When you go into battle against the best of the best, even the smallest mistake can cost you.
That was the lesson superstar wrestler Chris London learned Saturday afternoon at Salem High School, as a risky move back-fired and London suffered his first defeat of the season, getting pinned by unbeaten Division 1 State Champion Will Henson in the 170-pound semifinals of the MIAA All-State Tournament.
"At this level, one mistake is all it takes," "The match moved fast. I thought Chris had a great reversal on the kid and a great takedown early one, but one mistake at this level can hurt you and that's what happened."
Henson struck first early in the match but London countered with a reversal to tie the score at 2-2. It looked as though London had taken control of the match, but Henson quickly turned the tables. As the Barnstable wrestler fought to escape, London tried to apply a rear headlock only to have Henson use his momentum against him and flip London to his back. Henson seized the opportunity and pinned London just a few seconds later.
Henson went on to win the 170-pound All-State title, out-pointing Taconic Regional's Jessie Kordana, 13-7 in the championship bout. Like London, Kordana was also undefeated until facing Henson.
The loss was London's first in 43 matches this year, and only the second time in his high school career that London has been pinned. But the TMHS senior captain didn't let the disappointment of losing hold him down for long, as he bounced back with two more wins in the consolation bracket and took third place overall in the 170-pound weight class.
"It was tough, I was definitely disappointed in myself," London said afterward. "But I had to fight back. I just went at it with the mentality that I wasn't gonna settle for anything less than third.
"I'm pretty satisfied," London added. "Just being able to say you're a (Div. 2) state champion is pretty cool."
The third place finish earns London the right to compete in next weekend's New England championship meet in Providence, RI.