAAAA.

Stromie noted the Wolverine program has improved over its two-year existence, going from two state placers a year ago to four this time. The team also finished seventh in the traditional standings, after a fourth-place state duals finish last month.

“I think we got about all out of them that we we’re going to get [this year]. It’s a grind. It’s a long season. It’s almost four months. You get beat up in this sport ... and the body at one point says, ‘I’ve had enough,’” Stromie said.

“I think we got a lot out of the kids, and looking at the overall picture for the program, I think we did a pretty good job.”

Everton opened up the tournament with consecutive pins over Chris Perry (Druid Hills) and Austin Gainey (Woodward Academy) to make the semifinals. From there, Everton ended up earning sixth place, as he fell to Zach Hopkins (Heritage) by pin, lost to Branden Jones (Crisp County) by a 10-7 decision, and gave up a 4-3 decision in a rematch with Gainey in the fifth-place match.

Anderskow made the semifinals with two consecutive one-point decisions, getting past Matt Pauley (LaGrange) 5-4 and Jessie Figureoa (West Laurens) 12-11. He fell into the fifth-place match after giving up a pin to Justin Owenby (Lafayette) and losing a 5-4 decision to Tate Murray (Cartersville). Anderskow snapped back in the placement match, shutting out Figureoa in a rematch 2-0 to earn fifth place.

Sayer’s run also began with a trip to the semifinals, as he earned an 8-1 decision over James Starke (Columbus) and a narrow 3-2 win over Kenny Sartin (Lafayette). After giving up a pin to Derrick Laney (Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe) and losing a rematch with Starke 2-1, Sayer wound up wrestling for fifth place, which he earned with a 7-4 decision over Nolan Johnson (Towers).

Esbeck made it to the semifinals via back-to-back pins, taking down Carlisle Davis (Jones County) and Matt Holmes (Evans) in the first two matches. A 19-6 major decision loss to Michael Carlisle (Jonesboro) dropped Esbeck into the consolation bracket, where he snapped back with an 8-5 decision over Trey Nordone (Marist) to make the third-place match. In the final round, Esbeck fell to Steven Powell (Thomas County Central) 8-4 to finish fourth.

Bourne became the first Raider to place in the state finals since North moved to Class AAAAA three years ago. He pinned Sam Lancaster (Marietta) in the opening round before falling in a 6-3 decision to Tim Gilbert (Camden County). Fighting his way through the consolation bracket, Bourne earned a spot in the final six by slipping past L. Taylor (MLK) in a 6-5 decision and pinning Connor Griffin (Lassiter). A 3-0 loss to Tobias Harris (Lovejoy) put Bourne in the fifth-place match, which he won by pinning Cody Crowder (North Cobb).

Also representing Forsyth County at the state meet were North’s Dylan Cross (103), Tristan Bourque (125), Ryan Cross (130), Chris O’Connor (135), Alex Lanier (140), Chris Ray (145), Zach Wilson (171) and Brian Kennedy (189); West’s Cody Westray (103), Garrett Tedone (119), Tyler Lott (125), Evan Burchette (130) and Matt Hatcher (160); Central’s Marco Vanderwant (125) and John Taylor (152); and South Forsyth’s Ryan Marionneaux (103) and Devon Polsin (152).

E-mail BJ Corbitt at