|The Loudoun County Raiders wrestling team holds up the runner-up trophy after placing in a tie for second at the Region II tournament. The Raiders qualified five wrestler for the state meet, Feb. 15-16 in Salem.—Times-Mirror Photo/Michael “Moe” Murphy|
The Loudoun County Raiders made a valiant surge but came up just short of winning the team title at the Region II Wrestling Championships Feb. 9 at John Champe High School in Aldie.
The Raiders tied Skyline for second place with 144.5 points, just three points short of Fauquier, who took the lead for good when Max Strum defeated Kettle Run’s Adam Bresson in the 185-pound championship bout.
“Our guys wrestled tough today,” Raiders coach Joel Caruso said. “We got the bonus points, we just came up three points short on the team totals. We are taking six to the states but should be taking eight.”
Six Loudoun wrestlers advanced to the finals with three making it all the way through to the champion’s podium.
Briar Woods junior Michael Hulcher won a 7-5 decision over Kettle Run’s Caleb Yost in the final at 126 pounds.
“It was great because it was the first time Briar Woods has ever had a regional champ,” Hulcher said. “I had wrestled the kid before in a tournament at the beginning of the season so I had a game plan coming into the tournament. I knew once I got the first takedown there was no way I was going to lose.”
Loudoun County senior Logan Smith pinned Kyle Vangel of Sherando at 1:10 of the 138-pound title bout to gain his 150th victory.
“I knew I had 149 wins going into the match, so it was really special to get a pin,” Smith said. “I knew if I got a pin and we got some help we could win the tournament. I loosened him up a little bit, turned him on his back and pinned him.”
Woodgrove sophomore Jake David pinned Gavin Tingen of Louisa County at 1:22 to win the region title at 152 pounds. David entered the tournament as the third seed.
“I was expected to come in third or fourth so I came in here with the mindset I’ve got nothing to lose,” David said. “I’m here to win and I’m going to do the best that I can and if someone is going to beat me they are going to have to really beat me.”
Dominion’s Brandon Thein (106), Potomac Falls Zach Causey (195) and Loudoun County’s Kyle Schlue (220) each reached the finals in their respective weight classes and earned runner-up finishes.
The tournament wasn’t without controversy as Loudoun County’s Matt Sun (126) lost a 5-4 decision to Garrett Tingen of Fauquier County in the quarterfinals. Loudoun County coaches and wrestlers felt that Sun scored back points that were not awarded to him by the official in the one-point loss.
“That hurt big time and that was the first time I cried in public in a long time,” Smith said about Sun. “We got to keep our heads up and keep fighting for Matt Sun. He should be there with us.”
Sun came back to pin Isaac Meadows of Millbrook at 1:40 to win his fifth-place match but only the top four in each weight class qualify for states.
“It’s really out of our control,” Caruso said. “That one match is the difference between us winning the region championship and finishing in second place.”
The Virginia AA state tournament is Feb. 15-16 at the Salem Civic Center.
Top Loudoun finishers
106: 2. Brandon Thein (DOM)
120: 3. Chris Walker (WG)
126: 1. Michael Hulcher (BW)
132: 4. Micklos Zahora (BW)
138: 1. Logan Smith (LC)
145: 3. Omer Nezam (PF); 4. Luke Rivera (LC)
152: 1. Jake David (WG); 4. Micah Hotz (PV)
160: 4. Hunter Day (LC)
170: 3. Mitchell Stevens (LC); 4. Tad Haugen (PF)
182: 4. Alex Reader (LC)
195: 2. Zach Causey (PF)
220: 2. Kyle Schlue (LC)
285: 3. Dylan O’Connor (WG); 4. Ronald Cruz (PV)
1. Fauquier - 147.5
2. Loudoun County - 144.5
2. Skyline - 144.5
4. Brentsville District - 133.5
5. Sherando - 125
6. Woodgrove - 123.5
7. Warren County - 113.5
8. Kettle Run - 105.5
9. Potomac Falls - 93
10. Millbrook - 92
11. John Handley - 81.5
12. Powhatan - 80.5
13. Louisa County - 67
14. Park View - 54
15. James Wood - 50
16. Briar Woods - 41.5
17. Monticello - 34
18. Fluvanna - 28
19. Dominion - 25
20. Liberty - 23
21. Loudoun Valley - 21.5
22. Charlottesville - 20
23. Western Albemarle - 12
24. Tuscarora - 9
25. John Champe - 2
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