Rams hold off Wildcats for title
By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL — Strasburg senior Tyler Drummond knew what was at stake. A victory in the 160-pound final over George Mason’s Grant Hagler would give the Rams the lead — and potentially the Bull Run District title.
“There was pressure there, but I like to forget about that stuff,” Drummond said of his 160-pound final. “It helps me.”
Forgetting about the pressure helped Drummond again as he beat Hagler, 4-0, and with it helped give Strasburg the team title at the Bull Run District wrestling tournament on Saturday.
Strasburg coach Mike Wood said he made sure Drummond was aware of the situation and was confident Drummond would respond well.
The match was close throughout, with Drummond holding a slight 2-0 lead after the first period. He stretched the lead to 4-0 in the second and held on for his second straight district title. Winning the district title for the team added a little something to the win.
“It’s pretty big,” Drummond said of the team title. “That was our main goal for the day — to win the team title. It feels pretty good.”
The Rams finished with 186 points, while Warren County finished with 184.5 for second. The Wildcats had one last chance to win the team title, but came up short as Warren County’s Jacob Schneider lost 4-1 to Clarke County’s Ben Wallace in the 170-pound final.
Warren County put the pressure on the Rams early in the finals as the trio of Zach Beckner, Tyler Barisciano and Terrace Thompson each won their matches, two of them by pin.
Beckner pinned Clarke County’s Bayne Gordon in 3:35 top win the title at 106. Beckner is undefeated on the season.
“My coach just kept telling me, ‘You need get him on his back. You need to keep him on his back, because you need to pin him because we need pin points.’ So I did that — I tried to,” Beckner said.
Barisciano followed by pinning William Monroe’s Patrick Gehman in 2:27 for the 113-pound title.
Thompson followed that with an 8-0 major decision over Strasburg’s Eric Reynolds for the 120-pound title.
“It wasn’t how I wanted it to end,” Thompson said. “I was going for a pin straight from the beginning, but some kids are a little tougher to keep on their back. I just tried my best to pin him.”
The Rams then responded with two straight titles. Strasburg junior Nic Campbell won by major decision over Manassas Park’s Zac Treuting, 8-0.
Campbell, a two-time defending state champion, is undefeated this season and struggled to score points early in the match.
“I faced him in like mid-January and I pinned him in the first period, so I was expecting that to happen again,” Campbell said. “The first period didn’t go my way. I was only up 2-0. I couldn’t really turn him, it took me a little bit. I knew if I kept on working on him eventually by the third period he would just be gassed out, because our conditioning is probably one of the best in the state.
“So I knew it was a matter of time before I got some points.”
Dean defeated an old rival in Manassas Park’s Gilbert Rodriguez, 6-2, to win the 132-pound title. Dean said he had lost to Rodriguez in all three meetings they’ve had the last three years. The pair had not faced each other this season.
Dean led 3-0 heading into the final period, but Rodriguez quickly cut the lead to 3-2. Dean was able to stretch the lead back to 4-2, and then scored on a takedown late to seal the win.
“That’s the first time I’ve beat him, so I’m pretty happy about that,” Dean said. “I think my conditioning was a little better than his. He was tired at the end there, and we’ve been working pretty hard on our conditioning this year. So that was a big factor.
“It was pretty close, but it feels good to come out with a win, finally.”
Strasburg’s Marco Gallagher was pinned by William Monroe’s Kyle Biesecker in 2:37 in the 145-pound final. Warren County’s Tristan Ward, who entered the tournament as a six-seed, lost a 12-0 major decision to Rappahannock County’s Dylan Hit in the 152-pound final.
Central’s Jacob Ingham had the most dramatic win of the day. Ingham trailed 1-0 late in his 182-pound title match to Rappahannock County’s David Smoot.
With 10 seconds left, Ingham took a 2-1 lead and quickly traded two points each with Smoot in the closing seconds. When the match was over, the referee mistakenly raised Smoot’s hand as the victor.
“When I saw that his hand was raised and I thought he was up on points it was really discouraging, because coming from when I was a freshman I didn’t win a single match, and I trained all summer and all semester just to get here,” Ingham said.
Ingham said thinking he had lost and then finding out minutes later that he had won, made the win even sweeter.
“It adds to it because I had to go through the whole process of defeat and then to be given to me like that — it felt even better,” Ingham said. “It felt awesome. It felt better than any win I’ve ever gotten before.”
Central’s Thomas Peacemaker lost in the 138-pound final to Manassas Park’s Fabian Rodriguez, 8-4. The Falcons finished eighth as a team with 69 points.
The Falcons and the Wildcats will participate in the Conference 28 tournament next weekend at Skyline.
“This was excellent [preparation] — great teams, great event,” Warren County coach Matt Wadas said. “I feel like my kids are really ready for the postseason now. We’re going from great team to hit another great team in Skyline. This will sort of prepare us to make a run at them.”
Strasburg will participate and host the Conference 35 tournament next weekend.
It was only the third time in 14 years that the Rams have won the Bull Run District title, and Wood said he was very proud of his squad.
“One thing I can say about these guys they’ve worked hard,” Wood said. “I can categorize them on one word — consistent. We’ve been consistent all year. We’ve been consistently good.”
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd