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2011-01-26 / Sports

Monarchs muscle up on foes

By Fred Jeter
CONTRIBUTING WRITER


Meadowbrook’s Jamaal Worsham (from left), Jamarr Hairfield and Marcus Beckwith before last Friday’s wrestling meet with Huguenot, Amelia and Armstrong 
Lisa Billings/Chesterfield Observer Meadowbrook’s Jamaal Worsham (from left), Jamarr Hairfield and Marcus Beckwith before last Friday’s wrestling meet with Huguenot, Amelia and Armstrong Lisa Billings/Chesterfield Observer With apologies to French literature, the Three Musketeers have given way to the “Three Muscleteers” at Meadowbrook High. No need for sword play here – just pins.

Making their points on the wrestling mats, Marcus Beckwith, Jamaal Worsham and Jamarr Hairfield are a hard-bodied, firm-gripping trio of nearly undefeated juniors.

After a Jan. 22 meet at Henrico High, Beckwith is 23-1 and ranked No. 1 in the area among 215-pounders. Worsham is 20-0 at 189; Hairston is 25-0 at 130.

Combined, the “Muscleteers” won by pin in 58 of their first 68 triumphs.

Beckwith also earned All-District football honors for Meadowbrook as a defensive tackle, and is a brute in the weight room with lifts of 345 on the bench and 405 for the squat.

“Oh my gosh, Marcus has made tremendous progress,” said wrestling coach Jim Reilly.

Beckwith is a rare combination of strength, cunning and a heaping wheelbarrow full of power moves. Last summer he took a bus to Fargo, N.D., and finished sixth in the Cadet Nationals, earning All-America honors.

“It was about a 28-hour bus ride, but it was worth it,” said Beckwith. “Once you see that level of wrestler, you’re not in awe of anyone anymore…you’re still anxious, but you’re more confident.”

Beckwith is a classic case of stick-to-it-ness. As a freshman, he was 2-16. Many would have bagged it with such little positive feedback.

“I don’t know how to quit,” he said. “I never considered giving it up. I just worked harder.”

Reilly uses Beckwith as a role model for younger wrestlers facing challenges.

“Marcus is extremely strong,” says Reilly. “But he also has the work ethic and the passion of a champion.”

Worsham came out late as a freshman because he had to babysit for two younger brothers after school.

“I got a job so I could pay another babysitter myself,” he said. “That’s how I was able to do it.”

Rarely do Worsham’s bouts go the distance. His first 14 victories this season came via pins. He consistently overpowers his prey.

Worsham, 14-14 that first year, had the advantage of an older brother, Jevonn, who is a former District mats champ at Meadowbrook.

Like Beckwith, Worsham (defensive end) and Hairston (defensive back) were Monarch football regulars.

Hairston was one of the lightest players on the football roster. In wrestling, he faces no size disadvantage. In fact, he’s considerably more muscular than most of his foes.

“It’s a lot different in wrestling,” he said. “Now I’m as big as everyone I compete against.”

The “Three Muscleteers” are all strong candidates for District titles, although Matoaca’s Austin Atkins will have something to say about the 189-class.

Beckwith’s most serious competition may come from Dinwiddie’s Jerry Compton. Earlier this season, Beckwith defeated Compton, 8-2, in one of his few matches not decided by pin.

Hopewell’s Jonathan Gay figures to challenge Hairston at 130.

The big meets are yet to come, starting with Districts Feb. 5. That’s when the “Muscleteers” need to be their sharpest.

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