By Brian Eller - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Imagine being called up to wrestle only your second varsity match ever.
Imagine the tidal wave of nerves just before the match and the collection of teammates, coaches and fans cheering around you.
Alex Plumb didn't have to imagine.
Plumb was called up from Millbrook's junior varsity squad Wednesday to wrestle varsity at the 140-pound spot and, despite his relative inexperience, didn't disappoint. The sophomore registered a pin in his match against Skyline and helped the Pioneers win both of their matches at the Millbrook quad.
The Pioneers defeated Skyline, 43-29, and topped Musselman (W.Va.), 61-18. Skyline picked up two wins as well, defeating Handley, 53-21, and crushing Musselman, 64-12. Handley dropped both of its matches, while West Virginia schools, Musselman and Martinsburg, finished a combined 2-3.
"I thought I wrestled decent for being a JV kid going up against varsity," Plumb said. "But I wouldn't have felt as good without the encouragement of my teammates and my coaches. They talk to me, make me feel good and the coaches make sure I'm feeling confident. They really help me out."
Plumb said Wednesday's matches weren't as nerve-racking as his first stint with the varsity squad, but with the short length of time it took him to wrestle his opponents, there was hardly any time to feel nervous.
Plumb's pin came against Skyline's Joe Guilbert. With the match against the Hawks already decided, Plumb's pin was the second of three consecutive pins for the Pioneers. Plumb pinned his opponent with 1:34 left in the second period, leaving Millbrook coach John Borst pleased with his wrestler's performance.
"He pinned his kid," Borst joked when asked what he liked about Plumb's performance. "He wrestled the kid pretty hard and he got the fall. We are trying to get our kids to get the bonus points, so if we're in a tight match and we split, we can get those bonus points on top."
While Plumb was finding success on Millbrook's squad, Skyline's team rebounded after an opening-match loss to the Pioneers with two dominant wins over Handley and Musselman. In their match against Handley, the Hawks had eight pins, six of which came in the first period. Skyline's Trevor Walker, who wrestles at the 145-pound weight class, finished the night with two pins and a forfeit win, while 152-pounder Matt Huffstickler went 3-0 on the day.
"We wrestled really well," Skyline coach Ryan Keel said. "We're improving up and down the line. The thing you have to remember is we're a third-year program, so we've got some guys that can wrestle. We just don't have the experience yet. Our good kids are good and our young kids are getting better. I can't ask for anything more than that."
With youth on display for the schools in Wednesday's meet, the Judges served up their own young squad, starting six freshmen and only a handful of upperclassmen. Although his team wasn't able to defeat either school it faced, Handley coach Jim Gowdy said he's working on developing his wrestlers in each match.
"We're just really young," Gowdy said. "We're wrestling six freshmen and some of those kids have never wrestled before. But we're working at the middle school, doing a lot of work at the middle school and [have] done a lot of recruiting there, so we've got about 25, 26 kids down there where in the past years we've only had 10 or so. So that's definitely a good thing."