Brentsville makes it three straight state titles


[email protected]

SALEM — By their 1-2 finish at both the Bull Run District and Region B tournaments — considered by many to be the toughest in Group A — Brentsville and Manassas Park were poised for a 1-2 finish at the Group A tournament as well.

And it almost happened just that way — two schools, less than 20 miles apart, the class of their classification. Brentsville had all but wrapped up the title by the time the finals started, and Manassas Park wasn’t far behind in the second. But to stay in second, the Cougars needed at least one of three Mathews wrestlers to lose in the finals and have the other two win by decision.

That didn’t happen, as Mathews’ Will Holaday won his 189-pound match against Madison County’s Curtis Woods. Holaday’s 4-2 decision was enough to overcome the Cougar lead, which stood at .5 points entering the 189 final. Brentsville finished with 168 points, winning their third state title in a row. Mathews was second with 147.5, and the Cougars were third at 144.

In all, area wrestlers won four of seven finals matches both Cougar finalists and two of five Brentsville wrestlers.

Thanks to Manassas Park’s early round success — though they had just two wrestlers in the finals, they had eight finish in the top six — the Cougars held the lead after Friday. But by Saturday afternoon, Brentsville had re-established itself at the top of the standings. The Tigers did nothing to hurt themselves by winning two individual titles and placing five in the state finals.

“The first day was like Brentsville last year — almost perfect on the first day,” said Cougars Richard FitzSimmons. “We only lost two matches, kept everyone around, and guaranteed seven would medal on the first day. And the momentum kept snowballing [into Saturday].”

By the time Brentsville’s Ben Truschel took the mat, Manassas Park had already won two gold medals thanks to Todd Smoot’s decision in the 112-pound final and Daniel Wadel’s tech fall in the 130-pound final.

Truschel kept things going with a 10-1 win over J.J. Kelly’s Brandon Justice, and started a run of four consecutive Tiger appearances. But he admits he wasn’t at full strength — Truschel’s anemic and had a low iron count early in the week. He still wasn’t 100 percent in the finals, which kept him from being as aggressive as he would have liked.

“It was kind of scary. It’s my senior year, my last tournament, and I can’t make it through practice,” he said. “I’m usually not that conservative, but I didn’t want to give up anything stupid.”

Next was junior Luke Siler, who faced a different challenge in his match against Rural Retreat’s Tyler Shillig. Siler gave up several inches of height to Shillig, meaning Siler had to pick his spots to attack, since he got few opportunities to reach Shillig’s limbs.

“The only thing that was hard was that he kept his legs and arms away. But I got a few good shots,” Siler explained. “He was able to keep me off of him, so I had to fight around with his hands.”

With a 5-3 lead, Siler scored on a takedown with less than 10 seconds remaining to secure a 7-3 win over Shillig.

But after wins by Truschel and Siler, the Tigers hit a dry spell of sorts, losing their next two finals matches. In the 145-pound final, Jimmy Donovan lost a 9-3 decision to Clarke County’s Matt Parr, who claimed his second straight state championship. A match later, 152-pounder Jacob Orr lost a 6-2 decision to Mathews’ Doug Sier. Brentsville’s final entrant in the finals, Stephen Yanchuk, lost 6-3 to Nandua’s Trahern Vinnie.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had five in the finals before. We had four the year before,” said Brentsville coach Mark Smaltz. “Stephen will be back next year, but Jimmy and Jake, this was their last shot. They’ve both been great contributors to the team, and Orr is part of three state championships in a row. They’ve got nothing to look down on.”

Smoot came out aggressive and took a big early lead to favorite Boone Brockenbrough of Perry McCluer only to have disaster nearly strike in the final seconds. Smoot rolled out to a 7-0 lead on a pair of takedowns and three back points, and kept Brockenbrough from establishing any offense. The lead increased to 9-0 in the third, before Brockenbrough scored his first points.

“I saw he was a pretty laid-back wrestler, so I thought I would come after him, take the match to him,” Smoot explained. “I wanted to make it my match. And it worked for me.”

With a 10-2 lead and less than 30 seconds left, things looked great. But Brockenbrough caught Smoot for a takedown and was seconds away from a pin. He got Smoot on his back with five seconds left and looked close to a pin, but time ran out and Smoot was a 10-7 winner.

“I was a little nervous, because he threw me to my back. But I saw there was five seconds, and I figured I could hold out,” Smoot said.

Not long after Smoot won his title, Wadel did likewise. He ran out to a big lead on Riverheads’ John Harris, but never quite could get a pin. Instead, he settled for a 19-3 tech fall. Harris never got much going, and didn’t score his first points until there was :50 left in the second period; by then, Wadel had a commanding 8-0 lead.

Wadel held control from the start. He knew what Harris would be looking for and was able to avoid putting himself in that situation.

“He didn’t want to shoot in, and his move is a spladel,” said Wadel, referring to a move that allows a wrestler who gets caught in a single-leg takedown to execute an offensive move.

“I’m glad I won it, because I didn’t want to lose in my senior year and finish second,” he added. “So I had to do my best.”

Similar Posts