Cheeks, Whitehead make KF history
Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016
The King’s Fork High School wrestling program made unprecedented strides over the weekend at the 2016 Virginia High School League Group 4A state championships in Salem.
“It went good; both kids we took placed,” Bulldogs coach Jason Dunaway said, noting that it was the “first time in King’s Fork (wrestling) history to have kids place at states.”
Senior Travius Cheeks took fifth in the 285-pound weight class, and sophomore Dennis Whitehead took sixth in the 182-pound weight class.
Email newsletter signup
Cheeks lost his first match over the weekend when he was pinned by Freedom High School senior Enes Karaaslan in two minutes and 46 seconds. In his second match, Cheeks pinned James Wood High School senior Adam Vadell in two minutes and three seconds.
Then, Cheeks had to take on Smithfield High School senior Ross Manfred and fell to him by pin in one minute and 32 seconds.
In the fifth place match, Cheeks faced Hanover High School senior Aaron Gallagher. The two had wrestled at regionals with Gallagher winning by a 9-5 decision, but at states, Cheeks won by pin in four minutes and 12 seconds.
“I wish I had him for another year,” Dunaway said of Cheeks. “With everything said and done, he was undecided about wrestling this year, and he decided to come out, and I think he finished on a high note.”
The coach noted that Whitehead took on a state bracket in the 182-pound weight class that included two defending state champions, two third-place state finishers and one fourth-place state finisher.
“He was the only underclassman in his bracket,” Dunaway said, as the rest of the group included five seniors and two juniors.
In his opening match, Whitehead was pinned by Woodgrove High School senior Kyle Branch in five minutes and 10 seconds. Then, Whitehead defeated Liberty High School junior Brian Storey by a 13-5 major decision. Storey placed fourth last year, Dunaway said.
Whitehead lost by a 10-2 major decision in his next match, during which he wrestled Rock Ridge High School senior Griffin Oberg. In the fifth-place match, Eastern View High School senior Tyler Keen defeated Whitehead in a tie breaker, 8-5.
“It was a plus with his just being there as a sophomore, getting the experience,” Dunaway said of Whitehead being at states.