By Tommy Keeler Jr.
Kent Cadle stays calm, cool and collected before his matches. He walks around with confidence, knowing that he's probably on the mind of his opponent.
The Strasburg senior and former state champion has plenty of belief in himself.
"I like to think most people know me," Cadle said. "My record's 33-1 and they probably see that. They should think 'oh man, I got to go up against him.' I'm just more calm, because I feel like I have that as an advantage. I feel like I shouldn't be afraid of anybody.
"I feel like I'm the best out there. I shouldn't be worried about anyone."
Cadle transferred this year from Manassas Park, where he won the state title as a sophomore at 126 pounds.
On Friday, he was in Ram Purple representing host school Strasburg in the first day of the Region B wrestling tournament. Cadle won his first two matches by pins to advance to the semifinals.
Strasburg was in second place after Friday's competition with 76 points, while Manassas Park was in first with 82 points. Central was in fifth with 59 points, and Stonewall Jackson was sixth with 56.5 points.
The Rams have eight wrestlers in the semifinals, while Central has three and Stonewall Jackson has four.
Cadle will wrestle Appomattox's Austin Short in today's 132-pound semifinals. The two met last year, and Cadle came out on top, 4-1.
It's possible he could meet Manassas Park's Fabian Rodriguez in today's final. The two former teammates met last week in the Bull Run final, which Cadle won, 5-0.
"I look for another close match," Cadle said. "I'm going to try to get more points, but I feel like it will be a close match."
Cadle said it was an easy transition moving from Manassas Park to Strasburg, because many of the wrestlers already knew him.
Strasburg coach Trey Kirkland is very happy to have him on his side this year.
"He's actually been a vital part of our success this year," Kirkland said. "His main strength is on his feet. I'd put him on his feet against anybody in the state. He's almost impossible to take down. He's so fast. He might be the fastest guy I've ever seen on his feet."
Cadle said that winning the state championship two years ago was a great feeling. Last year he finished third in the 126-pound class, and he said that has helped motivate him for this season.
He also has enjoyed becoming teammates with Strasburg sophomore Nic Campbell, who won the state title last year at 113. Cadle said the two have a friendly competition going.
"When Nic goes out there and gets a pin I'm like OK I got to match that," Cadle said.
Cadle said he feels Strasburg is a better fit for him than Manassas Park was, and he also enjoys wrestling in front of the home crowd this weekend.
"I definitely like the home crowd," Cadle said of Strasburg hosting the Region B tournament. "Manassas Park has a big crowd, but you can't match Strasburg's when it comes to crowds. They're everywhere, they're huge."
Contact assistant sports editor Tommy Keeler Jr. at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org