Tigers fare well at Dudley Martin

NOKESVILLE — Brentsville junior Steven Yanchuck won the 215-pound weight class and was named team Most Valuable Player in leading the host Tigers to a second-place finish out of eight teams at the Dudley Martin Classic Saturday.

Senior Ben Truschel won the 135-pound division for Brentsville, while Cory Rudder won the 119-pound weight class for the Tigers, who lost out to Warren County for the second straight year. Warren County finished with 453 total team points to Brentsville’s 397.

Tigers coach Mark Smaltz said, despite a strong start for his team, a second-place finish was acceptable in his eyes.

“I would say they performed to all of the coaches’ expectations this weekend,” Smaltz said. “The first day was great, we won 42 of our total matches and only lost three. But today’s (Saturday’s) competition just seemed a lot tougher.”

Yanchuck said he thought his toughest match of the tournament came against Louisa High School’s Nick Thomas, who finished second in the 215-pound division.

“That kid definitely filled all 215 pounds,” Yanchuck said. “I only weigh 200 pounds, so giving up the extra 15 pounds was kind of hard. I just did what I felt I had to do though by controlling the pace in all of my matches.”

Truschel said he was pleased with his performance overall, but felt that mistakes were what caused Brentsville to fall on the second day.

“This was the first time I’ve been able to win in my four years wrestling in this tournament, so I’m glad I won,” Truschel said. “I still made some mistakes though, as did the rest of the team, and we have to learn from them. We just got pinned a lot when we shouldn’t have gotten pinned, and we also gave up a handicap at the heavyweight, which is six automatic points each time.”

Yanchuck said he thought, for the most part, the team did a good job, especially with pinning its opponents, which he (Yanchuck) said it normally doesn’t do.

“A lot of the lower weight classes did a good job of stepping it up this weekend,” Yanchuck said. “We really couldn’t ask for much more. The team also did a good job of pinning opponents this weekend, which hasn’t really been our forte this season. We usually like to try to grind it out a little bit more.”

Perhaps the match of the tournament came in the finals of the 145-pound weight class between Brentsville’s Jimmy Donovan and Warren County’s Kenault Lawrence. After finishing tied with three points apiece after the first three rounds, Donovan and Lawrence needed two extra periods to finish the match. Lawrence, who was named his team’s MVP, eventually pulled out an escape from Donovan late in the second extra period to win 4-3.

Despite the loss, Smaltz said he though Donovan’s effort was commendable.

“It’s too bad that match went into overtime, because I thought Jimmy had a chance to win it towards the end there,” Smaltz said. “He (Donovan) was nursing a sore wrist the whole tournament though, so I take my hat off to him.”

For Brentsville, the tournament proved to be more than a regular-season test. The Tigers, which move up to Group AA competition after this season, will be facing teams like Warren County and fifth-place finisher Fauquier High School on a regular basis next season. Yanchuck and Smaltz both said they felt the tournament was a good indicator of where they (Brentsville) are right now, and where they need to be by the end of the season.

“I think we work really hard in the (practice) room and that should only increase during the season,” Yanchuck said. “Our freshmen are also really showing improvement. I think we’ll be ready to move up next season.”

Smaltz added. “Some of our younger kids need to be more prepared. We’re inexperienced, and for a lot of our freshmen, this is really only the second time they’ve wrestled all year. They just need to build their confidence up, but I think by the end of this year, we’ll be ready.”

Truschel said he thought some of the younger wrestlers needed to work on improving their mistakes, but that overall the move will be beneficial for them.

“I think the younger guys need to work on their overall mat sense,” Truschel said. “A lot of our matches today didn’t come down to wrestling ability; they came down to who capitalized and who didn’t make mistakes at the end. I think you’ll be hearing a lot out of the freshmen in years to come, though.”

Smaltz added, “I think we’re doing a good job right now for this season. We still have to focus on this year, but in due time we’ll be ready.”

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