The Lord Botetourt wrestling team went 3-0 to open their season with wins over Franklin County, 44-33, Liberty Christian Academy, 36-33, and Pulaski County, 54-15.
“From where we were in November and December and thinking that we would most likely not get a season in, to getting on the mat three times and having the opportunity is nothing short of a blessing,” said LB coach Chuck Burton. “Hats off to Dr. Russ and our School Board members for their support for allowing our kids the opportunity to go out and compete. I can’t say enough good things about all parties involved in helping this decision to be made.”
Picking up wins for LB against Franklin County were Trey Saunders (120), Gray Arnold (138), Nick Young (145), Conner Shiflett (160), TJ Piluso (170), Sam Francis (182), Noah Shephard (195), and Nathan Patterson (220). Against LCA, winners included Cody Williams (113), Saunders (120), Brogan Shutts (132), Young (145), Shiflett (160), Shephard (182), and Trey Reiter (285). Trey knocked off the returning third place finisher in 3A states from last season, 3-1, in a great match. The match came down to the HWT match as it was tied 33-33 going in. Reiter wrestled well for only his second time on the mat since December of 2018, his sophomore year.
Winners against Pulaski were Saunders (120), Shutts (132), Arnold (138), Young (145), Shiflett (160), Francis (170), Shephard (182), Patterson (195), Xavier Williams (220), and Reiter (285).
“Overall, with the amount of time that we have had with actual practice and for some of these kids to not have been on a mat, and definitely not in live action since last February, I’m pleased with where we are at,” said Burton. “It is difficult for us to find matches that match up with our open dates based on how many other teams are not going or not allowed to go outside their county. But, we’re finding some here and there. The key will be navigating this thing to the end and staying healthy.”
Burton is careful to abide by the pandemic rules.
“We are navigating the waters daily, following our mitigation strategies as outlined by the VHSL daily, and being extra vigilant in our daily routines both when we are together and when we are apart,” he said. “These kids needed this, the parents needed it, the community needed it. I know there are people on both sides of the fence on the decision that was made, but so far we have done things the right way and have had zero issues.”
This Saturday the Cavaliers have a trip to Brookville for a tri-match against Brookville and Franklin County.
“At this point, that might be it in terms of regular season,” said Burton. “I need to hear more about our regional plan and look at dates and days to make sure we’re healthy and ready to go heading into the regional tournament. Only the top two from our region will go on to the state tournament on February 18, so it’s vital we are following our protocols and healthy when we get to the regional tournament.”