Rockdale's Alonzo Allen dominated the 106-pound field at the Class AAAA East Sectionals
LOGANVILLE -- Rockdale wrestler Alonzo Allen was a state runner-up as a freshman in 2011. Unfortunately for state-wide 106-pounders, Allen appears to be even better in 2012.
The sophomore capped a dominant weekend, picking up an 18-8 major decision over Dunwoody's Sunny Sharma to win the 106-pound title at the Class AAAA East Sectionals at Loganville High School. Allen didn't allow any offensive points in winning his first three matches of the tournament, including a quick pin in 1:05 of Harris County's Orrin Suich in the semifinals.
"I'm more competitive ... smarter wrestler," Allen said of his improvement over the last year. "The final, my mentality was wrestle all six minutes, wrestle smart, wrestle hard."
"He really stepped up, went right to work," said Rockdale coach Craig Hargrove. "It's all just mental preparation. He understands the preparation and not overlooking anyone (and) he's more of a complete wrestler."
Allen will be joined at this week's Class AAAA Traditional State Tournament at the Arena at Gwinnett Center by third-place finishers Ulises Ponce (132 pounds) and Jose Robledo (145), as the trio will try and each secure a state medal for the second consecutive season.
"What I've told them, with the region, sectional and state tournaments, it's like one big tournament," Hargrove said. "Hopefully we just keep it going."
Allen wasn't alone in standing atop the medal stand at sectionals. Heritage's Boyce Cornwell, a state placer a year ago, will return to Gwinnett as a No. 1 seed after he outlasted Tyler DeNova of Harris County 9-7 in the 195-pound championship bout. Meanwhile, Joel Maldonado led 2-1 through two periods of the 113-pound title match, but Andrew Giegerich's takedown and three-point, near-fall combination late in the third clinched an 8-2 decision for the Clarke Central grappler.
"(Cornwell) worked hard all summer, it (has) paid off," said Heritage coach Randy Hooley. "(Maldonado) worked hard all fall getting ready for this. This weekend he brought up his intensity, he turned it up a notch."
Alcovy only qualified one wrestler for the state tournament, but Kenneth Queh completed an excellent sectionals finishing as the 126-pound runner-up. Queh had no trouble with Calvin Thigpen of Brunswick (15-0 tech fall) and Clarke Central's David Fisher (8-1 minor decision), then controlled his semi final match with Steven Shores before the Effingham County wrestler threw and elbow and was disqualified for flagrant misconduct. Queh was tied at 2-2 with Loganville's Will Hale, a two-time state placer and 2010 champion, until Hale's take down with two seconds left in the second period turned the match and Hale pinned midway through the third for the 126-pound crown.
"He's wrestled well. I was pleased," said Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman. "All you can ask is a kid to get better each week and (Queh has) done that."
Salem's only wrestler at sectionals-Reggie Hurt-came back from a quarterfinal loss Friday to win four consecutive matches and pick up a third-place medal at 113 pounds. Hurt pinned Winder Barrow's Eric Shepherd, then had three straight razor-thin decisions. The junior had a take down with five seconds left to defeat Patrick Jackson of Marist, picked up a take down in overtime to knock off Ware County's John Williams, and in the third-place match snapped a 2-2 tie with an escape and take down in the final period to defeat Whitewater's Bryan Mitchell.
"He's wrestled good all year," Salem coach Tim Owens said of Hurt. "He started (the season) at 120 and I told him he needed to go down to 113 (and) he's done very well this year. Everybody here is good, you don't have too many kids that made it this far that aren't good wrestlers."
Two wrestlers -- Rockdale 120-pounder Ronzell Teague and Heritage 182-pounder Jacob Lambo -- won ninth place matches to qualify as state alternates. The state tournament begins Thursday with the round of 16 at 5 p.m.
Correction, Feb. 14, 2012: This story was revised to show the actual score of the Cornwell and DeNova match as 9-7.