Top teams head to Colonial Forge

This is the second year for Colonial Forge’s Eagle Holiday Classic, and the tournament will play host to two of the top prep wrestling programs in the country: Blair Academy (N.J.) and Walsh Jesuit (Ohio).

Eagles’ coach Bill Swink is getting the tournament ready as Friday approaches, but will hand off those duties once the tournament starts. That way, he can concentrate on coaching his wrestlers. Still, he said, it hasn’t been easy.

“It makes it real hectic,” Swink said. “There’s a lot of work.”

Blair and Walsh Jesuit are currently ranked 1st and 25th in country, respectively, by Wrestling USA Magazine. That’s a bit different from last year, when the tournament hosted some of Virginia’s best teams.

“When you add to that Blair Academy and Walsh Jesuit, it’s a good tournament,” Swink added.

Other state teams scheduled to participate include Grundy (the top-ranked team in AA), Western Branch (No. 2 in AAA) and Turner-Ashby (No. 3 in AA). There are also several teams from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia.

The tournament also provides a second chance to see how they stack up against nationally-ranked competition. Last weekend, Colonial Forge finished 28th of 64 teams in the Beast of the East tournament at the University of Delaware, ranked by many as the toughest tournament in the country. Matt Taylor (103), Kyle Graham (119), Bruce Ross (125) and Doug Kittell (130) all advanced to the quarterfinals at Beast of the East.

As for this weekend, Swink isn’t sure about where his team will end up.

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “But I’d like us to finish in the top four.”


Hylton coach P.J. Pcsolinski had a talk with some of his wrestlers on the way back from last weekend’s Lee Davis Tournament.

“It was me, the three seniors and the other varsity lettermen,” Pcsolinski explained. “I asked them how tough I was, if one was like I didn’t care and 10 was if I was a dictator.

“They said I was right around an eight. I can live with that.”

A disciplined approach is where Pcsolinski is trying to take the Hylton program, and that extends beyond just what happens on the mat.

“I don’t want teachers walking down the hall thinking the wrestlers are just thugs and derelicts,” Pcsolinski said.

“I’m doing the best I can. I told [Hylton athletics director Jim] Qualls that I can’t guarantee a winning season, but I can guarantee the kids will be good people … They’re going to do right in class.”

The results, however, have been mostly positive. Seniors Ben Harrison and Stephen Ball both lost in the finals at Lee Davis, with Ball’s loss coming to top-ranked heavyweight Grant Maxfield of Thomas Jefferson. Ball was ahead with 30 seconds left, but lost a heartbreaker 3-2.

Pcsolinski’s toughness in the wrestling room figures to help Harrison and Ball come March.

“Both are willing to dedicate themselves,” Pcsolinski said. “But conditioning is what has killed them in the past … They understand that that’s what keeps them from winning a state title.”


The lack of one dependable stud in the Stonewall Jackson lineup may have helped make the Raiders a better team.

Points that are often a given from one legitimate state title contender can make the other kids relax a bit.

“When you have that kind of kid, the other kids tend not to work their hardest,” said Raiders head coach Kevin Turner.

But without that type of wrestler this year, individuals in the Raider lineup know that they must perform up to their capabilities for the team to succeed. Knowing that, Turner has developed some team activities so the group can grow together — like going to watch James Madison wrestle some of the country’s best collegiate teams.

The concept of team carries over to the individual.

“It’s absolutely an individual sport,” Turner added. “But if you talk about a kid who’s pegged to lose, how can he get an upset? If you talk about a kid who’s supposed to win by decision, how can he get a pin? That kid has to step up.”

The Raiders finished third in last weekend’s Lee Davis Tournament, crowning a pair of champions in the process. Junior Marc LaRochelle was one of those champions, staying unbeaten this season at 11-0. Charlie Cilinski, at 189, also won a championship.

Three more Stonewall wrestlers advanced to the finals: Senior Justin Lumpkin, junior Patrick Bowman and sophomore Brian Graney.


Things have been going well so far this year for highly-touted Woodbridge freshman Julian Lane. The 119-pounder is off to an 11-2 start to the season.

But the postseason could be a different story.

“The competition is stiff at 119, from Herndon on up through the Beach,” said Vikings coach Anthony McDuffie.

“I understand the focus on Lane … people want to make him the next Kyle Graham [Colonial Forge’s standout in the same weight class], but he’s pretty level-headed.

“Superman did not enter Woodbridge High School, although some people think he did. But he does have tremendous talent.”

There are other concerns at the moment for the Vikings, anyway. After two upper-weight wrestlers left the team, senior Eric Noel has just one person to practice against — one of his coaches.

As a result, the Vikings’ meet against short-handed Potomac may not be as lopsided as it once seemed. Woodbridge will likely forfeit at 189 and heavyweight, and will start as many as four freshmen in the other classes.

Said McDuffie, “We’re not looking ahead.”

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