Rams roll to county title

By Brad Fauber

WOODSTOCK — Strasburg wasn’t about to let history repeat itself in Tuesday night’s Shenandoah County wrestling meet at Central High School.

Last season, the Rams saw their steady grip on the county trophy slip away as Central upended Strasburg in the final match of the four-team tournament to claim the title. Strasburg made sure that didn’t happen again.

The Rams rolled through their county rivals on Tuesday night, finishing a perfect 3-0 to reclaim the Shenandoah County championship. Stonewall Jackson finished second with a 2-1 record against county competition, while Central was third (1-2) and Massanutten Academy fourth (0-3).

Rappahannock County also participated in the event as the Panthers needed to make up a Bull Run District match with Central after their first meeting was postponed.

“We didn’t win last year and that was a real big disappointment, so as a team we came out with the mentality that we had to win this year to get the trophy back,” said Rams junior Hunter Dean, who went 4-0 at 132 pounds and won all four matches via pin fall.

“We were able to have a full lineup this year and that really helped. Last year we forfeited a lot, but that’s no excuse for it. This year we were motivated, didn’t come out flat and wrestled good the whole time.”

Strasburg benefited from being the only team with a full squad on Tuesday night, and the Rams were never threatened in their return as county champs as forfeits and solid wrestling throughout the lineup helped Strasburg to four blowout victories.

The Rams opened the night with a 75-6 win over Stonewall Jackson, and followed that with wins over Central (63-16) and Massanutten Academy (69-6). Strasburg also topped Rappahannock County 82-0, marking the fifth shutout of the season for the Rams.

Strasburg dominated the all-county honors, as the Rams claimed 10 of the 14 spots, one for each weight class. Joining Dean for all-county honors for Strasburg were fellow unbeatens Kyle Sisk (106 pounds), Dylan Campbell (113), Eric Reynolds (120), Nic Campbell (126), Tyler Drummond (160), Randy Stokes (170), Joshua Pritchett (195), Trey Mills (220) and Thayer Norris (285). Rams senior Marco Gallagher also went unbeaten in the meet, but he bounced between the 145 and 152 weight classes to help compensate for a sore shoulder.

“We’ve been wrestling really well the last couple of weeks,” Strasburg coach Mike Wood said. “We beat Warren County [last Friday] and then the next night we beat Handley, so we’ve had some quality wins, and now we’re sitting at 30-3. We’re on pace to have the most wins ever in Strasburg history, probably the second-best record in history. And we’ve already posted five shutouts this year, which is the most in history. So we’ve set a lot of records.”

Stonewall Jackson, which wrestled shorthanded on Tuesday after injuries knocked out seniors Philip Stauffer and Joseph McCabe, rebounded from its initial defeat at the hands of Strasburg to win its final three matches, including wins over Massanutten Academy (42-24) and Central (36-20).

Senior Christopher Delaughter led the way for the Generals, as he finished a perfect 4-0 at 145 pounds to earn all-county recognition. All three of his wins over county competition came via pin.

“I was just pumped like normal. I just come out to wrestle, and that’s what I do. I just had good technical work with all of the matches,” Delaughter said.

“It was really good for our team [to finish second] because we were missing a couple of guys who are out with injuries, so it was really good for us to be able to pull that out. I’m really proud of my team for that.”

Central, despite dropping matches against Stonewall and Strasburg, managed to net three all-county honors, as Thomas Peacemaker (138 pounds), Ryan Freiwald (152) and Jacob Ingham (182) each went unbeaten.

The Falcons ended the night by beating Massanutten Academy, 42-18, to clinch third place in the meet.

“The guys did well,” Central coach Roger Barbee said. “We forfeited seven weight classes … and we had three of our seven make all-county, which is reasonable. Jacob Ingham did really well. He beat the defending Region B [champion, Rappahannock County’s David Smoot]. The kids did okay, so we’re real pleased. We’re looking forward now to the end of the season, and now everything matters a great deal.”

The Bull Run District meet is scheduled for Saturday at Warren County, with conference tournaments scheduled to begin next weekend.

Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com