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Hillwood wrestler Jahmare Anthony uses disappointing end to junior year as motivation

12:00 AM, Jan. 15, 2013 EST

Hillwood's Jahmare Anthony battles Franklin Road Academy's Mason Mingus in the Ryan Invitational. Anthony lost the match but is 32-3 this season. / Mark Zaleski / The Tennessean

Jahmare Anthony is making up for lost time.

The Hillwood 170-pound senior made his fifth tournament championship appearance of the season at the Ryan Invitational, falling to Franklin Road Academy's Mason Mingus in double overtime.

Anthony is 32-3 as he continues to focus on earning his first state tournament berth.

That trip to the Ag Expo in Franklin should have taken place last year, but a confrontation with Lipscomb's Daniel Powell in his final regular-season match led to Anthony pushing an official. The resulting two-match suspension prevented him from participating in the postseason.

"It was just a bad day," Anthony said. "After he hit me, it blew up from there. I was so fatigued, I was cutting weight, the referee got in the way and I accidentally pushed him."

It was a crushing end to a junior season that had shown a lot of promise, as Anthony went 26-5. The situation was equally painful for his mom.

"He cried, and it was devastating to me because I knew he loved the sport so much," LaSheryl Newsom said. "Wrestling is his heart. He likes football and track, but wrestling is his heart. Knowing he was hurt, I was hurt."

The turnaround has been notable, as Anthony is also emerging as a team leader.

"He's more disciplined now, more structured," Newsom said. "I can see it at his matches. He talks to his teammates when they get a little upset. He realizes his temper got him kicked out for the season, and he doesn't want anything like that for his last season."

Hillwood second-year coach Douglas Whitehouse has seen the change as well.

"He would have been a state qualifier last year," Whitehouse said. "But he's done a lot better this year. He's had a couple of matches where last year I think he would have reacted differently, but he's kept his cool.

"He's probably the best kid I've seen on his feet -- a good takedown guy, explosive on his feet. He's short (5-foot-8) and he has trouble with cradles, but he counters with takedowns, keeping guys down, racking up points that way."

Anthony's other losses have been to Clarksville's Tyler Crane, in the finals of the Middle Tennessee Grand Championships and the Independence tournament. Anthony won titles at the McGavock and Overton tournaments.

"He's got some tools, some skills," veteran Overton coach Ralph Gabriel said. "He's got a nice shot, a good body."

Maintaining the momentum over the next five weeks is Anthony's goal.

"Coming in, I knew people would look at me with the attitude that 'That's that kid that got in trouble,'" he said. "I knew it was time for me to change a lot of things, do something different. I've been controlling my anger, talking to people about it.

"It's my senior year. I'm just practicing hard, working on my stamina, working on my humility, trying not to get the big head."



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