Wildcats win Conference 28 crown Saturday
ASHBURN — No one was more surprised than John Coffron about his performance in the Conference 28 wrestling tournament on Saturday at Rock Ridge High School.
The fifth-seeded Warren County junior knocked off three of the top four seeds en route to winning 126-pound championship.
“I think what it was, is, I’ve been trying really hard to improve, and I think that this was just the top of the mountain for me,” Coffron said. “It’s really cool.”
Coffron was one of eight Warren County wrestlers in the finals, as the Wildcats cruised to the Conference 28 title. Warren County finished with 245.5 points, while Skyline was second with 212 points.
“This is exciting,” Warren County coach Matt Wadas said. “I think we were the underdogs coming in, so any time you have the underdogs pulling an upset it’s pretty exciting. The boys wrestled well — that’s all I can say.”
Wadas said he didn’t talk about placing with his wrestlers all week. He just told them to try to advance to regionals. The top four finishers advanced to next week’s Region 3A East tournament at New Kent High School.
Coffron beat fourth-seeded Adam Cerow, from Rock Ridge, 6-5 in the first round. Coffron then beat top-seeded Alex Galvan, of Loudoun Valley, in the semifinals by pin at 4:56. Coffron said he didn’t know Galvan was the top seed until after the match, but it gave him confidence for the final.
Coffron then beat third-seeded Ethan Vicario, of John Champe, 4-1 in the 126-final. Coffron trailed 1-0 early in the second period, but took the lead midway through the second and held on for the win.
“A lot of my matches are close,” Coffron said. “This is the biggest thing I’ve really ever done. This is actually the first time I’ve medaled at all. It’s pretty awesome.”
Warren County’s Zach Beckner won the title at 113 with a 15-3 major decision over Skyline’s Justin Cornwell.
“Overall, I think I wrestled well,” Beckner said. “I think I could have wrestled better, but getting to the point where you don’t have a whole lot of time for improvements. You just got to go out there and give it everything you got on the mat.”
Warren County’s Brett Binnix captured the title at 106 pounds. He defeated Loudoun Valley’s Andrew Crickenberger by pin in 4:51.
“I was up the whole entire match,” Binnix said. “I was feeling really good. I felt like a pin would have just been the perfect ending.”
Skyline also had three champions: Noah Goss (138), Josiah Huston (170) and Gerren Butler (285).
Butler had the closest call of the three finals. Butler, who was seeded second, said he was surprised that top-seeded Elijah Boldin, of John Champe, didn’t make the final. Butler said he took William Monroe’s Austin Rath a little lightly in the final, which Butler won 9-4.
“I went out in that match a little arrogant and it almost cost me,” Butler said of the final. “I just had to fight back and fight the way I normally fight, and fight with a chip on my shoulder.”
The match was tied 4-4 with a little over a minute left. Butler was able to score five points in the last 30 seconds to pull out the win.
“I had to pick it up and come back,” Butler said. “And show everybody that I’m the same wrestler with the same attitude, with the chip on his shoulder that doesn’t want to lose any matches for the rest of the season.”
Goss also had a tough battle on his hands in the final at 138 against Loudoun Valley’s Cade Kiely.
Goss held a slim 4-3 lead in the third period. After being called for stalling for a second time, Goss had a decision to make for the last 1:25 of the match.
“I thought I might as well go neutral, “ Goss said. “I knew that my neutral defense was strong enough where I could have fought him off, and I knew I wasn’t going to give up a takedown, especially the last minute-and-a-half of the match. … So I took my chances and it paid off.”
Huston had not faced Warren County’s Jacob Schneider in a high school match since last year’s conference final. Huston took a 3-1 lead on an escape to start the third period, and held on for a 5-1 win over Schneider.
“He’s a really good opponent,” Huston said. “I knew I had to bring my ‘A’ game out to go beat him. So I just did that. He fought hard. He’s a real good wrestler. I’m just happy that I wrestled smart throughout that match.”
Warren County and Skyline combined to have at least one wrestler in 13 of the 14 finals. John Champe’s Elijah Bryant beat Skyline’s Brandon Doffermire, 8-1, in the 132 final. John Champe’s Devyn Kreb beat Warren County’s Tyler Shanholtz, 5-0, at 145, and John Champe’s Pedram Samipous pinned Warren County’s Tristan Ward at 2:56 in the 152 final.
John Champe’s Andrew Andrade major-decisioned Skyline’s Luke Naccash, 14-3, in the 160-pound final. Rock Ridge’s Griffin Oberg defeated Warren County’s Nathan Johnson, 5-4, at 182, and William Monroe’s Mark Sizemore beat Skyline’s Keith Sanker, 8-3, in the 195-pound final. Loudoun Valley’s Markanthony Quintana beat Warren County’s Daniel Almarode, 7-3, in a battle of freshmen at 220 pounds.
The Wildcats and Hawks each sent 13 wrestlers to regionals. Central will have only junior Colton Lecraw in next week’s regionals, after his fourth-place finish at 120 pounds.
Central coach Michael Sanders said he felt Lecraw could have done better, but he’s pleased that he’s going to regionals.
“We have to get ready for next week, that’s all we can do,” Sanders said. “You have to move past it, fix the mistakes and try to get ready for regionals.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com