Not so often in these parts, until the favorite to win the Virginia State heavyweight wrestling title lost a controversial match 3 to 2. The state heavyweight championship for Nick Cook would have capped of a high school career that has him heading to Blacksburg with a full ride to Virginia Tech.
"It was horrible. It definitely [killed] my dreams," said Cook, a senior ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 8 nationally with a 47-2 record. "The way I felt about it is the way everybody else felt — I got robbed by the officials."
Cook's complaint was that the officials never called stalling on Burbank, whose defensive strategy was evident from the opening whistle. The Cox heavyweight, ranked fourth in AAA, backed away from Cook continuously and rarely attacked, but only a warning for stalling was issued.
"It was a shame. The officials don't make the calls and they cost a kid the state title," FHS coach Bryan Hurst said. "The official was scared. He didn't want to decide the state championship on a stall, but it's just like any other match, you have to call that. He didn't have the guts to."
Without stalling called, scoring was at a minimum in the title match. The only points during the six-period contest were awarded for escapes.
"This guy wasn't wrestling me. He was just backing up the whole time," Cook said. "I did everything I could. It was all on the officials, really."
That viewpoint was also voiced by many people in attendance. After a scoreless first period, the crowd began clamoring for a stalling call against Burbank.
Bellowing from the pursed lips of Fauquier fans and impartial observers alike, boos began cascading from the stands in the second period after Burbank took a 1-0 lead. But those jeers failed to provoke a call from the officials, even in overtime when Cook was the relentless aggressor but couldn't score on the retreating Burbank.
"It's obvious he was stalling," Hurst said. "When there's booing in the stands and little old ladies are coming down and hugging Nick Cook, saying he deserved to win — it's an embarrassment to wrestling."
Minutes later, when Burbank climbed to the top spot on the medal stand he was met with vociferous boos.
"I feel bad not only for Cook, but for the other kid, too," Hurst said. "He got booed on the stand and that should never happen — he worked his butt off. But he won that match because [of] the officials."
You see, sometimes the zebras can change the outcome. Nick Cook will be fine. He will, no doubt, enjoy a great career as a Hokie.