Brentsville remains supreme in Bull Run


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MANASSAS PARK — For two Bull Run District schools with great wrestling pasts, the present and future look pretty bright for Brentsville and Manassas Park.

The Tigers and Cougars finished first and second at Saturday’s district championships, with four individual championships each. Brentsville senior Ben Truschel took home the tournament MVP trophy and Manassas Park’s third-year head coach Richard FitzSimmons was named the district’s coach of the year.

Freshmen were a big part of each school’s success.

The Cougars’ Lam Le won his evening 103-pound final by technical fall and classmate Todd Smoot followed with a 39-second pin.

Then, possibly the night’s most entertaining match produced the district’s most surprising champion.

After defeating a wrestler he hadn’t scored a point on in two matches this season, Clarke County’s top-seeded Brett Childs, Brentsville freshman Corey Rudder went toe-to-toe with the Cougars’ Billy Pugh in the 119-pound final.

After battling to a 0-0 tie through three rounds and overtime, Rudder defeated the second-seeded Pugh by ride out, giving the Tiger freshman a district championship.

“All the coaches felt like Corey’s got a little fire inside of him, and it just wasn’t there earlier in the season,” said Brentsville head coach Mark Smaltz, who took over this year after serving as assistant to longtime coach Thad Kiesnowski. “We felt like he had it in him, and he finally showed it to us. Now he’s in trouble because we’re going to be expecting that from him.”

Rudder called the way things turned out “a blessing” and said his personal turning point came in the semifinal against Childs.

Childs scored an early takedown against Rudder, continuing the freshman’s scoreless streak against him. But Rudder pulled off a reversal soon after, and along with his points for the move came some confidence.

“Once I got the reversal, I knew it was going to be easier,” he said. “That’s when I got my head into it.”

Truschel, who also took home the most outstanding wrestler award at last season’s district tournament, said if it was up to him, he would have given the award to Rudder or 140-pounder Luke Siler.

Between Truschel at 135 pounds and Jacob Orr at 152, the Tigers won three district titles while 145-pounder Jimmy Donovan finished second.

“That’s the core part of our lineup, not excluding our 215-pounder [Stephen Yanuchuk], who is probably one of the best in the area,” said Smaltz. “We do well in the middle weights.”

The Tigers, defending Group A state champions, repeated as district champions as well, scoring 208 points overall. Thirteen Brentsville wrestlers in the 14 weight classes will advance to the Region B tournament.

“State championships aren’t just won at states,” added Truschel, noting how advancing as many high-seeded wrestlers as possible helps success down the road.

Daniel Wodel (130 pounds) and Jeremy Smith (275) won district titles as the Cougars held off Clarke County for third place, 167-146.5. Strasburg took fourth at 116.5, followed by George Mason (65.5), Rappahannock County (48.5) and Madison County (37).

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