Rams top field at Strasburg Duals

STRASBURG – Strasburg’s wrestling team wanted to make a statement at their home Strasburg Duals this weekend. The Rams did just that.

Strasburg rolled through its first four matches of the day on Saturday, then capped its impressive display by holding on to beat Bull Run District rival Clarke County, 39-36, in its final match of the day. The Rams ended the day 5-0, topping the 10-team field comprised primarily of Region 2A East schools.

“We had a goal ever since Wednesday, that was to come out here and show the teams that we mean something because we’ve been in a little slump lately,” Rams sophomore Dylan Campbell said. “Especially that Clarke County win, that was a big win for us because they beat us last time. We just wanted to come out here and show them that we’re not going to lay down even though they beat us.”

Strasburg and Clarke County each entered the final match on Saturday with a perfect 4-0 record, with the Rams seeking to avenge a loss to the Eagles back on Dec. 17.

A Clarke County forfeit at 113 pounds and a pin by Eagles sophomore Bayne Gordon at 120 tied the match at 6-6 before Strasburg staked a 9-6 edge after Campbell earned a 1-0 win over Brendan Ciaburri in the 126-pound bout, a match that lasted the full four overtime periods.

Campbell and Ciaburri each went scoreless for the entirety of their match. After failing on a couple of occasions to earn an escape point during the overtime periods, Campbell won the coin flip prior to the final period and opted for the top position.

Campbell was able to keep Ciaburri on the mat for the 30-second period, earning the win and a lead for the Rams in the process.

“My goal was to get out on bottom and I couldn’t do it. He kept locking up my ankle,” said Campbell, who was one of seven Rams to go unbeaten on Saturday.

“I rode him out all third period. I rode him out in ride out. Once I saw it landed on mine I chose top because I knew I could ride him out.”

Nic Campbell, a three-time state champion, followed his younger brother’s win with a first-period pin over Jaxon Ottobre in the 132-pound match, giving Strasburg a 15-6 lead.

“I knew that I just had to go out there and get bonus points,” said Nic Campbell, who had four pins on Saturday. “It’s pretty much like we have jobs and if we don’t do them then we might not have [won].

“I just had to go out there and do my job. Getting that pin, I knew it was going to come, I just didn’t know when.”

Clarke County responded with a pin by Ian Dors at 138, but Strasburg got another big boost in the 145-pound bout from Bradlee Hodson.

Hodson earned his fourth pin of the day against Clarke County, as he was able to get Patrick Cleary on his back for a fall in the first period to extend the Rams’ lead to 21-12.

“We stepped it up big time today, not only against Clarke but against Riverheads, Wilson [Memorial],” Hodson said. “We wrestled like we usually do, strong.

“I think it’s definitely going to help us because some of us need that confidence boost.”

Strasburg’s Hunter Dean earned a win via forfeit at 152 before the Eagles reeled off four straight wins to take a 30-27 lead. Clarke County notched two pins during the run, but the Rams limited the damage as Randy Stokes (160) and Ethan Duckworth (170) were able to avoid being pinned in a pair of losses by decision.

The two teams traded forfeits over the final three bouts, with Kyle Sisk’s win via forfeit at 106 – the final match – giving Strasburg, last season’s Group 2A state runner-up, the 39-36 win.

“The thing with Clarke County, I’ll take the win [but] the guys know they had a starter [Mark Alexander] out. We’re banged up a little. It’s not 100 percent true feel of what it could be,” Rams coach Mike Wood said. “We’ll take the win but I know and they know that we’re going to see them probably two more times [in duals] down the road and they’ll probably be full strength. So we’re going to have to wrestle better. Our problem with them is we give them too many bonus points up top [in the upper weights].”

Strasburg’s win over Clarke County capped an impressive day on the mat for the Rams, who picked up runaway wins over Buffalo Gap (69-3), Riverheads (68-6), Wilson Memorial (52-15) and 4A Heritage-Leesburg (70-6). Buffalo Gap, Clarke County, Riverheads and Wilson Memorial were all top-12 finishers at last season’s Group 2A state tournament.

Sisk (three pins), Austin Cooper (113 pounds), Dylan Campbell, Nic Campbell, Hodson, Dean and Josh Pritchett (220) all finished 5-0 for the Rams on Saturday.

Dean, a two-time state champ, wrestled bumped up a weight class to 152 on Saturday in order to wrestle some tougher competition, including Buffalo Gap’s Ian Robbie, a state runner-up at 138 pounds last season.

“The other matches, those are teams that we’re all going to see at regionals, so I’m pretty happy to be dominant, especially over Wilson because they’ve got some key guys that could stop us from advancing guys to states,” Wood said. “We got some wins there that I was pretty happy with.”

Stonewall Jackson didn’t have nearly the same success as Strasburg on Saturday, as the Generals lost all five of their matches. Stonewall dropped meetings with Maggie Walker (42-24), Heritage (57-21), Madison County (57-24), Rappahannock County (40-30) and Clarke County (54-22).

“We’ve got a lot to learn, that’s the only thing I can say,” Generals head coach Jerry Franklin said.

“They’re all showing a little bit of improvement but like I told them just a minute ago, we’ve only got but four more weeks and then it doesn’t matter after that.”

Junior Kyle Cowart was one of the few bright spots for the Generals, as he finished 4-1 on the day with three pins. His lone loss came to Heritage’s Davis, a 7-4 decision.

“I got beat up. I’m tired. I guess I wrestled well,” said Cowart, who was sick with strep throat earlier this week. “I just kind of wrestled how I could.

“The second match really hurt me. [Davis was tough].”

Freshmen Caleb Fauver (145) and Dakota Bush (285) and sophomore Jose Garcia-Salas each finished 3-2 for Stonewall on Saturday.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com