Colonial Forge takes title, Stonewall second


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ROCKY MOUNT Last weekend’s snow that wrought so much havoc on area schedules was actually a benefit for Stonewall Jackson’s Brian Graney. After injuring his ankle during the regular season, Graney’s status for the postseason was uncertain.

But all the inclement weather and the subsequent postponement of the Cedar Run District tournament gave Graney a chance to heal. He admits he wouldn’t have been 100 percent in districts, but he looked just fine on Saturday night, winning one of the Raiders’ three regional titles and helping Stonewall to a second-place finish at the Northwest Region tournament.

Colonial Forge was easily the winner, gaining 247 points to Stonewall’s 159.5, as the Eagles claimed five champions in the meet.

Graney’s title was the second in the first four matches for Stonewall. After Nathaniel Barbee rolled to a 12-0 win in the 103-pound final, Graney won with similar ease. After jumping out to a 9-3 lead, Graney kept on scoring against Woodbridge’s Mike Gagnon. The 9-3 lead became an 11-4 lead by the end of the second period, and finished with a 23-6 tech fall. The final points giving Graney a tech instead of a major decision came after the final buzzer had sounded.

“My first match here was my first match back,” Graney said, adding that he felt fine. “I knew I’d be rusty, but I wrestled even worse than I thought. But I was able to pull out a win.”

“The rest, that’s the key component in recuperating from any injury,” said Raiders coach Kevin Turner. “He was able to make weight, but [during the injury] he did work out, did some cardiovascular work, but he could not run. He’s still injured, at least until he’s able to take several weeks off.”

Marc LaRochelle have Stonewall its other title with an overtime win over North Stafford’s David Emison.

Colonial Forge had no problems defending its regional title. The Eagles’ six championship finalists and five titles were the most of any team. Matt Taylor won the Eagles’ first title at 119, holding off a challenge from Franklin County’s Ryan Blankenship. After Taylor, four more Eagle wrestlers won, mostly with relative ease: Jay Chichester was an 11-1 winner over Brooke Point’s Marcus Taylor, while Scott Fisher and Dale Pellar earned tech falls at 152 and 160, respectively. Willie Johnson was a 5-4 winner at 215, beating Culpeper’s Jason Patton.

Though now old hat, each title is special for the Forge.

“I’m just the captain, but it’s a different group of kids every year,” said Eagles coach Bill Swink. “I get excited about them setting goals, and it’s enjoyable seeing the kids achieve what they set out to accomplish.”

Although Woodbridge has just one individual champion Bubba Bush at 189 their 130 team points were enough for third place.

Bush jumped out early against Colonial Forge’s Evan Stribling and never looked back. He had a 4-1 lead after the first period and finished with a 12-1 major decision.

After falling short in the past in the regional tournament, Bush was able to come through this year’s bracket and go home with a championship.

“He’s in great shape. He’s been here so many times, and he’s never been able to do it,” said Vikings coach Anthony McDuffie. “We’re real proud of him.”

Some surprises landed after the Vikings in the team standings: Osbourn Park was fourth with 118.5 points, narrowly beating Forest Park and the Bruins’ 115 points. On the strength of a championship by 140-pounder Chris Hottle, Stafford placed sixth, followed by Brooke Point, North Stafford and Hylton. Less than 12 points separated those four teams.

After an up-and-down regular season, the Yellow Jackets finished on a bit of an up note: Jeremy Adams won a title for OP, beating Hylton’s Lam Ly in a dramatic 112-pound final.

Trailing by two points with 26 seconds left, Ly scored on an escape to make the score 5-4 in favor of Adams. Ly went after Adams several times in the closing seconds, but wasn’t able to register the final takedown.

“We thought if [Adams] can keep the score close in the first, he can take him,” said OP coach Mike Wilbourn. “Jeremy’s got good defensive prowess, and Ly’s explosive on his feet. And it turned out just like we thought it would.”

Gar-Field heavyweight Mark Logan never trailed in his match with Patrick Henry’s Demonte Johnson. In a low-scoring match, Logan took a 1-0 lead with an escape early in the second period. In the third period, which began with both wrestlers neutral, Logan scored on a takedown to seal the 3-1 win.

“He’s hard to take down,” Indians coach Rick Seipp said of Logan. “So when [Johnson] chose neutral, it played right into our hands.”

Brooke Point’s Brian Foley easily had the shortest match of the finals, pinning Stonewall’s Patrick Bowman in 23 seconds in the 145-pound match. Foley’s teammate, Brent Heflin, didn’t fare as well. Although Heflin upset Patrick Henry’s Cecil Coleman one of the favorites at 171 in the semifinals, Helfin lost in the finals to North Stafford’s Kyle MacLaird by a 16-3 score.

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