NRHS wrestler wins championshipPublished 10:17pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Nansemond River junior Caleb Repko won the 2013 Virginia Eastern Region wrestling championship in the heavyweight division on Saturday at Oscar Smith High School. Four other Nansemond River wrestlers advanced to the final eight.
Lakeland senior Corey Hubbard had been advancing as expected, but was then derailed due to a concussion.
Repko faced a familiar opponent, Indian River’s Tyler Fain, whom he had wrestled during the regular season and also the week prior in the district semifinal. On Saturday, he defeated Fain on a 3-2 decision that he credited to the chants of “Repko!” coming from a supportive crowd.
“The support, definitely,” he said. “They came last week for the district finals, and a lot of them came again today for the regional finals — my friends and my family and people I’ve known for a really long time coming to watch me wrestle, and it just would have sucked to let them down.”
The match was scoreless after the first of three two-minute rounds, but less than halfway through the second, Repko escaped from Fain’s hold and earned a point for the escape. In the third period, Fain did the same thing to even the score at one.
Almost the entire match took place with the wrestlers on their feet, engaging in hand fighting and looking for an advantage to take each other down. Repko shared what was going through his mind at this point.
“I knew (Fain) was going to take a shot, I knew it was going to happen,” he said. “So I was just thinking, ‘Hand fight, don’t get called for stalling and when he takes that shot, you’ve got to sprawl, you’ve got to get your legs back and you’ve got to score.’”
Fain did take the shot, but Repko successfully took him down. However, they were very close to the edge of the mat, so with 47 seconds remaining the referees called a timeout to discuss whether the points should be awarded or if the wrestlers actually had gone out of bounds.
Indian River’s head coach talked it over with Nansemond River head coach Tripp Seed.
“His argument was that Caleb went out of bounds to score,” Seed said. “It was one of those, if we had another referee, they might have called it out of bounds.”
Seed said this particular referee was not in the practice of going back on his calls and also tended toward letting wrestlers wrestle, not cutting off the action immediately when the competitors near the point of being out of bounds.
“It could have gone either way, to be honest with you,” Seed said regarding the call. “It was one of those on the edge there.”
Repko said he felt more comfortable wrestling Fain, since this was the seventh time he has faced him in the last two years. At the start of this season, Repko was 1-3 against this opponent; now, he is 4-3.
Senior 145-pounder Saquan Branch was the only other member of the Warriors to advance to the state championships, coming in fourth. Seed and his assistant coach John Bostwick were also hoping to see 120-pounder Nick Garland get there as well, but he ended up coming in sixth, though Seed said he wrestled well. Garland will be an alternate at the state championships should an injury occur to one of the top four wrestlers who qualified.
“We had five kids that made it to the round of eight, and four of them are coming back next year, so that’s pretty big for us,” Seed said.
The other two of the five were Danye Craig at 113 pounds and Leon Lynch at 170 pounds.
Lakeland head coach Jamaal Jones had expected senior 170-pounder Corey Hubbard to advance to states, but Hubbard suffered a concussion before he could get far enough to qualify. Salem’s Torrance Brown was awarded a default against Hubbard and then won his next two matches to become regional champion.
The state tournament will take place this Friday and Saturday at Oscar Smith High School.