Lord Botetourt had six wrestlers place in the top six in Group 3A and James River had two place in the top four in Group 2A in last week’s state wrestling extravaganza at the Salem Civic Center.
Teamwise, there were few surprises as three of the four champions from 2016 repeated. Rural Retreat won the 1A title for the fourth year in a row, Grundy repeated as 2A champ for the 20th overall state title for the Golden Wave, and Christiansburg won its16th straight championship in Group 3A. The only upset of sorts was in 4A, where Great Bridge edged defending champion Fauquier, 130 points to 123.5.
Lord Botetourt finished eighth in Group 3A while James River was 16th in Group 2A. The Cavaliers had five seniors in the tournament and all five placed.
“It was a bittersweet event for me as a coach,” said LB’s Chuck Burton. “I knew going into the weekend that it would be the last time five of my seniors would step on the mat and compete. But all went out a state placer and I couldn’t be happier for them.
“When you get to that level, you’re wrestling good kids each match. That was very true this weekend. We ran into some very formidable opponents, and came up in short in some places. But, the thing I want my kids to always remember, it’s just a wrestling match. It’s not life or death. The life lessons they have learned along the way are the most important part of this sport. Sure, we always want to win, that’s natural. But, the life lessons these kids learn and go through are the true reward.”
Jake DuVall had the best finish with a third place. Botetourt’s all-time wins leader finished his season at 43-4 by going 3-1 in the state. He made it to the semifinal round before he was decisioned by Patrick McCormick of Poquoson, who would go on to win the state championship.
Jake wrestled back with two wins on Saturday to take third, decisioning Parker Velez of Brentsville District, 21-9, then beating Luke Grubbs of York in the consolation championship match, 7-5.