Four Rams win regional titles in second-place team finish
STRASBURG — It was definitely a bittersweet day for Strasburg on Saturday.
The Rams had four wrestlers win regional titles, but they came up a point short as a team. Clarke County edged out Strasburg 126-125 to win the regional title.
Strasburg had six wrestlers in the finals, but had no one else advance to next week’s Group 2A state tournament, while the Eagles will send 10. The Rams went 0-5 in the consolation semifinals.
“This year was the year to get a state title, and our team knew that,” Strasburg senior Nic Campbell said. “we just didn’t perform when it mattered. They wrestled good all year. I don’t know what happened.”
Campbell won the regional title at 132 pounds, his fourth straight. His brother, Dylan, won the title at 126 pounds, while Kyle Sisk won at 106 and Hunter Dean won at 145 pounds. It was Dean’s third straight regional title.
Strasburg’s Nic Campbell stayed perfect at the regional level, and pinned Clarke County’s Brendon Ciaburri in 1:22. He said last week he beat Ciaburri by tech fall in the final seconds of the third period.
“I didn’t know what period I was going to pin him in this time, and it just so happened I got him quick and over with in the first,” Nic Campbell said. “It helped out our team a lot. I knew I had to get bonus points.”
He said it was also nice to stay perfect at the regional level. Next week he will try for his fourth state championship.
“[Former Strasburg wrestling standout] Sean Hall, I think he was the only other person to do that,” Nic Campbell said of his fourth region title. “It’s a pretty [big] accomplishment. I’m proud of that.”
Dean also had some pressure on him as he went for his third in a row. Dean beat Robert E. Lee’s Ian Fox by tech fall, 15-0.
“He was really strong,” Dean said of the final. “I turned him a couple times, but I just couldn’t get the pin. I was going for a pin, [Strasburg] coach [Mike Wood] wanted me to get as man bonus points as I could, but he’s just a pretty tough kid.
“It’s nice to get my third regional title. I wouldn’t say it’s expected of us, but there’s a lot of pressure on Nic [Campbell] and I to continue doing what we do. It feels good to not disappoint everyone.”
Sisk and Dylan Campbell each won their first regional title. Sisk took an early 2-0 lead on Maggie Walker’s Joe Paul and held on for a 4-0 victory in the 106-pound final.
“I went out there to try to get bonus points [for the team],” Sisk said. “I didn’t get any bonus points, but I’m still happy that I won. …I stopped his first move a lot. I let him get to my legs a lot, but he didn’t finish so I was happy with that. I just wanted to come out here and win for the home crowd.”
Dylan Campbell had the toughest win for the Rams in the finals. The sophomore trailed 4-0 to King William’s Kevin Overstreet in the first period. He was able to tie the match by the end of the second period.
“I got down pretty early and just really had to fight out of a hole,” Dylan Campbell said. “I just told myself I have to start going. I gotta start working, start moving faster, doing better moves — and I did it.”
He was able to take a 6-4 edge with 1:18 left in the third period, and held on for the 7-4 victory.
“I felt confident once we got tied back up at 4-4,” Dylan Campbell said. “I knew I was going to win, because he was getting tired, he was stalling. I kept going. I was ready to go.”
Wood said it was a really good win for Dylan Campbell.
“I think they had Overstreet ranked one or two in the state,” Wood said. “For him to go down 4-0, but then battle his way back and really dominate on top that was really good to see him do that. Especially since he’s always had a little bit of trouble with more physical wrestlers in the past. He’s starting to turn the corner there, which is good to see.”
Strasburg sophomore Austin Cooper lost to Clarke County’s Cody Schneeman, 9-2, in the 113-pound final. Clarke County’s Bayne Gordon pinned Strasburg freshman Brandon Swink in 2:13 in the 120-pound final.
The Rams led the Eagles by 4.5 points entering the finals, but Clarke County won five of their seven finals. Clarke County’s Logan Withers pinned East Rockingham’s Chraitian Munoz in the 195-pound final to clinch the title for the Eagles.
Stonewall Jackson junior Kyle Cowart was the only General to advance to next week’s state tournament. Cowart finished third at 152 pounds, including a tough 5-3 win over Strasburg’s Bradlee Hodson in the consolation semifinals.
It is the second straight state appearance for Cowart.
“I’m excited to go back,” Cowart said. “I feel like I wrestled well. I didn’t make as many mistakes as I usually do.”
Even though the Rams are only taking six wrestlers to the state tournament they feel good about what they can do next weekend.
“Even though we are taking six to state, us six, we can make things possible. We can do the impossible,” Sisk said. “I think that us six, that are going down to states, we’re going to make a difference.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com