LHS confident for tourney

Published 11:19 pm Friday, February 7, 2014

Lakeland High School freshman 113-pounder Kevin Dale wrestles Phoebus High School junior Imari Ramirez on Wednesday.

Lakeland High School freshman 113-pounder Kevin Dale wrestles Phoebus High School junior Imari Ramirez on Wednesday.

Holes in the lineup and the snow weeks made a difference as Lakeland High School’s wrestling team came up short in its final tri-match of the regular season this week. But Cavaliers head coach Jamaal Jones has high hopes for today’s conference championships.

The Cavaliers hosted for only the second time this year, but fell 34-25 to Phoebus High School and 41-36 to Denbigh High School.

Lakeland was forced to forfeit four weight classes against Phoebus and six against Denbigh, and Jones cited the absences and injuries for the difference they made. Junior 138-pounder Nick Battaglia was out due to family matters and junior 195-pounder Melvin Porter was also unable to compete.


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After junior 132-pounder Devin Harden got injured during his match against Phoebus junior Khamal Linen, Lakeland’s trainer had him sit out his match against Denbigh.

In addition to these losses, the unexpected two-week break due to weather had taken its toll on the Cavaliers.

“It was evident kids were a little sluggish on the mat, a little gassed, and that played a big role in how they were able to perform,” Lakeland head coach Jamaal Jones said.

Despite these narrow losses, though, he expressed his reasons on Friday for being excited about today’s conference championships.

“My expectations are good for a majority of kids on the team,” he said. “I have 10 guys. Out of the 10 guys that are on the team, five of them I can say without a shadow of a doubt … are going to regionals.”

The top four finishers in each weight class at the conference tourney will qualify for regionals. The fourth-place finisher is only an alternate, though, so finishing in the top three is important. Some classes will only have three or four participants at the tourney, simplifying matters.

The five wrestlers Jones has such confidence in are freshman 113-pounder Kevin Dale, junior 126-pounder Bruce Odom, Battaglia, senior 145-pounder Blade Hubbard and junior heavyweight Travis Jones.

“I’m think those five can make it to states, as well,” Coach Jones said.

Of the remaining five wrestlers on the team, he also said three of them have the ability to go to regionals if they wrestle up to their potential, while two still lack the necessary experience.

Jones expects to have Battaglia, Harden and Porter back in the lineup today at the Ironclad Conference wrestling championships. They will be held at Phoebus High School, with an 11 a.m. start time.

Following are the results from Lakeland’s home tri-match this week:

Phoebus 34, LHS 25

106-Saliman (P) beat Tut Harville (L) on points; 113-Kevin Dale (L) beat Ramirez (P) by Maj Dec 19-9; 120-double forfeit; 126-Bruce Odom (L) beat Pady (P) by Dec 11-6; 132-Linen (P) pinned Devin Harden (L) in 4:19; 138-(L) forfeit; 145-(P) forfeit; 152-double forfeit; 160-(P) forfeit; 170-(L) forfeit; 182-Dhamna (P) pinned Austin Branch (L) in 2:36; 195-double forfeit; 220-Edler (P) pinned Hunter Etheridge (L) in 2:14; 285-(P) forfeit

Denbigh 41, LHS 36

106-(D) forfeit; 113-(D) forfeit; 120-double forfeit; 126-(D) forfeit; 132-(L) forfeit; 138-(L) forfeit; 145-Blade Hubbard (L) pinned Blackwell (D) in 1:38; 152-(L) forfeit; 160-Jacob Marshall (L) pinned Hall (D) in 1:32; 170-(L) forfeit; 182-Kabia (D) beat Austin Branch (L) by Tech Fall 18-2; 195-(L) forfeit; 220-Flores (D) pinned Hunter Etheridge (L) in 4:08; 285-Travis Jones (L) pinned Carter (D) in 0:34