Sims to wrestle for Suffolk at state

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 26, 2005

When Kelly Sims qualified for Eastern Region wrestling competition two weekends ago, the Lakeland senior wasn’t entirely thrilled.

&uot;I was happy that I made it,&uot; said Sims, who finished third in Southestern District mat battles at 215, ending the district tourney 3-1. &uot;But I was kind of bummed, because I had a whole other week of practice.&uot;

Still, he persevered, and headed to regionals at Churchland last Saturday. Sims opened things up against Vance Hall of Lake Taylor.


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&uot;It was just like any normal match,&uot; he said. &uot;I’d beaten him several times before.&uot;

He did so again, scoring a 14-4 victory to take on Jared Corbett of Bethel, who’d gone 32-0 over the season (Sims came in at 33-8).

As time ticked away the last few seconds, the score was tied at three, and Sims was on the bottom. Just before the buzzer rang out, he escaped and took Corbett down for a 6-3 victory. He then lost to Tallwood’s Quentin Rainey, and had one last shot to make it to state competition.

His battle with Tim Ragle of Kempsville was similar to the Corbett one, as the last few seconds came with the score knotted at one. With five ticks to tock, Sims leaped at his opponent and took him down for the deciding points.

&uot;I was jumping around,&uot; Sims said. &uot;I was like, ‘Wow, I’m going to state!’&uot;

As icing on the cake, he defeated Trey Rodgers of Great Bridge 3-2 to secure third in regionals.

At Oscar Smith this weekend, he’ll be the first Cavalier to make the state journey since Chris Baines in 1999, and have a shot at bringing Lakeland its first state title since Jonathan Thompson won the 1995 championship at 160 pounds.

&uot;I surpassed my expectations,&uot; he said. &uot;I thought I’d make it to regionals and die like I did last year. I’m as prepared as I can be – if I don’t know it by now, it’s too late to learn it.&uot;

While he prepares to battle the state’s best at Smith, his younger teammates will take part in a tourney for middle-schoolers and freshman across Virginia March 11-13 at Virginia Wesleyan College.

&uot;I want to get ranked for next year,&uot; said Lakeland freshman Cody Jones, who wrestled at 130 this year. &uot;For a freshman, I did all right this year. I’m going to go hard the next few weeks.&uot;