The Lord Botetourt wrestlers will head to Abingdon this Saturday to participate in the Region 3D wrestling tournament. The top four wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the state tournament at the Salem Civic Center on February 16 and 17.
The Cavaliers finished second in the Blue Ridge District tournament, held at Northside High School last week. Staunton River won the BRD with 232 points, followed by LB with 166.5 and William Byrd with 155.5. Northside was fourth with 129.5, Franklin County had 71 points and William Fleming had 37.
LB had four champions. At 120, James Dean pinned Jonah Schofield of William Byrd in the final to improve to 18-6 on the season. Then, at 150, Gray Arnold upped his record to 24-3 with a 4-0 decision over Angel Rigney of Northside in the championship bout.
Ty Hensley is 31-7 after pinning Graylen Castleberry of Byrd in the 175-pound final. At 215, Aaden Thomas is 23-2 after tech falling Anthony Nolan of Northside in the final, 18-3.
Two Cavaliers made the final but lost and took second place. At 144, Kevin Gergley lost to Caiden Saavedra of Staunton River, and at 165, TJ Piluso of LB lost for the first time this year. Macon Ayers of Staunton River pinned Piluso, and TJ goes into the region tournament at 33-1.
Third places went to Canden Saunders at 138 and Alex Clarke at 190. Fourth place Cavs were Cameron Craighead at 106, Declan Sullivan at 126, Cooper Roberts at 157 and Gabe Glenn at heavyweight.
“One of the goals is to just get everyone healthy,” said LB coach Paul Craft. “We’ve got a few other guys with banged up shoulders and ribs. We’ve also had problems with impetigo and ringworm this season. I’ve been coaching wrestling for 16 years and never had a team with this many skin condition problems. It seems like every time we wrestle in a tournament, we end up bringing something back with us.
“The skin conditions can be treated and you can start wrestling again after 72 hours, but if it shows up the day before a meet then you can’t wrestle. We soak our mats with fungicide and disinfectant before each practice. Basically, we’re in protection mode the next two weeks. The kids work so hard and sacrifice so much to get to this point of the season the last thing we want is for it to end early due to injury or illness.”
Staunton River will be the favorite this Saturday in the region.
“Our goal is to close the gap as a team,” said Craft. “Staunton River is obviously the team to beat, they’re number one in the state across all divisions. We have to aim up at the highest possible goal. If we can’t win it, we want second. If we can’t get second, we want third. We need as many guys as possible make the top four and qualify for state.”