Cavs sweep city rivals on mat

Published 5:30 pm Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Lakeland wrestling team used early triumphs by competitors in the first stages of their high school careers to defeat Nansemond River 39-26 Wednesday in a Southeastern District contest.

A pin at 119 pounds by freshman Evan Worley and a 3-2 victory by sophomore Trey Freeman at 125 pounds set the tone on the Cavaliers’ home turf. Another strong effort, though it resulted in an 8-7 loss, came from freshman Ace Traynham-Willis at 135 pounds and against one of the region’s best in Warrior Dashon Eure.

“A huge win,” said second-year Lakeland coach John Bostwick, who’s hoping for big things from his troops at the upcoming district tournament. “We’re peaking at the right time.”

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Bostwick’s counterpart, Nansemond River coach Tripp Seed, couldn’t have felt differently. Also in his second season at the helm, the former Western Branch and Virginia Tech grappler is frustrated by a plateau in his club’s performance.

“I don’t see improvement,” Seed said. “It’s like we’ve hit a wall. I gave the kids days off and lighter practices, but that’s not working either. We’re still farther along from where we were last season, but we didn’t show it tonight.”

The Nansemond River – Lakeland clash was part of a four-way match also involving district foes King’s Fork and Grassfield, which swept its way to an undefeated regular season in district competition. Andrew Clement, considered by many to be the region’s top 171-pound performer, led the Grizzlies with three pins while teammate Caleb Richardson, similarly viewed at 103 pounds, won once at that weight and twice at 112. King’s Fork was swept by a combined score of 170-50, its closest loss a 49-25 setback against Nansemond River.

“Our kids battle, I’ll give them that,” said first-year King’s Fork coach Brett Heberling. “But we need more experience and that’s not going to come until we can really establish a youth program.”

All three city programs will benefit from the establishment of a wrestling culture at the lower levels, but Lakeland finds itself in the lead under the current circumstances. Alex Sari, a junior who competes at 160 pounds, went 3-0 with three pins Wednesday and improved his overall record to 33-7 and his district mark to 7-1. Teammate and senior heavyweight Jeremy Britt also went 3-0, with two pins, and beat highly-regarded Vicquan Arrington 5-2 in the Nansemond River tilt.

With the regular season concluded, local teams have the district tournament at Grassfield on Feb. 6-7 to look forward to, as well as the Eastern Region tournament at Oscar Smith on Feb. 13-14 and the state tournament, also at Oscar Smith, on Feb. 20-21.

Lakeland will host one last tune-up prior to the tournaments, on Saturday with the Lakeland Rotational. Action at Lakeland is slated to start at 9 a.m. on Saturday.