Warriors’ Borst wins second state wrestling title
SALEM – It was a matchup Sherando junior John Borst was determined to make happen.
An offseason workout partner with Hanover’s T.J. Allen as the two prepared for last summer’s Cadet/Junior Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota, Borst learned his friend would be competing at 182 pounds during his final high school season, the same weight class Borst planned to occupy for Sherando this winter.
Borst then informed Allen, last year’s VHSL Group 4A 195-pound state champion and a Virginia Tech commit, that if and when the two met on the mat during the high school season, their friendship didn’t exist for those six minutes of wrestling time.
“And that can even be anybody. It could be my brother in all honesty,” Borst said at Saturday’s Group 4A state wrestling tournament at the Salem Civic Center. “I’ve got that mental attitude that once you’re on the mat against me there’s nothing that’s gonna stop me.”
Calling their offseason workouts a case of iron sharpening iron, Borst admitted that Allen was probably the better wrestler over the summer. But not even Allen could halt Borst’s march to his second VHSL state championship Saturday evening.
Borst, last year’s 170-pound champ, handled Allen to the tune of a 12-6 decision in the 182-pound final, placing the Sherando junior atop the podium for the second straight year.
“Winning twice is above and beyond anything I’ve ever felt in my life,” said Borst, who finished his junior season 57-2. “I’m thankful, I’m blessed with everything I’ve been given. Everything I’ve worked for finally paid off. That’s what this sport’s about, that’s what I love about it.”
Allen became just the second wrestler to take Borst down outside of the Beast of the East tournament, Borst said, with his takedown in the first period that helped lead to a 3-3 tie after the first two minutes. Two Allen escapes sandwiched a Borst takedown in the first 45 seconds of the second period to tie the match at 5-all before Borst scored a decisive 4-point move, throwing Allen onto his back right into two back points for a 9-5 lead.
“I felt his weight shift and I realized that if I shifted my hips back – because the first time that’s how he scored. I didn’t get my hips down to the mat fast enough and he scored, scrambled out of it,” Borst said. “But once I got my hips down fast enough I put him on his back, and all the sudden he’s on his back and I was, ‘Well, here I am.’ So I took advantage of it and went after it.”
Borst scored an escape and another takedown with 1:38 left in the third period before Allen scored his final point with an escape in the final five seconds.
Sherando coach Pepper Martin said the win for Borst, who used a pin and a tech fall on Friday to reach the championship finals, could vault his star pupil into the Division I college recruiting spotlight.
“Up to this point … he was on the map of some of those potential schools and I think with a win like this, not only is his name now on the map, but it’s circled in red,” Martin said. “I think that a win like this against a quality opponent could maybe get some more schools interested in him wrestling for them.”
Borst was one of two Warriors to compete in the 4A state tournament, as senior Mike Duffy made his second trip to Salem. Duffy opened the tournament Friday with a quarterfinal victory but fell in the semifinals to Louisa’s Jeffrey Sisk, 8-4. He wrestled back for a chance at third place but fell to Fauquier’s Tyler Foster by first-period pin in Saturday’s consolation finals.
“Mike actually in the semifinals was right in the match but we missed a couple scoring opportunities and then he got behind and tried a desperation move at the end. That’s where the kid got two more points, it was only 6-4 at that point,” Martin said. “Mike, he’s done a lot for our program and he has a lot to be proud of with his high school wrestling career.”
Fauquier (114.5 points) topped runner-up Eastern View (101.5) for the 4A team championship.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org