Experienced Warriors trounce Hawks in district dual

STEPHENS CITY – On a night when Sherando High School’s wrestling team recognized its eight seniors, the Warriors’ experience on the mat shone through.

Hosting Skyline in a Northwestern District dual Wednesday night, Sherando rolled through the Hawks for a 63-15 victory. The seniors who competed for the Warriors went 5-1, with all five victories coming via pin in the first period.

“We were really pleased with the way our senior leaders approached their matches,” Sherando head coach Pepper Martin said. “(They) went out there and went on the attack on the feet, got takedowns, broke people down and turned them and pinned them. They set a nice example tonight for our younger wrestlers to try to emulate.”

It was Skyline that notched the first victory of the evening, as Hawks junior Brandon Doffermire steadily built a 10-3 lead over Sherando senior Jacob Walters in the opening 138-pound bout before securing a pin in the third period. But Sherando then reeled off six consecutive victories – including four pins – to put the match firmly in the Warriors’ control.

Senior Curtis Guthridge got things rolling for the Warriors with first-period pin against Jacob Grady in the 145-pound matchup to tie the match at 6-all, and classmate James Platts immediately followed with his own first-period pin at 152 to give Sherando the lead.

“You’ve gotta do it, you’ve gotta go out there and get the next one,” Platts said of following Guthridge’s fall.

Platts’ match with Skyline junior Tyrelle Robinson remained standing for the first minute of action before Platts scored a takedown with 55 seconds left. He nailed down the pin and a 12-6 Warriors lead 19 seconds later.

“He was pretty quick and he was pretty good on his feet but I kept watching for him to step,” Platts said. “He was stepping with the same leg really hard so I wrestled from open and I went ahead and shot in and he sprawled on me. I caught his leg and I was gonna roll through with it and get behind him but I looked up and his head was right there, so I took it and I got it in deep and slowly walked it over.”

Mikeal Neff picked up an 8-3 decision over Skyline’s Alden Murphy at 160 before Kendall Helsley, another Sherando senior, picked up his own pin in the 170-pound match.

Helsley said the Warriors were simply feeding off the momentum started by Guthridge.

“It starts getting the momentum rolling a little bit. … Especially since he is a senior,” Helsley said. “And then it was James and he pinned his kid, so I was like I gotta go out there and match them at least.”

Helsley scored a takedown 10 seconds into his match against Asher Ammons and retained control throughout. After a pair of restarts, the last of which came with 33 seconds left in the first period, Helsley was finally able to get the pin with less than a second remaining on the clock.

Helsley said he kept trying to establish a half nelson after getting Ammons to the mat but had to abort his strategy.

“That wasn’t happening so once he got up I just kind of like scooped under, wrapped his arms to see if he’d fall over, which he did,” he said. “Then I just was able to put him right on his back.”

John Borst followed with a pin of his own in the final second of the first period of his 182-pound match with Hawks senior Joey Norman after building a sizeable 11-2 lead in the frame.

Skyline coach Matt Keel said he considered bumping Norman up a weight class but wanted him to have the experience of wrestling Borst, last year’s Group 4A 170-pound state champion, after the score began getting out of hand.

“John is a quality opponent, so that was by design there, help (Norman) prepare for the postseason,” Keel said.

A Skyline forfeit at 195 gave the Warriors a 33-6 lead before Hawks senior Chandler Heard broke Sherando’s run with a first-period pin of Zack Kales.

“Chandler has been wrestling for a month and half, man, so that was kind of cool,” Keel said.

A 12-second pin by Ben Avery over Joe Pingley at heavyweight, a second-period pin by Gavin Eanes over Lloyd Lacson at 106 and a Skyline forfeit at 113 gave Sherando a 51-12 lead.

Skyline junior Curt Boswell beat Anthony Damico 6-3 at 120 pounds before a 19-second pin by Sherando senior Mike Duffy over Talon Keel at 126 and a third-period fall by Jacob Stevens over Anthony Robledo at 132 capped the Warriors’ night.

“Curt Boswell has really been a consistent part of this team, so I’m really happy,” Keel said. “Right after his match was over he came over to see if I could open the room in the morning to get a workout in. That’s why that kid is constantly successful.”

Skyline returns to action tonight at home against cross-town rival Warren County for a 6 p.m. dual.

Sherando, seeking to make up for the loss of some matches due to the cancellation of this weekend’s Loudoun Valley Invitational, jumped at a chance to travel to Loudoun Valley this evening for a quad meet that also features Rock Ridge and 6A Westfield.

“We still were a little bit uneven in our overall performance as a team,” Martin said. “There were a few matches that we were a little disappointed in how we performed and executed because some of the wrestlers are those that are making the same mistakes. They’ve been corrected but they still come back and make the same mistakes and it’s costing them matches.”

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