Warren County cruises to Conference 28 crown
NOKESVILLE — Warren County coach Matt Wadas told his wrestlers not to worry about what they were seeded entering Saturday’s Conference 28 wrestling tournament. He wanted them to simply do their best and not have too many expectations and Wadas couldn’t have asked for anything more from his team’s results.
The Wildcats had 12 wrestlers in the final, and won six individual titles on their way to winning the Conference 28 team championship.
“This was something special, I have to say,” Wadas said. “These kids really responded to what we did, we had a great week of practice and I can’t be prouder. To wrestle higher than your seed is the best thing you can do in a wrestling tournament, and these kids did great.”
Warren County won the seven-team tournament with 267.5 points. Brentsville was second with 185 points, followed by Manassas Park (182), and Skyline (164) in fourth.
Warren County’s Dylan Becker (106 pounds), Bobby Hunger (132), Michael White (182), Jack Kilgallen (195), D.J. Almarode (220) and Nathan Johnson (285) each won a Conference 28 title. Skyline’s Tyrelle Robinson won the Conference 28 title at 152 pounds.
Becker avenged an earlier loss in the season to Skyline’s Brandon Ahlemann in the 106-pound final. Becker rallied from an early 5-0 deficit and won 7-5 in overtime.
“That was tough. He’s a really good wrestler I’m not going to lie,” Becker said. “Last time (we wrestled) I didn’t really treat it as a real match, but now I knew what he was going to do. So I just went at him and blocked all the moves he was good at.”
The freshman said that he almost was able to pin Ahlemann in their match a few weeks ago, so that gave him confidence going into the conference tournament match.
Becker scored 2 points with a defensive takedown in the final seconds of overtime to pick up the win.
Hunger also had a dramatic win. The sophomore trailed Brentsville’s Collin Brady 3-0 entering the final period and rallied for a 4-3 victory.
He cut the lead to 3-2 with 50 seconds left, and then was able to pick up the decisive two points in the final seconds.
“I cracked under his leg and I did this thing where you sink your arm in, and he tried to cradle,” Hunger said of his winning move. “But he pulled me the other way. So I rolled all the way back around and did kind of like a sit-out or peak out and it just kind of worked out. I knew I had the three, I knew I was up. I just held it.”
Skyline’s Robinson also had plenty of drama in his final at 152 pounds. Robinson defeated Manassas Park’s Bryan Talavera, 3-2, in double overtime.
He won in the second 30 seconds of double overtime with an escape, after not letting Talavera escape in the first 30 seconds of the overtime period.
“I guess I rode him pretty hard (in the first 30 seconds of overtime),” Robinson said. “My best thing is leg riding. Then I was on bottom and he can’t hold me down. So I got out and that was the match. All I had to do was not let him take me down.”
White pinned Manassas Park’s James Binstead in 5:16 in the 182-pound final.
“It feels great. It feels amazing,” White said. “I think he was getting tired. I was getting tired, but it’s that little bit of extra conditioning that we do in practice that gets us that far to win matches.”
Kilgallen beat Culpeper’s Robert Streightiff, 6-3, to win the title at 195 pounds.
The match was tied 3-3 entering the third period, but Kilgallen was able to surge ahead quickly with an escape and then finished it off with two more points with 30 seconds remaining.
“I feel like I wrestled smart that match,” Kilgallen said. “He was a really strong dude. He was fast. He had a good shot. I figured I should play defense, and I just used it to my advantage.”
Almarode won the 220-pound title by pinning Alexander Csontos in just 24 seconds.
“Going in, I was the No. 1 seed,” Almarode said. “I knew today wasn’t going to be much, but I still needed to wrestle my hardest to get ready for next week. So that’s what I did.”
The junior said the tournament win was even more special to him since he missed last season’s conference tournament due to a broken ankle.
Johnson defeated William Monroe’s Austin Rath, 5-1, to win the 285-pound title.
“That was a good match,” Johnson said. “I think that shows that I need to work a little harder. I need to work on my conditioning a little bit. It definitely revs me up for next weekend. I’m ready to take a shot at regionals.”
Warren County will send 13 wrestlers to next weekend’s Region 3A East tournament at New Kent High School. Skyline will have 1o wrestlers in regionals. The top four individuals from each weight class in the Conference 28 tournament advance to regionals, and the top six move on from regionals to the state tournament.
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org