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Justin Cumberbatch celebrates with the Alexandria crowd moments after winning the Class AAA 195 pound championship in a 6-1 victory over Gable Steveson of Apple Valley. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Cumberbatch wraps up state title at 195

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Justin Cumberbatch became Alexandria’s first state wrestling champion since 2002 on Saturday, finishing off his tournament run with a 6-1 victory over Gable Steveson of Apple Valley in the Class AAA 195 pound title match.
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After taking second place at 220 pounds in 2013, Cumberbatch had one goal in mind this year: to finish on top of the podium.

“It feels great,” Cumberbatch said. “I put a lot of hard work and time into this season, and that was my one goal."

Cumberbatch entered the third period with a 2-0 lead thanks to an escape and an added point due to a Steveson clasp.

Steveson picked up a point at the start of the third when both wrestlers started in the standing position, but Cumberbatch still led 2-1. With less than 30 seconds left Cumberbatch used a Steveson move to take him down added back points for his 6-1 victory.

“He made a mistake, and I caught it,” Cumberbatch said. “He’s a good wrestler, it’s just that one takedown he tried to get and I ended up turning that into my offense.”

The match wrapped up a season in which Cumberbatch made the decision to drop down a weight class to 195 pounds. The move paid off after he just missed first place last season in a 6-5 loss to Apple Valley’s Paul Cheney in the 220 pound title match.

Head coach Tom Ellison felt Cumberbatch was stronger at the end of the tournament this season compared to in 2013.

“He was fresher in the final this year than he was last year, maybe because he didn’t have to wrestle some of those big guys,” Ellison said. “He was probably giving up 10, 15 pounds every time he wrestled a guy in the tournament last year, and that’s hard on you when you have to wrestle tough competition two days in a row.”

Cumberbatch finished the season with a 37-3 record.

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Blaze Fugina
Blaze Fugina is the sports editor at the Pierce County Herald. Before working at the Herald, Blaze was a sports reporter at the Alexandria Echo Press for one year and 10 months. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.
(715) 273-4334
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