State wrestling tournaments cap playoff week in local sports

The high school sports schedule is in full playoff mode this week, and the weekend marks the pinnacle of the postseason for local wrestling teams.

All six local public high schools will send their qualified wrestlers to the same place this weekend – Salem Civic Center – for the simultaneously run Group 1A/2A/3A/4A state tournaments scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Strasburg (2A) and Warren County (3A) will send seven wrestlers each to the state tournament, while Central (2A), Sherando (4A) and Skyline (3A) each qualified two wrestlers during this past weekend’s regional competitions.

Strasburg, led by regional champions Kyle Sisk, Dylan Campbell, Ethan Duckworth and Josh Pritchett, placed second in the Region 2A East tournament behind longtime rival Clarke County, which will send nine to Salem.

“We’ve got seven good ones going down,” Rams coach Mike Wood said. “Grundy’s gonna be loaded. Maybe us and Clarke can work together and knock some them off, make it a little more even. We’ll see.”

Warren County is coming off a third-place team finish in the Region 3A East tournament this past weekend, and the seven state-bound wrestlers – including defending state champ Zach Beckner – are a program record, according to head coach Matt Wadas.

“We can’t rest on this. We’ve gotta step it up and try to have medalists, you know, top four medal,” Wadas said. “I would say the goal is get as many medals as we can get now.”

Sherando’s John Borst is one of three local wrestlers returning to Salem for a shot at a second state title, along with Beckner and Strasburg’s Austin Cooper.

Prior to this weekend, however, several local hoops teams will be in action, some with regional tournament berths on the line.

Central’s girls basketball team, which has already locked up at least one home game in the Region 2A East tournament beginning Friday, kicks off the week on Monday when the Falcons (19-2) host George Mason (14-6) in the Conference 35 tournament championship at 7 p.m. The two teams split two regular season meetings.

“We went 19-2 in the regular season. We can throw that 19-2 out the door, because now here’s where you really want to be good — is in the postseason,” Central coach Bryan Scott said after Saturday’s conference semifinal win over Strasburg. “We’re off to a 1-0 start in the postseason. Securing that home court advantage is big. I’d like to finish it off on Monday and go to regionals as a No. 1 seed.”

On Tuesday, Skyline’s boys basketball team travels to top-seeded Culpeper County for the Conference 28 semifinals, while Sherando’s boys (at Handley, 7 p.m.) and girls (at Woodgrove, 6 p.m.) hit the road for the Conference 21 West semis for a chance to appear in Thursday’s conference finals.

Warren County’s girls travel to William Monroe on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. Conference 28 semifinal matchup.

Also on Wednesday, Central, Stonewall Jackson and Strasburg swim teams will compete in the joint Group 1A/2A state meet in Christiansburg for the first day of a two-day event scheduled to continue Thursday.

On Friday, Central’s boys (at R.E. Lee) and Strasburg’s girls (at Wilson Memorial) will travel for the first round of the Region 2A East basketball tournament. The Conference 28 basketball championships are also scheduled for Friday.

Sherando will compete in the Group 4A state swim meet in Richmond on Saturday.

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