SALEM — Peyton Stickles advanced to the Class 2 wrestling state finals for the second straight year, but came up short of his goal once again.
The Strasburg sophomore lost Saturday in the Class 2, 120-pound final to Poquoson’s Patrick McCormick by pin at the 1:07 mark.
“He out-muscled me,” Stickles said. “He had the mindset he was going to kick my butt — and that’s what he did. I just went out there acting like I was going to just walk in there with a cakewalk — and I didn’t.”
Strasburg finished sixth as a team, despite having only six wrestlers in the tournament held at the Salem Civic Center.
Strasburg’s Jalen Burks (126 pounds) and Alec Campbell (145) each placed third. Strasburg’s Chase Hart was not able to wrestle Saturday due to a elbow injury, but still placed sixth.
Stickles said losing in the state finals two years in a row was very disappointing. He said he was happy with his performance on Friday.
“I did real good (Friday), I just couldn’t carry it over into (Saturday),” Stickles said. “This experience now helps me in the future.”
Strasburg coach Mike Wood said Stickles just needs to get over the hump to win a state title.
“He’s just got to get over that next hurdle,” Wood said. “It’s like running a race with hurdles, he can get past the first nine hurdles and then that 10th hurdle — he stumbles on a little bit. He’s a sophomore. He’s been in the state finals two years in a row — that’s consistency.”
Burks lost in the semifinals on Friday, but had little trouble Saturday in the consolation semifinals and finals.
The freshman pinned Arcadia’s Emmanual Zuniga in 4:55 in the consolation semis. In the third-place match, Burks beat Grayson County’s Garrett Herrington, 10-4.
“After (Friday), I was striving to get third,” Burks said. “There was no way I was not going to make top three. I felt I could have done better yesterday. Sometimes that’s the way it pans out.”
Burks said he was happy with the way his performance at the state tourney.
“(Saturday) I felt like I wrestled good,” Burks said. “(Friday) I felt like I wrestled good, but it was just that one match. And you’re going to have those mistakes sometimes.”
Campbell had a little tougher road to finishing third. The sophomore lost to Maggie Walker’s Joe Paul in the quarterfinals on Friday and had to win two matches later in the day, and then two more on Saturday.
“I was kind of discouraged, but I just knew that if i just wrestled I could end up getting third,” Campbell said.
Campbell said that his goal at the start of the season was to finish in the top four, and he was pleased with how he wrestled over the two days.
“I actually feel really good with how I wrestled,” Campbell said. “Despite the loss, I still feel like I wrestled great in that match too. He was just a really great kid.”
Central’s William Ball went 2-2 in the 170-pound matches on Friday.
Strasburg’s Austin Stickles (106) went 2-2 on Friday and teammate Javian Moore (182) went 0-2.
Poquoson won the team title 207 points, followed by Grayson County (101.5) and Clarke County (101).
Wood said that he was proud of how his young squad did this season.
“The guys that did place here, we’re talking three sophomores and a freshman are the ones that did get medals this year,” Wood said. “And then we had a junior, in Austin Stickles, that just missed it. Those 5 guys are back next year. Those 5 guys should be pushing for the finals next year. That takes us from one final to possibly to five maybe or four. And then we’re going to have some young freshmen on their heels that we got coming up next year.
“So our future’s really bright.”