Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

Dale Sweeps Tri-Meet, Improves District Standing
Jan 11, 2013, 16:32

Colonial Heights senior Zac Firesheets (top) looks to pin King William’s Andrew Ripay (bottom) during a non-district clash on Wednesday in Chester. The Colonials cruised past the Cavaliers but lost to Thomas Dale in the finale of the tri-meet (photo by David Breidenbach).

CHESTER — For the past few seasons, the Thomas Dale wrestling team has struggled to rediscover the form it had during the early years of the current century, when the Knights’ roster was brimming with talent at nearly every weight class.

But the upstart squad took a big step in that direction on Wednesday by defeating second-place Colonial Heights 42-34 in a Central District match in Chester.

For good measure, the Knights tacked on a 58-19 non-district win over King William to emerge unbeaten from the midseason tri-meet.

“It’s hard to replace wrestlers like Alex Turley,
Colonial Heights senior Austin Ellison (right) works against King William’s Shane Dusanski during a non-district clash on Wednesday in Chester. Ellison won by pin (photo by David Breidenbach).
Brandon Goodwyn and Drew Zoller,” said Thomas Dale coach Sean Powers. “For the first time in years, we held open mats at our gym. This allowed us to bring kids into the room over the summer and teach them wrestling at a much slower pace, with no pressures of upcoming competitions looming.”

The extra work is starting to pay off for Powers and the Knights.

The victory over Colonial Heights puts Thomas Dale in a position to finish at least third in the district, and possibly tied for second with the Colonials if the results fall in their favor.

“With the win over Colonial Heights and a loss to Dinwiddie, we still have to face Petersburg and the ever-tough Matoaca,” Powers said. “My prediction is that we finish third in the district or, if we’re lucky, tied for second.”

Colonial Heights also notched a comfortable victory over King William, overcoming three forfeits to claim an otherwise-flawless 52-18 triumph. But the Colonials were made to rue their conceded bouts against the Knights.

Thomas Dale took full advantage of Colonial Heights having to forfeit four weight classes, which gave the host school 24 points.

The Knights also used good performances from their middle weights to carry the night. The match started at the 220-pound weight class, which the Knights won by forfeit. The home team proceeded to squeak out a 3-2 decision over Kit Barnes in the heavyweight match to go up 9-0.

Thomas Dale picked up two more forfeits in the 106- and 113-pound divisions that pushed the deficit to 21-0.

Colonial Heights senior Jerrid Whaling put a stop to the skid by earning a pin over Nathan Price, but Trey Young countered with an 8-1 decision over Aaron Ellison for a 24-6 lead.

The Colonials looked like they might catch the Knights in the next three matches, as Austin Ellison claimed a 21-6 major decision victory over Chris Collins and Zac Firesheets pocketed a 20-4 major decision over Dillon Richards.

Justin Trent gave the Colonials a chance to overcome their forfeits by pinning Trevor Amato in the 145-pound class, but the lower part of the card fell in favor of the Knights.

Pallas English, Johnathan Daniels, and Octavien English all won by pins over Nathan Kuchinsky, Nathan Martin, and D. Burton, respectively, to secure the win.

The Colonials closed out the match with a pair of pins at 182 and 195. Dylan Gregg defeated Zack Life and Riley Morgan followed suit to end the match, but those efforts proved to be too little, too late for the Colonials.

“So far, we’ve had some ups and downs,” said Colonial Heights coach Andrew Sawka. “We won’t win 36 dual meets like we did last year. We’re not going to break that record. We’ve lost more matches, but we beefed up our schedule a little bit.

“We went to Maryland and were four and four up there, and that’s good for us. We have been seeing all new teams and a lot of new faces.”

Sawka said that while his team is not as strong as it was last year, his roster still boasts some very good individual wrestlers. The team has eight seniors: Whaling, Austin Ellison, Aaron Ellison, Firesheets, Trent, Kuchinsky, Gregg, and Riley, he said.

Coming into the match, the Colonials were in second place in the district, having only lost to Matoaca. The loss to the Knights may drop them to third place for the season when the dust settles.

“We still have some solid individual wrestlers, but the filler weight classes aren’t as strong as they were last year,” Sawka said.

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