NRHS wrestles to conference victory

Published 10:36pm Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nansemond River High School left a sizable impact on the first-ever Ironclad Conference wrestling championships over the weekend, finishing more than 100 points ahead of its nearest competition, which was host Phoebus High School.

“That was probably the best we’ve wrestled all year as a team,” Warriors head coach Tripp Seed said. “When you win 10 out of 14 weight classes, that’s pretty dominating.”

In addition to that, all 14 of his team’s wrestlers placed high enough to advance to regional championships.

Lakeland High School produced nine regional qualifiers, including Blade Hubbard, who won the 145-pound weight class and was voted the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. King’s Fork High School had four qualifiers.

Seed highlighted the performances by 132-pounder Hunter Hill, 138-pounder Jacob Clark, 152-pounder Matt Carpenter and 220-pounder Derek Hopkins. They faced wrestlers on Saturday who had defeated them earlier in the year, some as recently as last week. The four Warriors showed their level of improvement on Saturday when they turned the tables.

“All of them dominated the matches that they won,” Seed said. “It wasn’t like those matches were close.”

Also winning their classes were 106-pounder Malcolm Dawson, 113-pounder James Boone, 120-pounder Nick Garland, 126-pounder Danye Craig, 160-pounder Leon Lynch and heavyweight Dia Gray.

Seed praised his wrestlers’ ambitious goals at the event.

“Nobody was ever just satisfied with just winning the match,” Seed said. “They were trying to go for the kill the whole time.”

Wrestlers placing in the top four of each weight class qualified to compete at the regional championships. Those placing fifth earned a spot as an alternate, who would compete if a qualifier had to pull out for some reason, like injury.

From Nansemond River, 145-pounder Malik Neeley placed second, as did 195-pounder Mike Carlin, after going into triple overtime with a Phoebus wrestler. Dustin Telles placed third in the 170-pound weight class and 182-pounder Brandon Hedge also took third.

With all 14 wrestlers continuing on, Seed is quite confident.

“We’re going into the regional tournament looking like we should win that too,” he said. “That’s our mindset.”

Also qualifying for Lakeland were second-place finishers Kevin Dale at 113 pounds, Nick Battaglia at 138 pounds and Travis Jones at heavyweight. The Cavaliers’ third-place finishers were 106-pounder Tut Harville, 126-pounder Bruce Odom and 132-pounder Devin Harden. Coming in fourth were 160-pounder Jacob Marshall and 220-pounder Hunter Etheridge.

King’s Fork 160-pounder Aaron Hommell placed second on Saturday, 120-pounder Andy Hall placed third and 106-pounder Jackson Stone and heavyweight Travius Cheeks each placed fourth.

The Region 4A South wrestling championships take place on Friday and Saturday at Woodrow Wilson High School.

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