NRHS hosts wrestling tourney for Toys for Tots

Published 11:13 pm Friday, December 21, 2012

King's Fork 132-pound wrestler Bailey Wall (right) takes on Warhill's William Cifers during the Fourth Annual Mike Duman Toys For Tots Invitational wrestling tournament at Nansemond River High School on Friday.

The Fourth Annual Mike Duman Toys For Tots Invitational wrestling tournament got under way on Friday at Nansemond River High School and will conclude today.

Though there were a couple of last-minute cancellations from some teams, 16 wrestling squads were still present with 215 wrestlers competing. King’s Fork, Lakeland and Nansemond River high schools were present and competitive.

Nansemond River assistant wrestling coach John Bostwick coordinated the event once again this year. It was held twice at Lakeland when he served as head coach there, and this marks the second year that Nansemond River has hosted. Bostwick said the tournament was going well and explained how the wrestling team and Toys for Tots benefit each other through the event.

Toys begin piling up at the Fourth Annual Mike Duman Toys For Tots Invitational wrestling tournament at Nansemond River High School on Friday. Spectators on Friday and today are offered a reduced ticket price if they bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated.

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“We’re doing something good for our own team by giving them the chance to wrestle here, but we’re also giving them the chance to give us the opportunity to give back to the community by doing our Toys for Tots drive,” he said.

“When you start doing a good thing and people realize it’s a good thing, everybody wants to start getting on board with it,” he said.

Notably, each wrestler from Kecoughtan’s team entered the school with a toy to add to the growing stack.

The team from Warhill led by head coach Scott Lish brought 65-70 toys on its school bus. Lish was pleased they could donate to a great cause.

“We started raising about two months ago, and a bunch of toys came in and it sort of snowballed, so we brought them,” he said.

For the coaches and wrestlers, the event was also a great opportunity to wade into unfamiliar wrestling territory.

“I like it, because you get to see teams you’ve never seen or don’t normally see,” King’s Fork head coach Brett Herberling said. “Three-fourths of the teams that are here are teams that we normally don’t get to wrestle against, so it’s good to get out and good to get something different, because after awhile wrestling the same people gets old.”

Lakeland head coach Jamaal Jones was relishing the opportunity to get his kids some mat time in preparation for bigger and better things.

“This is in preparation for districts, because we wrestle in arguably one of the hardest districts in the state,” he said. “So, everything from here on out is to prepare us for districts.”

Senior 170-pound Lakeland wrestler Corey Hubbard was victorious in his first match of the day on a technical fall, going up against senior Dakoda Farrington from Poquoson High School. Hubbard enjoyed the event as a litmus test for his ability.

“The broader the competition, the more you can gauge yourself when you are at the state and regional level,” he said.

Nansemond River senior Graeme Beamen also won his first match of the day in the 132-pound weight class, pinning Lakeland junior Blade Hubbard. Beamen reflected on the dual purpose of the event.

“Well, it’s really empowering, because we’re doing this for the kids,” he said.

“We have so many teams around us, watching us wrestle, like, the spotlight’s on you,” he said.

The event also represented a unique opportunity for other schools like one from Currituck, N.C. to have a chance to compete and see what Tidewater can do on the mat. Currituck head coach Paul Bossi explained what the tournament meant to him and his team.

“It gives our kids an opportunity to face some really, really good wrestlers,” he said. “Where we’re located in north Carolina, the closest competition for us is about two and a half hours away, so this is — being right up the road — about an hour away we get to see a lot of Tidewater’s best wrestlers and pushes our kids real well and prepares us for our season.”

The tournament is scheduled to resume today at 11:30 a.m. with the first-, second-, third- and fourth-place matches taking place at the end of the day around 7:30 p.m.