Nansemond River wrestling takes 11th out of 40 at states

Published 11:00pm Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Nansemond River High School wrestling team fell short of its coach’s expectations overall at the VHSL Group 4A state championships but demonstrated why the coach thinks its future is brighter than its past.

Hanover High School, a team the Warriors beat at the regional level, took first with 96 points. The Warriors finished with 38 points in 11th place out of 40 teams to score in Salem on Saturday.

“Honestly, I think we underachieved a bit, as a whole,” NR head coach Tripp Seed said.

But he chose to focus on the positive, highlighting junior 113-pounder James Boone, the team’s top individual finisher in fourth place. He lost to Louisa County High School’s Jeffrey Sisk twice in close matches.

“I think if James was on the other side of the bracket he’d be in the finals,” Seed said.

The coach also cited freshman heavyweight Dia Gray, who wrestled the defending state champion, John Handley High School’s Jordan Dowrey, and only lost 1-0. Dowrey went on to repeat, and Gray finished fifth.

Junior 160-pounder Leon Lynch took fifth, despite fighting the flu all weekend.

Sophomore Malcolm Dawson placed sixth in the 106-pound weight class.

“And the good thing is all four of those guys return next year,” Seed said in reference to Boone, Gray, Lynch and Dawson.

He said the different atmosphere of this state meet with eight mats and new referees took his wrestlers by surprise, contributing the team’s less-than-stellar finish.

“I expected us to be a top-five team,” he said. “I still think we were one of the top five teams there, even though our performance didn’t show it.”

But now armed with experience and a promising corps of returners, Seed made some bold predictions for the future of Nansemond River wrestling.

“This is just the start of a run that we’re going to make,” he said. “We’ll be a lot better team in the future than what we were this year.”

King’s Fork High School senior 160-pounder Aaron Hommell placed seventh, as the lone representative from his school.

“I would have like to have done better than I did,” he said. But in the light of the fact that he defeated Deep Creek High School’s Richard Cruz by a 1-0 decision to take seventh, he said, “I won my last match in my career, so I’m happy with that.”

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