James River hosted the Class 2A, Region C wrestling tournament in Springwood last Saturday and finished fourth among nine schools. The Knights had a Region C champ in Levi Walker at 220 and qualified six for this week’s state tournament at the Salem Civic Center.
Appomattox High won the regional with 158.5 points, with Dan River taking second with 148. Glenvar was third with 110 points, followed by River with 105.
Walker will take a 34-8 record to the state tournament after winning the region. He has only lost one match since dropping to the 220-pound weight class.
Levi made the finals with pins, setting up a championship match against Juan Maldanado of Dan River. Walker and Maldonado ended the first period scoreless, and Levi received choice in the second period and took the down position. Just 39 seconds into the second period Walker hit a trademark roll and pinned Maldonado, securing the region championship for the River sophomore.
“Levi is performing solidly,” said River coach Bobby Stewart. “He is honing his style and really competing with purpose. He is strong as an ox and mobile as well. When you combine those two items with some skill a kid is hard to beat.”
Two other Knights finished second, freshman Mason Stewart at 120 and junior Ian Hester at 126. Stewart lost to Tayzon Nicholson of Radford in the final.
“Mason wrestled very well out the gate,” said coach Stewart. “He commanded the lead the whole match. Something happened early in the third period and he made a couple mistakes there and lost the match. He’s a freshman and he’s gained so much experience this year. Coaching your son is tough at times. I really wanted that Region Championship for him and also avenge the loss from last week but it wasn’t in the deck of cards.”
Hester lost to Fort Chiswell’s Cameron Wooldridge in the final.
“Ian has been under the weather the last week so he was not on his ‘A’ game but he still pumped out a great performance,” said Stewart. “Ian has the skill, strength, and mindset to get a medal placement this week at states.”
Other qualifiers, taking thirds, were 145-pound freshman Addison McCaleb, 170-pound sophomore Caleb Shipwash and 182-pound Jesse Carter.
The state tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at the Salem Civic Center, with wrestling scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. both days. Consolation finals begin Saturday at 11 a.m. and championship finals will be at 3 p.m.