Matoaca Outwrestles District, Takes Title
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Feb 4, 2013, 16:28
DINWIDDIE – Matoaca High School won the Central District wrestling tournament in the final year of its existence on Saturday in Dinwiddie.
The long-standing competition will give way to newly formed conference tournaments next year as part of the Virginia High School League’s new enrollment-based realignment plan.
Holders of three straight tournament titles, the Warriors prevailed in seven of the 14 weight classes, placed 12 wrestlers into the Central Region tournament and finished with a staggering team score of 261.
Colonial Heights senior Zac Firesheets (top) grapples with Matoaca's Kyle Gordon during the Central District wrestling tournament on Saturday in Dinwiddie (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
Dinwiddie came in second with 200.5 points and Colonial Heights claimed four individual titles en route to a collective tally of 190.5 — good enough for third place. Nine Colonials qualified for the region competition, which will be held on Saturday at Manchester High School.
“I thought we would have three champs realistically,” said Colonial Heights coach Andrew Sawka. “But four is much better. Going into regionals, I think we should take four or five kids to states. Those are my expectations.”
Sawka said he expected district titles from Jerrid Whaling in the 113-pound weight class, Justin Trent at 145 and Dylan Gregg at 170, but Brandon Sipple’s triumph came as a pleasant surprise.
The 220-pound senior toppled top-seeded Dinwiddie junior Aaron Vaughan with a pin in the first round. Vaughan entered the championship bout unbeaten in 43 matches this season.
Gregg’s breakthrough was four years in the making. The senior – who finished third in the district as a freshman, sophomore and junior – secured his second-career tech fall victory against Meadowbrook junior Shammah Waller in the finals.
“It feels good to be a senior and finally be first in the district,” Gregg said. “When I grow up, I can say I was a district champion my senior year.”
Paced by second-place finishes from Angelo Scott (106) and Trey Young (126), Thomas Dale finished fourth with a team score of 136. Pallas English (152) and Zach Life (182) notched third-place finishes for the Knights and four others took fourth.
Petersburg senior Tyran Taylor (120), who was named most outstanding wrestler following a 7-2 decision win over top-ranked Matoaca junior Dylan Schuster, led the Crimson Wave in a fifth-place showing.
Prince George senior Zack Relford sauntered into the finals by pinning his first two opponents in a combined 1:38. But the 195-pound stalwart met his match in Matoaca senior Corbin Ramos in the title bout and had to settle for silver.
Prince George sophomore Spencer Gifford (126) and senior Trevor Hargrave (220) claimed third in their respective divisions as the Royals pocketed sixth. Meadowbrook finished seventh and Hopewell eighth. The Blue Devils will have three representatives at the region tournament.
“I thought coming in that we had four possible finalists and four possible champs,” said Hopewell coach Mike Henderson. “So we didn’t meet expectations there tonight.”
Senior Terence Terry (160) earned Hopewell’s only runner-up honors while Jacob Roark (285) and Dewonyea Westry (106) both came home third. The top four performers in each weight class at the region tournament will advance to the VHSL Group AAA bracket the following week.
“We have our work cut out for us next weekend,” Henderson said. “But I believe that all three guys can legitimately qualify for the state tournament.”
Matoaca’s Michael Moore was named coach of the year.
1. Matoaca 261
2. Dinwiddie 200.5
3. Colonial Heights 190.5
4. Thomas Dale 136
5. Petersburg 124
6. Prince George 107
7. Meadowbrook 67
8. Hopewell 58.5
CENTRAL REGION QUALIFIERS
(listed in order of finish)
106: Quaran Good (Matoaca), Angelo Scott (Thomas Dale), Dewonyea Westry (Hopewell), Zacc Callahan (Petersburg).