Hosting Colonials Thrive in Annual Kickoff Classic
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Dec 3, 2012, 22:06
Colonial Heights junior Justin Trent (left) pins Clover Hill’s Jordon Mills in the finals of the Colonial Heights Kickoff Classic on Saturday. The host school finished second in the 11-team field (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
COLONIAL HEIGHTS – Colonial Heights senior Jerrid Whaling found himself in a familiar spot on Saturday — atop a podium in his home gymnasium.
Whaling, who placed eighth in the Group AAA state wrestling tournament as a junior, won his division in the Colonial Heights Kickoff Classic for the third consecutive year.
The 113-pounder’s only regret?
“I’m pretty proud of it,” Whaling said. “I just wish I could’ve won four.”
Whaling’s perfectionism is likely a byproduct of the Colonials’ rapid rise to prominence over the last four years, and the host team’s potential was on full display throughout the season-opening event.
Colonial Heights finished second to Varina in the team competition and placed seven individuals in championship bouts. In addition to Whaling’s triumph, Aaron Ellison (126), Justin Trent (145) and Brandon Sipple (220) prevailed in their respective weight classes.
Austin Ellison (132), Greyson Pierce (138) and Dylan Gregg (170) all claimed runner-up honors while three more Colonials wrestlers placed third or fourth. Colonial Heights coach Andrew Sawka said he was pleased to see his team compete for titles across the board.
“We had seven in the finals and three up for third or fourth,” Sawka said. “Ten out of 14 weight classes? I’ll take it.”
Thomas Dale sophomore Corey Leonard – a reigning Central Region champion – laid claim to the 132-pound title while 195-pound senior Zachary Relford earned Prince George’s only first-place finish.
Junior Mike Golindo grappled his way to second in the 182-pound bracket for the Royals. Prince George and Thomas Dale finished ninth and 10th, respectively, in the 11-team field.
Colonial Heights was the only school at the event with a quartet of champions, but Varina emerged victorious thanks to a consistent showing that yielded two second-place and six third-place finishes. Third-place Benedictine returned to Richmond with three title winners and three runners up.
Boasting a senior-laden roster, Colonial Heights entered the event with hopes of achieving unprecedented success this season.
Sawka identified depth as one of the team’s strengths, and said he noticed significant improvement in several wrestlers. Aaron and Austin Ellison drew rave reviews from Sawka, as did Pierce.
“I was really impressed with the Ellison twins,” Sawka said. “Both made it to the finals, and that’s been a goal of theirs for a long time. They’ve come a long way.”
With new contributors embracing their roles, the Colonials also benefited from the unwavering consistency of several mainstays.
Whaling, who is making the switch from the 120-pound division, breezed through his opponents en route to a third-round pin of Benedictine’s Brad Freda. Despite the victory, Whaling said his five matches revealed some areas that need tweaking.
Colonial Heights’ Jerrid Whaling (left) won his weight class in Saturday’s Colonial Heights Kickoff Classic (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
“I did well, but I could’ve done better,” Whaling said. “I wasn’t as good on my feet as I should’ve been, and there are a few other things I need to correct.”
Trent found similar success in the finals. The junior – who, like Whaling, placed eighth in last year’s state tournament – said his familiarity with Clover Hill’s Jordon Mills helped him secure a first-round pin in 1:26.
“I wrestled him last year,” Trent said. “I knew what he was doing, so I just went out there and wrestled my match.”
Whaling called his final appearance in the annual competition “pretty special,” but he and his cohorts no this is no time for nostalgia. Colonial Heights will open its Central District campaign on Wednesday against Matoaca, Prince George and Meadowbrook.
The Warriors are the reigning district and region champions, but Sawka said his team will attack the challenge with its signature vigor.
“I know my guys are going to go after them,” Sawka said. “Some of them have never won an individual match against Matoaca, so they’re going to be gunning for them from that perspective.”
TOP 5 TEAMS
1) Varina 395.5
2) Colonial Heights 352
3) Benedictine 321
4) Tallwood 288
5) Clover Hill 238
(Listed in order of finish)
106 pounds: Josh Lafferty (Nottoway), Jordon Hagwood (Benedictine), Marshall Weaver (Varina).
113: Jerrid Whaling (Colonial Heights), Brad Freda (Benedictine), Mike Rossero (Tallwood).
120: Marshall Bailey (Tallwood), Kerry Mason (Varina), Trey Young (Thomas Dale).
126: Aaron Ellison (Colonial Heights), Mike Greenshields (Douglas Freeman), Keaton Gomez (Manchester).
132: Corey Leonard (Thomas Dale), Austin Ellison (Colonial Heights), Shane Corbin (Benedictine).
138: Gerald Woodard (Varina), Greyson Pierce (Colonial Heights), Bradley Johnson (Clover Hill).
145: Justin Trent (Colonial Heights), Jordon Mills (Clover Hill), Alex Machupa (Varina).
152: Sam Toomey (Benedictine), Josh Stacey (Spotsylvania), Tyler Church (Varina).
160: Malik O’Neal (Manchester), Ulysses Augerous (Benedictine), Daniel Dodd (Varina).
170: Cabell Thoma (Benedictine), Dylan Gregg (Colonial Heights), James Mealy (Varina).
182: Ralph Toomey (Benedictine), Mike Golindo (Prince George), Conner Spohr (Tallwood).
195: Zachary Relford (Prince George), David Kretzer (Clover Hill), Jahleel Athey (Varina).
220: Brandon Sipple (Colonial Heights), Caleb Harding (Varina), Charles Bailey (Tallwood).
285: Josh Ward (Clover Hill), Cameron Whetzler (Spotsylvania), Lorenzo Taylor (Varina).