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Swink sweeps Strasburg Duals competition

STRASBURG – For the last two years Strasburg High School’s 120-pound wrestler, Brandon Swink, has not lost a match at the Rams’ annual duals at their gymnasium.

Swink, who finished fourth individually last year in the Group 2A state tournament, kept his mark unblemished in his school’s invitational Saturday by swamping the field in his weight class.

As a team, Swink & Co., finished 3-2 for the day  – good enough for third place behind Derry (Pennsylvania) and Greenbrier East of West Virginia.

Greenbrier East won the team championship medal via criteria over Derry in a match that went to a tiebreaker.

Derry is “one of the better 2A teams in Pennsylvania,” said Strasburg coach Mike Wood.

The Ram boss should know. He coached 10 years at Derry and his former assistant is the head coach, now.

“That’s why I scheduled them,” Wood said.

But neither Derry nor Greenbrier East could provide a wrestler who overcame Swink.

“If you remember the (2015) state championship, they had to cut it short and wrestle everybody on the same day,” said Wood.

Wood said Swink wrestled the No. 1 man in the 120-pound realm. Swink said he lost 3-2.

But because weather concerns chopped the ’15 state tournament in half, Swink was unable to wrestle back.

Then came ’16’s fourth place state medal.

“As a freshman, the kid I was wrestling – I could have beaten him,” said Swink. “I had a takedown, but it didn’t count.”

This season it appears the junior is back on a successful plain. Interestingly, he has kept weight for three straight years.

“Next year, I’m just going to wrestle at whatever weight I am,” said Swink.

Thus far the wrestler has championed a field at an event at Wilson Memorial High School, finished fourth at the West Virginia Army National Guard tourney in West Virginia among 33 teams. A year ago he was the Bull Run District champion in his weight class.

As for this year, Swink has his eye on the upcoming Shenandoah County match, Bull Run District championships and then a conference and state classic run.

For now, Wood is keeping is eye on the Conference 35 finals in a couple of weeks.

“Really, this week coming up is the first time we’ve been healthy all year,” said Wood. “We’re still getting guys back from sickness and injury and some other things.”

“This year we’ve had stuff come up, but we’re keeping focused on what’s ahead. It will work out,” Swink said.

The Rams are 25-7 in duals so far.

Wood has scheduled strongly this winter in order to get a solid performance in the postseason. He has taken his team everywhere from Greenbrier County, West Virginia, to Hampton in search of stiffer meets.

“I would hazard to say that we participate in maybe the best schedule of any of the schools in Winchester, Shenandoah County and Augusta County,” the coach said.

Strasburg lost to Greenbrier East here 42-30, then dumped Turner Ashby 69-6 in the second round.

The Rams lost to Derry 49-18, but came back to douse Wilson Memorial 49-18.

Strasburg took part in the Hornet Duals at Wilson Memorial earlier in the season and won the tournament.

“We’ll just have to see how far we go in the district, but the thing I’m looking for is getting ready for the conference. That’s when we have to be our best,” said Wood.

“We’re a good individual team. When we’re in situations like that, we can be successful,” said Swink.

The Rams are built around seniors Dylan Campbell, Austin Cooper, Ethan Duckworth and Josh Pritchett. That trio has accounted for 128 victories over the last three years. They happen to be in their fourth year under Wood, who took over the program when they were freshmen.

“One hundred wins for anybody is a lot, but we have well over that,” Wood said.

Contact Jim Laise at sports@nvdaily.com