Wildcats’ Beckner wins third regional championship

Warren County's Zach Beckner has his hand raised after a victory on day one of the Region 3A East wrestling tournament Friday at Skyline High School in Front Royal. Beckner won his third regional championship Saturday evening. Rich Cooley/Daily

Warren County senior Zach Beckner continued his march toward his ultimate goal in day two of the Region 3A East wrestling tournament Saturday at Skyline High School.

Beckner, in the midst of a season-long quest for his second straight Group 3A state title, took home his third regional crown with a victory in the 126-pound championship.

After picking up a win via forfeit and a pin on Friday to advance to Saturday’s semifinal round, Beckner pinned York freshman Luke Grubb in the first period of his semifinal bout to reach the finals. In the championship round, Beckner needed two minutes, 37 seconds to pin Tabb’s William Speight to claim the title.

“This is one step towards his goal,” Wildcats coach Matt Wadas said. “It’s not the goal yet, obviously we want that state title but this was definitely a big step and to pin in the region finals so dominantly, that was big for him. It was a good day, wrestled well and we’re gonna be on to the next step.”

Beckner was one of three Warren County wrestlers to reach the regional championship finals, as sophomore Connor Jost (145 pounds) and senior Zach Smith (195) also accomplished the feat.

The Wildcats (206 points) finished third in the team race while Brentsville, who beat Warren County in the Conference 28 tournament last week, narrowly topped runner-up Poquoson 221.5-221. Warren County qualified seven wrestlers – a program record according to Wadas – for next weekend’s Group 3A tournament at Salem Civic Center, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Jost, who rode a major decision and two pins into the final round, was pinned in three minutes in the 145-pound championship bout by Brentsville’s Kyle Ritz, who beat Jost 7-4 in the Conference 28 championship last week.

Smith was pinned by Poquoson’s Robert Henesey in the 195-pound championship after reaching the finals by way of a pin and two decision victories.

“Both guys really, really had good days. Connor definitely, beating a one seed to get in and Zach Smith beating a one seed to get in, I mean that was big for us,” Wadas said. “We finished third by like a point over New Kent so I mean every single point ended up counting. That was big. That was our best region finish in the last eight or nine years.”

Joining Beckner, Jost and Smith at the state tournament will be freshman Hunter Jost, junior Kevin Cruz, senior Jacob Schneider and sophomore Nathan Johnson.

Schneider (182) and Johnson (285), both conference champs, placed third in their respective weight classes in the regional tournament Saturday, as did Cruz (113). Hunter Jost was fourth in the 106-pound class.

Beckner and Schneider will each make their third state tournament appearance.

Skyline, which finished 11th out of the 22 teams with 60 points, will send two wrestlers to the state tournament. Junior Brandon Doffermire finished in fourth place at 138 pounds, while senior 182-pounder Joey Norman also finished in fourth. Both will make their first state tournament appearance.

Region 4A West tournament
Sherando qualified two individuals for the Group 4A state wrestling tournament during Saturday’s Region 4A West tournament – Mike Duffy and John Borst.

Borst, last year’s 170-pound state champ, won the 182-pound regional championship with a first-period pin of Woodgrove’s Kyle Branch. Borst pinned his way through the tournament in times of 0:31, 0:56, 0:31 and 1:22.

Duffy was the 126-pound regional runner-up, as he fell to Fauquier’s Tyler Foster in the championship final.

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