|Lancaster heavyweight Sam Bouis finished second in the state 1A wrestling tournament last weekend. He pins Danny Cook of Castlewood in the semifinals. Photo by Billy Pipkin
Northumberland, Lancaster, Rappahannock, Colonial Beach, Essex and Washington & Lee sent a combined 24 wrestlers to the state tournament with RHS posting the best finish among Conference #43 teams. The Raiders were ninth in team scoring with 50.5 points and produced a state champion in Dylan Hitt.
Hitt fought through a severe ankle sprain that he sustained early in the first round and came back to defeat the number two seed Levi Widener of Chilhowie for the championship among 152-pounders.
Lancaster had six wrestlers qualify for state after the Region 1A East tournament two weeks ago, while NHS sent four to the two-day tournament last Friday and Saturday at Salem Civic Center.
Rural Retreat won the state championship with 108.5 points and Chilhowie was second with 77. George Wythe was third with 58.5.
Bouis capped a 34-2 season in the state tournament. He pinned two opponents in the early rounds to advance to the championship match, where he was pinned by Grayson Jackson of Chilhowie.
"Sam was wrestlng well in the finals and winning, but got anxious and got in a bad position," said Lancaster coach Craig Oren. "Positioning is so important in heavyweight and Sam got in a bad position and was rolled for the pin.
"Sam's got a few more years to grow into an even more developed heavyweight," added Oren. "We're expecting some more good things from him."
Bouis and sophomore teammate Kenique Stewart will both go to a super state wrestling tournament on March 9 in Richmond. This tournament, not sanctioned by the Virginia HIgh School League, is open to the top four finishers in each weight class at all state tournaments, 1A through 6A.
Other LHS results
Stewart got the invite for finishing third among 145-pounders after going 3-1. He lost in the semifinals to the eventual state champion.
"Kenique wrestled with a lot of maturity and was strategic," said Oren. "He had patience in his technique and wrestled very mature for a sophomore."
Lancaster senior Thomas Hyde placed fourth at 170 after losing his first-round match and rebounding to pick up two wins. Hyde eventually lost in the consolation to finish 2-2.
"Thomas finished above everybody in the region and finished above the guys who finished behind him last week," said Oren.
Lancaster senior Shane Chambers also finished fourth among 182-pounders after going 2-2.
"Shane had high expectations and injured his knee in football," said Oren. "It was amazing to see him wrestle the way he did and finished fourth in the state, basically without an ACL. It's pretty impressive."
Lancaster sophomore Grant Long (160) had one win to finish seventh and freshman Trevor Smith (126) was eighth.
"State can be very overwhelming the first year you qualify," said Oren. "So Grant and Trevor have gotten that out of the way and can concentrate on the competition next year."
Philip Harrison had the best finish for Northumberland, placing fifth among 182-pounders to end his year with a 26-7 record.
Billy Pipkin earned a sixth-place medal in the 126 weight class. He finished the year at 25-9.
In the 138 weight class, Northumberland's Kevin Hanks placed sixth after a win in the first round over a Patrick Henry opponent. Hanks completed the season with a record of 21-6.
Northumberland's Austin Kent was eighth in the 180 weight class after finishing the season at 12-6 overall.
"The wrestlers put in a lot of hard work this season and it showed in the top placement in both the regions and state championships," said Indians coach Chris Simmons.
"I look forward to elevating our wrestlers to compete at a higher level of physical and mental toughness,” he continued. “During the off-season, our staff will be presenting opportunities for weight and fitness training as well as wresting camps and competitions."