Three Copperas Cove Bulldawgs qualify for State Wrestling Tournament
By RYAN ROBBINS
Special to the Leader-Press
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs traveled to Allen this weekend for the Regional Wrestling tournament. Just 3 days after having the district tournament, that was pushed back, due to the previous weekend’s freeze. The short rest did not deter the Bulldawgs with getting their first state qualifier since 2016. The Bulldawgs traveled with 12 wrestlers, 6 boys and 6 girls. Three wrestlers Frankie Limon, Ryan Bithorn, and Leeann Edmond will be traveling next week to Houston for the state tournament.
Frankie Limon continued his phenomenal season by pinning his way into the finals while never really being in danger for any of his matches. This marks the first time in school history that any Bulldawg wrestler has made it to the regional finals. In his first 3 matches, he pinned the eventual 3rd and 4th place finishers, proving he had the hardest route to the final and solidifying himself as a top 5 120-pounder in the state. In his finals match, he wrestled against the #1 ranked kid in the state from Allen, Joe Liescheski. After Frankie scored the first takedown of the match, he was unable to continue the momentum and eventually lost via points for 2nd place. That is the highest finish in Bulldawg history.
Ryan Bithorn had a much more interesting route to state. After an easy pin in the first match, he was upset in the quarterfinals, losing via defensive pin. He was beating his opponent 7-1 when he attempted a pin. In doing so, he accidentally pinned himself. That sent him to the consolation side of the bracket where he would need to win 4 more matches to qualify. Ryan was determined to not let this season end like his last one, where he was one match away from going to state. He fought his way into the consolation semifinals where he faced #5 ranked Isaac Sheeren from Klein. A very low scoring match found itself tied 2-2 at the end of the 3rd period. In the sudden victory overtime, whoever scores the first point wins the match. Ryan got into a scramble with Sheeren where he lost control and Sheeren got the victory with 45 seconds left in overtime. That sent Ryan into the 5th place match to set up a rematch with the wrestler who beat Ryan earlier in the tournament. That meant the only way he would be able to qualify for state would be if he won 5th and was able to wrestle the 4th place competitor for the final spot. Ryan exacted revenge in the 5th place match and set up a wrestle back to see who would be the true 4th place. After a tough fought match, Ryan capped off his roller coaster regionals with a pin to qualify for state as the 4th seed.
Leeann Edmond had a similar path, but with not as many emotional highs and lows. After a first round pin, she faced the #9 ranked girl Megan Edwards from Rockwall in the quarterfinals. That match sent her to the back side of the bracket in the same spot as Ryan. Leeann then proceeded to pin her next two opponents in the first period. In the consolation semifinals, she faced the #19 ranked girl from Klein Can, Madison Mansour. Leeann controlled the entire match and punched her way into the 3rd place match with a 14-5 victory. She unfortunately had a rematch with Edwards for 3rd place, which she lost. That set her up with a wrestle back to potentially lose her spot to state. In the wrestle back match, Leeann was able to control the majority of the match and sealed a victory with a late takedown score to finish the match 6-4.
The regional meet marks a lot of firsts for the Bulldawg Wrestling Program. This is the first time ever in school history where there has been a wrestler in the finals (Frankie Limon, 120). It is the first time in school history where there have been multiple boys qualify (Ryan Bithorn, 170 and Frankie Limon). It is also the first time in school history that 3 people have qualified for state. (Frankie Limon, Ryan Bithorn, and Leeann Edmond, 110).
The boys finished 14th out of 38 schools. The girls finished 17th out of 35 schools.
The qualifiers will travel to Houston to compete at the Berry Center for the UIL 6A State Championships.
Best of luck to all 3 wrestlers and congratulations on making history.