“I am really excited about the turnout we have had this year. We started the season with 35 guys, which is the most we’ve ever had come out for the team.”
LHS opened the 2013-14 season on the mat two weeks ago at the Waynesboro Little Giant Classic, where the Red Devils went 1-4 against a host of schools from larger divisions.
Poquoson, which was third in the state among Group AA teams last season, beat the Devils, 66-12, and two-time state champion Grundy defeated Lancaster, 71-11. Culpeper got by Lancaster, 47-29. The Devils routed a Bandit team, comprised of extras from all the competing teams, 69-6, and lost by criteria in a 34-34 tie to Western Albemarle.
“It’s very competitive at Waynesboro with the returning two-time state champion and the third-place team there,” said Oren. “We were the only single A team in attendance.”
Lancaster brought home five medals with returning sophomore Sam Bouis going undefeated at 5-0 for gold in the heavyweight division. Bouis is a returning state qualifier for the Devils, along with seniors Shane Chambers (195) and Brad Smith (152), both out with injuries sustained during football season.
Oren has three other seniors including Beau Nickerson (160), Thomas Hyde (170) and heavyweight newcomer Bridell Carter. Nickerson and Hyde both went 2-3 at the classic; Carter finished 3-2 to claim a bronze medal.
Sophomore returner Kenique Stewart also went 3-2 among 145-pounders for bronze and sophomore newcomer Lane Brocklebank captured bronze at 220.
“This year’s team is very young,” said Oren. “Most are freshmen or first-year wrestlers and I was really pleased with their performances. They were resilient. Despite their lack of experience and the level of competition they face, they hung in tough and didn’t back down.”
Sophomore Grant Long, who is a second-year wrestler, captured his second bronze in a Waynesboro tournament. He went 3-2 in the 160 division.
Junior Joey Sanford is a junior third-year wrestler at 120 but did not wrestle at the classic. Sanford is also sidelined with an injury.
The rest of Oren’s team are first-year wrestlers including freshmen K’Shawn Adams (106), Deandre Wade (113), Trevor Smith (126), John Martin (132), Enrique Brooks (138), William Clarke (145), Orlando Johnson (152), Elijah Morris (152), Brandon Hill (170), Deshay Smith (195) and Marcus Vickers (195). Also new to the team are sophomores Jay Bryant (132), Daniel Banks (113) and Jamie Coates (138).
Lancaster had three wrestlers go unbeaten at Washington & Lee’s Montrossity tournament last Saturday, including Hyde, Stewart and Bouis. Each went 5-0.
Vickers, Nickerson and Adams each went 3-2.
As a team, the Devils finished 2-3 in the 10-team invitational. King George beat Lancaster, 54-30; Crosby defeated the Devils, 45-31, and Marion downed LHS, 54-28. Lancaster picked up wins over Essex, 54-21, and W&L, 48-36.
“I was pleased with the improvements our first-year wrestlers made in one week,” said Oren, “and we had good senior leadership from Hyde and Nickerson.”
Bouis remains undefeated at 10-0 on the season.
“I’m really excited about Sam’s potential,” said Oren. “He has put on a great deal of muscle in the off season and his improved strength is evident.”
W&L awarded each of the 10 teams in attendance a medal to give to its most outstanding wrestler. LHS coaches chose Stewart, who had two pins in his 5-0 performance.
“Kenique worked really hard in the off season and continues to work hard in practice. He is very focused on his goals this season,” said Oren.
Smith also “put up a good fight” with two pins in the tournament, said Oren. Vickers’ three wins on the day were all pins.
Dec. 21 Lancaster Duals
Jan. 4 at King George
Jan. 8 at Northumberland Tri meet
Jan. 11 at Franklin Duals
Jan. 16 Lancaster Quad
Jan. 17-18 at Ram rumble, Lafayette High School
Jan. 25 at Mathews Duals
Jan. 31 at York Round Robin
Feb. 8 Conference Tournament, Rappahannock County
Feb. 14-15 Region 1A East Tournament, Mathews High School
Feb. 21-22 Group A Tournament, Salem Civic Center