2009-03-14 / Sports

COWBURN IS SCHOOL'S FIRST EVER TWO-TIME STATE CHAMPION

Coudersport's Dirk Cowburn, pictured here with his mother Darla and father Dan, became the first Falcon to win two state high school wrestling titles. Coudersport's Dirk Cowburn, pictured here with his mother Darla and father Dan, became the first Falcon to win two state high school wrestling titles. Dirk Cowburn saved his best for last.

The tough and talented junior became the first Coudersport Falcon to win two state high school wrestling titles with a dominant performance during last weekend's PIAA Championships in Hershey.

A 7-6 defeat at the Northwest Regionals the previous weekend at Sharon ignited a spark in Cowburn that motivated him to dominate every other 152-pounder wrestler who was unfortunate enough to share the same mat.

With a national Greco-Roman title and the two state championships on his resume, the son of Dan and Darla Cowburn will be able to write his own ticket to a Division I college, but for now he is keeping things in perspective.

His goal is the unprecedented "hat trick" of three state titles.

Anyone who has seen Cowburn wrestle and witnessed his determination would concede that it's a distinct possibility.

This year's title was especially satisfying because he had to battle back from a knee operation that not only forced changes in his style, but also interfered with the cardio work he normally would have pursued to build endurance.

That rust was a factor in two close regular-season defeats and the setback at Sharon.

It was a whole other story at Hershey. Bermudian Springs' Devin O'Brien was the first to fall, 14-5. In the quarterfi nals, Westmont-Hilltop's T. J. Keklak kept things interesting before he yielded, 9-6.

Cowburn needed two more wins to claim the championship medal and he made a statement by taking care of Harborcreek's Sam Kuhn in the semifi- nals, 10-5.

With thousands looking on through a live television broadcast by the Pennsylvania Cable Network, Cowburn put on a show Saturday afternoon in the title bout against Joe Harper of Susquenita.

With Cowburn staying on his feet to favor the healing knee, Harper seemed helpless. He shot and sparred, looking for an opening, but was unable to dent Cowburn's defense. As the takedowns mounted, the Falcon star was willing to allow escape points, rather than risking the knee.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, Cowburn held a 10-5 lead and stepped onto the winners' platform.

He deflected some of the credit to his coaches, including head coach Thad Taylor and assistants Dan Cowburn (his father), Aaron Wright and Jerimiah Frederick. Wright and Frederick, not far removed from their own experiences as Division I wrestlers, provided competition and counsel during sparring sessions that kept Cowburn focused through the postseason.

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