The James River and Lord Botetourt wrestling teams will compete in district tournaments this week to begin the post-season, and both teams competed in the “Big Red” tournament at Riverheads High last Saturday.
James River was scheduled to host the Three Rivers District tournament in the Knights’ gym on Tuesday afternoon. LB will compete in the Blue Ridge District tournament today, Wednesday, at Northside High School. That’s scheduled to be held in the old Northside gym and wrestling will begin at 3 p.m.
Last Saturday in Staunton, Lord Botetourt was second and James River was 11th in the Big Red tournament at Riverheads High School. The host Gladiators won the tournament with 204.5 points, edging LB by just a point and a half. William Byrd was third with 190.5 and James River had 78.5 points in the 13-team tournament.
Botetourt had three champions, Gray Arnold at 150, TJ Piluso at 165 and Aaden Thomas at 215. Arnold pinned his way through the finals and Piluso stayed undefeated at 32-0, and is just five wins away from his 100th at LB. Thomas, a sophomore, is now 21-2 on the season.
Ty Hensley took second at 175 and he’s now 22-7. Two Cavs won their consolation final to take third, James Dean at 120 and Declan Sullivan at 126, while Canden Saunders was fourth at 138. Fifth place went to Kevin Gergely at 144 and Gabe Glenn at heavyweight and Morgan Parr was sixth at 132. LB’s two girls got their first wins over guy opponents, which was a big step for them.
River had seven wrestlers in the tournament and three placed. Brayden Forbes remained undefeated with a Big Red championship at 120 pounds. He’s now 26-0.
Two other Knights made the final and placed second. Xaiden Wynn took second at 106 and he’s now 23-2, losing to Byrd’s Darin Witcher for the second time in a season-long battle between the two 106-pounders.
At 138 Nate Stewart took a second, losing in overtime to Gage Cockran of William Byrd. Nate is now 20-3.
LB also competed in a quad at Pulaski County last week and beat Pulaski, 66-15, and Carroll County, 78-6.
“It was a rough week with the passing of Conner Shiflett,” said Craft, referring to the former LB wrestler who passed away last week. Conner’s service was on the same day as the Big Red tournament.
“We had a moment of silence Saturday morning before wrestling started and read a few words about Conner,” said Craft. “It’s been an emotional week for everyone involved.”
Region tournaments for both Botetourt County schools will be held on February 10. James River will host the Region 2C tournament and the Region 3D tourney is at Abingdon.
“The only team in deep Southwest Virginia that’s 3A is going to host,” said Craft. “So now everyone from Tunstall through Roanoke to Pulaski has to travel all the way down there. Gonna be a real long day.”