The Woodgrove Wolverines used every wrestler on their team to pitch in for a narrow victory over runner-up Loudoun County at the Dulles District Wrestling Championship Feb. 2 at Loudoun Valley High School.
The Wolverines totaled 217 points, 1.5 points more than the regular-season champion and defending tournament champion Raiders.
“I’m really proud of the effort the guys put in,” Woodgrove coach Scott Fortney said. “Every match counts. We’ve talked about it in the last day or two. We wanted to contest every point in every match, and every match was important, and it turned out that way.”
Woodgrove featured two individual champions, Joe LaRock (132) and Jake David (152), and were aided by sending six wrestlers to the finals. Overall, 13 Wolverines earned medals.
LaRock made a gritty comeback against Briar Woods Micklos Zahora. After trailing 4-0 in the first period, LaRock gained momentum to win 9-6 as he avenged an earlier loss to Zahora.
“I was pretty scared in the first period, he got an early takedown and two back [points],” LaRock said. “I was hoping to get the reversal and I knew as soon as I got on top, that’s the place I like to be and I was able to ride him out and pick up some points. He beat me earlier in the season, I knew I had to work harder and get him back today.”
Loudoun County also placed six wrestlers to the finals and sent 12 to the medal stand. Brian Monroy (120), Logan Smith (138), Hunter Day (160) and Alex Reader (182) each won individual titles.
Logan Smith paced the Raiders with three pins and never wrestled past the first round.
“I really needed to go for pins to get bonus points for the team,” Smith said. “I didn’t try to waste any time. I just went straight for the pins today.”
Potomac Falls was in the hunt most of the day and ended in third place just 17 points from top honors. The Panthers advanced four wrestlers to the finals and claimed two individual titles by Omer Nezam (145) and Zach Causey (195).
Loudoun Valley rounded out the top four with 174.5 points. The Vikings claimed nine medals and sent four wrestlers to the finals with freshman sensation Cade Kiely (113) and senior Josh Cassada-Maple (170) capturing individual titles.
Cassada-Maple scored a 25-second pin and a major decision going into his final match against Loudoun County’s Mitchell Stevens.
“My first match went kind of fast and in my second match I faced a wrestler I hadn’t faced from Potomac Falls,” Cassada-Maple said. “I knew I just had to come in a wrestle my kind of match to win.”
Briar Woods Michael Hulcher captured the 126-pound title with two pins in less than 30 seconds and a major decision victory against No. 2 seed Matt Sun from Loudoun County.
The Falcons sent four wrestlers to the finals and saw senior Zack Durkin (160) removed by stretcher when he suffered an arm injury in his match against Hunter Day from Loudoun County. The tournament was stopped for approximately 30 minutes and Durkin received a standing ovation from wrestlers at mat side and the crowd as he exited the gym.
“Very sad to see Zack’s season end like this,” Briar Woods coach Ryan Rogers said. “Zack had really been wrestling well the past few weeks.”
Park View dominated both heavyweight classes with senior Bryan Barahona (220) scoring three pins on the day and fellow senior Ronald Cruz winning the 285-pound title with a thrilling overtime win over Woodgrove’s Dylan O’Connor in the closest match of the finals.
Dominion’s Brandon Thein (106) added two first round pins and a 16-1 tech fall on his way to an individual title.
Many of the wrestlers will face the possibility of going against each other again as the Regional championships will be held Feb. 8-9 at John Champe High School in Aldie.
“We will try to keep our progression going into the regionals,” said Fortney, whose team qualified 13 wrestlers for regionals.
“It’s less about team scores and more about the emotional side of the tournament. The regionals are a little different kind of animal. It’s a two-day tournament, the caliber of competition is going to be much higher and wrestling through the rounds gets tough.”
Woodgrove - 217
Loudoun County - 215.5
Potomac Falls - 200
Loudoun Valley - 174.5
Briar Woods - 140
Park View - 103.5
Dominion - 67.5
Tuscarora - 66
John Champe - 53
Heritage - 27
106: Brandon Thein (D) def. Dylan Sieng (PV), 16-1
113: Cade Kiely (LV) def. Dylan Shockey (W), 2-1
120: Brian Monroy (LC) pinned Chris Walker (W), 4:15
126: Michael Hulcher (BW) def. Matt Sun (LC), 12-2
132: Joe LaRock (W) def. Micklos Zahora (BW), 9-6
138: Logan Smith (LC) pinned Zachary Gingras (LV), 1:57
145: Omer Nezam (PF) def. Luke Segerdahl (W), 7-3
152: Jake David (W) def. Anthony Oswald (PF), 13-4
160: Hunter Day (LC) def. Zack Durkin (BW), 8-1
170: Josh Cassada-Maple (LV) def. Mitchell Stevens (LC), 7-4
182: Alex Reader (LC) def. Jimmy Mckeown (PF), 3-1
195: Zach Causey (PF) def. Bryan Capozzolli (BW), 6-4
220: Bryan Barahona (PV) pinned Sid Byers (LV), 4:32
285: Ronald Cruz (PV) def. Dylan O’Connor (W), 3-1
-Video and photos by Michael "Moe" Murphy