, 2014

Local wrestling programs to send
grapplers to state meet February 15

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Lancaster High School produced three Region A wrestling champions and qualified seven for the Group A championships in Salem Saturday, February 15.

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From left, Northumberland High School’s Region A medal winners include (front row) Kevin Hanks, Billy Pipkin and Jordan Chinn; (back row) Cody Jackson, Aaron Curry and Philip Harrison. Photo by Billy Pipkin

The Northern Neck District’s Northumberland also qualified six for the state meet.

“Overall, the tournament went well,” said LHS coach Craig Oren. “We had high expectations and though we didn’t meet all of them, we had a solid showing. Our expectations will be high for states as well and we’re sure the boys will be up for it. Five of the seven qualifiers were one tight match away from placing in last year’s state tournament.

“Mat Terry has been a huge help volunteering his time for us,” he added. “Having Mat back in the corner after a year off has been a big boost for the wrestlers and the other coaches.”

Lancaster had eight placers at the regional meet at Northampton Monday and scored 168 points for a third-place finish among 13 teams.

Host Northampton had four individual gold medalists and scored 201.5 points to win the team championship. Four-time regional champion Casey Paglia (145) of Northampton was named Region A’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

Tidewater District’s King William was the region runner-up with 182 points. Lancaster edged the Northern Neck’s Washington & Lee by six points for third place. The Eagles finished in fourth with 162 points and Mathews was fifth with 156 points. Northumberland scored 110 points for sixth place and Essex was ninth with 88.

Lancaster junior Brad Smith went 3-0 with a pin in the championship match as the gold medalist among 152 pounders.

“Brad is a two-time region champion,” said Oren, “and eager for the competition of the state tournament. He has been a lynchpin for our success all year.”

Sam Friday of Lancaster had a pin in the championship match and went unbeaten at 3-0 to win the regional championship in the 160-pound class.

“Sam is a senior and a first-time region champ,” said Oren. “He has been working hard for six years to finally achieve this goal.”

Lancaster junior Shane Chambers won an 11-9 decision over Nick Pisano of King William in the final to go undefeated at 3-0 for the gold medal.

“This was a big match for Shane,” said Oren. “His opponent has been his nemesis for a while now. They went 2-2 in matches last year, but Shane won when it counted.”

Senior Kai Antonio of Lancaster finished as the runner-up to Austin Fravel of Mathews in the 195 class. Fravel beat Antonio, 6-5, by decision in the final.

“Kai wrestled well and we’re looking forward to him hitting his peak next week. He had pins in two solid matches in the region quarter and semifinals,” said Oren.

Senior Colton Hayden of Lancaster “bounced back well after an early upset,” said Oren.

Hayden went 3-1 on the day with a pin in the third-place match in the 220 class.

Lancaster had two wrestlers finish in fourth place to also qualify for states, junior Thomas Hyde at 170 and freshman Sam Bouis at 285.

“Thomas narrowly missed a chance to qualify last year, but this year he took advantage of his opportunity,” said Oren. “Sam really stepped up for the team. He had some stiff competition but never backed down.”

Both Hyde and Bouis went 2-2.

LHS freshman Kenique Stewart was 3-2 on the day for a fifth-place finish as a state alternate at 132 pounds.

“After losing his first match, Kenique showed a lot of maturity by coming back and scoring some crucial points for the team,” said Oren.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class qualify for the state tournament while the fifth-place wrestler is an alternate.

Northumberland will send six wrestlers to the state meet including 138-pound Aaron Curry, who lost a close final match to King William’s Mason Harris. Harris edged Curry by a 4-2 decision in the championship.

Northumberland’s Billy Pipkin, Jordan Chinn and Philip Harrison all finished third. Pipkin won by decision, 14-7, over Clifton Bundy of Essex in the third-place match among 113-pounders, while Chinn pinned Edward Artis of Sussex in the 145 class. Harrison was third in the 170-pound division with a 5-2 decision over Hyde of Lancaster.

Placing fourth for Northumberland was Kevin Hanks among 120-pounders and Cody Jackson among 160-pounders.

“After a tough start, our team showed perseverance and resilience,” said NHS coach Matt Carney. “Our wrestlers  overcame adversity and we  will continue to keep them focused on the process it takes to become a champion at the state level this weekend.”

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