Wildcats roll through Eagles in district dual

Warren County's Zach Beckner works on Clarke County's Bayne Gordon during wrestling action in the 126-pound class on Wednesday night in Front Royal. Beckner went on to win by a pin. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County junior wrestler Michael White says he can generally get a feel for his opponent’s strength during the pre-match handshake.

A quick grasp of Clarke County junior Patrick Cleary’s hand before their 160-pound bout in Wednesday’s Bull Run District dual match told White all he needed to know.

“I got a feel of him and I was like, ‘All right, this guy’s gonna be a little strong,'” White would say afterward.

Cleary tried to use that strength with a pair of takedown attempts in the first period, but each time White sprawled to stuff the attempt and countered by gaining control of Cleary and earning two points of his own. Following Cleary’s second failed shot at a takedown, White picked up the pin to help the Wildcats pull away from the defending Group 2A state champion Eagles, 62-15.

Cleary’s second takedown attempt came right on the heels of his escape from White’s grasp with 1:15 left in the first period.

Warren County's Kevin Cruz gets set to pin Clarke County's A.J. Prochaska during the 113-pound weight class during wrestling on Wednesday night in Front Royal. Cruz pinned Prochaska in 17 seconds. Rich Cooley/Daily

“He got out, shot again and this time he got in really deep and the only thing I could think was lock under his legs and hold on,” White said. “… His head came around on top and I had the leg and I was thinking, ‘Oh my, Peterson (Roll) right here.’ Wrapped my arm around, just flipped him over the side. I wasn’t expecting to pin him but as soon as I heard the ref hit the mat I was like, ‘Oh boy.'”

White’s pin, which came at 1:21 and gave the Wildcats a 22-9 lead after six matches, was one of six pins for Warren County in the dual.

Wildcats junior Seth Jacobs immediately followed White with his 14th pin of the season, as he was awarded the victory by fall over Hunter Fiddler at 170 pounds, a result Warren County coach Matt Wadas admitted was something “we weren’t kind of expecting.”

Jacobs and Fiddler kept the bout standing with a lot of hand fighting throughout the first period.

“I don’t have enough strength to really compete, and so I have to wait for technique opportunities, which there weren’t really any,” said Jacobs, who added he’s still getting used to his higher 170-pound designation. “I can try to shoot but he’s too strong, he’ll stop me. And so I had to kind of wait until that change in position which was more beneficial to me.”

Clarke County's Timothy Stokes has temporary control of Warren County's Conner Jost during the 145-pound class during wrestling action on Wednesday night in Front Royal. Jost defeated Stokes in the match. Rich Cooley/Daily

That change came at the start of the second period, when Fiddler deferred his choice of position to Jacobs, who chose bottom. Jacobs scored a reversal 38 seconds into the second period before notching the fall with 58 seconds left in the frame.

“He also almost rolled me over at one point but (I was) looking for that one move, it’s called a Peterson – that little grab the arm, grab the leg and roll – that’s kind of one of my go-to moves when I’m on bottom,” Jacobs said. “Really having done that in practice over and over again helped get that edge to roll him and then just had to find a way to lean him down and get those shoulders to touch.”

A Clarke County forfeit at 182 gave the Wildcats a 34-9 lead before Eagles sophomore Bryan Wallace – last year’s 2A 182-pound state champ – pinned Zach Smith in the second period to cut Warren County’s lead to 34-15.

However, sophomore D.J. Almarode came right back with a first-period pin of William McLean – whom Almarode had beaten in similar fashion in last Saturday’s Warren County Invitational – in the 220-pound bout to lock up the win for the Wildcats, giving them a 40-15 lead with four matches remaining.

“I knew I needed to win for the team tonight, so I did it,” Almarode said of his 15th pin of the season. “(Wrestling against McLean on Saturday) helped a lot. I basically knew exactly what he was gonna do.”

Warren County's Michael White controls Clarke County's Patrick Cleary during their 160-pound match on Wednesday night in Front Royal. White defeated Cleary. Rich Cooley/Daily

Wildcats senior Zach Beckner, last year’s 3A 113-pound state champion, got things started in strong fashion Wednesday in the match-opening 126-pound bout against good friend and two-time defending 2A 120-pound state champ Bayne Gordon.

Beckner, who has never lost to Gordon, gave the Wildcats an early 6-0 lead with his second-period pin.

“He’s always a tough opponent,” Beckner said. “I always go out there and expect him to go after me because I have been fortunate enough to be the one who comes out on top more than not in our rivalry, but that’s just more drive for him to wanna come after me harder. Like tonight he came out firing away, but I just tried to slow it down and treat him like any other opponent.

“I didn’t actually expect to pin him because he’s a tough kid to pin,” he added.

Eagles senior Brendan Ciaburri halved Warren County’s lead with a 2-0 win over freshman Bobby Hunger at 132 before a Clarke forfeit and Connor Jost’s 10-1 major decision over Timmy Stokes at 138 pushed the Wildcats’ lead to 16-3. Jost earned an extra point for Warren County when he scored a reversal and two near-fall points in the final 15 seconds of the bout after leading 6-1.

William Heath’s pin for Clarke County over Wyatt Gill at 152 pounds pulled the Eagles within 16-9 before White’s pin.

Warren County sophomore Nathan Johnson pinned Alex Broome in 59 seconds in the heavyweight match, and Wildcats junior Kevin Cruz needed just 17 seconds to pin A.J. Prochaska at 113 pounds. Freshman Ian Brannock capped Warren County’s win with a 14-4 major decision over Emmett Maiberger at 120 pounds.

“I think the whole team did well tonight,” Wadas said. “I think they rode off the momentum a little bit. We got a couple wins and once you get a couple going (it builds).”

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