Suffolk wrestlers advance to regionals

Published 10:54pm Thursday, February 7, 2013

It was a good couple of days for Nansemond River wrestling last weekend in the Southeastern District tournament at Grassfield High School. The Warriors saw eight wrestlers advance to regional competition while Saquan Branch and Caleb Repko were district champions in their weight classes. King’s Fork had two wrestlers qualify and Lakeland had one, Corey Hubbard, who also won his weight class.

As a team, Nansemond River placed fourth out of 10, two points away from third place, while King’s Fork and Lakeland filled the last two spots, respectively.

NR head coach Tripp Seed liked both the strong performances from his wrestlers and their consistency during the two-day event.

“We wrestled really well both days,” he said. “I was pleased with the kids.”

He was also somewhat surprised by the number of qualifiers.

“I was expecting at least five, for sure, to make it to the region, and I thought seven had a good possibility, but eight was kind of a surprise, to be honest with you,” he said.

To qualify for regional competition, wrestlers at districts had to place among the top four finishers in their respective weight class.

The Warriors who will take part in regionals beginning Friday at Oscar Smith High School are as follows: Donya Craig at 113 pounds, Nick Garland at 120, Branch at 145, Matt Carpenter at 152, Leon Lynch at 170, Mike Carlin at 195 and Repko at 285.

Graeme Beaman also qualified in the 132-pound division, but hurt his shoulder and will not be able to compete this weekend.

King’s Fork head coach Brett Heberling said that the tournament “went pretty much how I envisioned it would.”

At 160 pounds, Aaron Hommell advanced to regionals by coming in fourth.

“I figured he was going to be third or fourth, so I was pretty pleased with his performance,” Heberling said. “He actually beat a returning regional qualifier from last year.”

Heberling gave further insight into why this accomplishment was particularly impressive.

“He has a difficult weight class in our district,” he said. “The top two, maybe three, guys in the region come from our district, so him taking fourth was very rewarding for him, along with myself.”

Michael Lewis, a 182-pounder, coasted to the finals, but got tripped up by Great Bridge wrestler Matt Reynolds who is ranked eighth in the state for that weight class, Heberling said.

“But, hey, as a first-year wrestler, to make it to the district finals, I was pretty happy with that portion,” Heberling said of Lewis. “He actually pinned his way to the finals.”

Lakeland head coach Jamaal Jones was only able to field a small team this season, making team wins mostly impossible, including at districts, but individually, Corey Hubbard has consistently represented Lakeland among the district leaders in his 170-pound weight class.

“I knew that he was going to win districts this year,” Jones said.

In the 170-pound final, Hubbard defeated Amir Horton from Great Bridge, who was ranked number one in the SED, Jones said. The two had not wrestled each other until last weekend.

“I’m expecting him to go all the way to state,” Jones said of Hubbard. “He definitely has the ability to go all the way to state.”

Seven wrestlers took to the mat for Lakeland at the tournament.

“For most of them, this was their first time wrestling in districts, so they know what to expect next year, and I expect them to come back next year and do great things,” Jones said.

The first round matches for the Eastern Region tournament begin Friday at Oscar Smith High School, and the competition concludes Saturday.

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