, 2014

Lancaster wrestling team wins district title

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

The Lancaster High Red Devils dominated on the mat last Wednesday, producing seven individual gold medalists, taking three of the top four honor spots and winning the Northern Neck District Wrestling Championships at Washington & Lee.

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Seven individual champions led the Lancaster High School wrestling team to the top of the heap in the Northern Neck District tournament last week.

Lancaster had a team total of 171 points to edge second-place Washington & Lee with 168.5. Northumberland was third with 113 points and Essex fourth with 92.

“After finishing the season with no losses to any single A team, I was really excited about our chances at the district tournament and the upcoming post-season tournaments,” said LHS coach Craig Oren. “Unfortunately, in the two weeks leading up to the district tournament we had been snowed out of 13 matches. After missing so much competition, I was concerned how the guys would wrestle with such a long layoff. I was extremely pleased. The guys wrestled better than they have all year.”

Lancaster had eight of its 12 wrestlers advance to the finals with seven of them earning a gold medal.

Lancaster junior Brad Smith, who won the 152 title, was named the district’s most outstanding middle weight wrestler and the overall most outstanding wrestler. LHS senior Kai Antonio, who captured the 195 medal, was named the most outstanding upper weight wrestler. Lancaster’s Craig Oren was chosen by his peers as the coach of the year.

“Brad won what was considered the toughest weight class and for that effort was rewarded,” said Oren. “Brad is an all business guy when he wrestles. You can tell by the look on his face before he wrestles that he is focused on his goals and nobody is going to get in his way.

“Kai won his third district title and he is the only wrestler on our team that has placed at the state tournament,” he added. “I think he is wrestling like he plans to finish higher on the podium.”

Washington & Lee’s Moses Oviedo was the most outstanding lower weight wrestler. He won the 120 weight class.

Lancaster senior Sam Friday was the 160-pound champion and junior Shane Chambers won the 182 division. Friday is a former state qualifier who won his second district title.

“He has a great opportunity to place in the state this year,” said Oren.

As for Chambers, he has the most wins on the LHS team this year.

“He has been consistent all season and proved it in the district finals,” said Oren. “Shane has been working really hard, not just in practice, but training outside of practice as well.”

LHS senior Colton Hayden won the 220 title for his second district championship. He just missed placing in the state tournament last year and “I believe he is in better shape and has better technique and is ready this year to place,” said Oren.

The Devils’ freshmen class made an impressive showing with Kenique Stewart winning the 132 division and Sam Bouis taking the heavyweight championship.

“I thought Kenique had a good chance to win the tournament because he has been really improving on his technique lately and showed a lot of maturity in the finals,” said Oren. “Bouis is a solid wrestler coming out of our middle school program. He has recently won the starting spot on our team and I think he is going to surprise some people, as he is coming into the regional tournament under the radar.”

Host Washington & Lee picked up four district championships with Oveido winning at 120, Sergei Minor taking the 106 division, James Snider winning the 126 class and Sam McGill capturing the medal in the 145 class.

Northumberland produced two district champions in Aaron Curry at 138 pounds and Phillip Harrison at 170 pounds.

Essex High’s Clifton Bundy won the 113 weight class.

Lancaster’s Thomas Hyde was the district runner-up among 170-pound wrestlers, while Steven Cox, Joey Sanford and Grant Long placed third. Cox wrestled at 106, Sanford at 120 and Long at 145. Darryl Gordon finished fourth in the 126 division.

Lancaster also had seven wrestlers named to the all district academic team. They are Chambers, Hyde, Smith, Friday, Bradley Hudson, Danny McGrath and Beau Nickerson.

“It is good to see that academics and athletics go hand-and-hand,” said Oren. “Most of our team works just as hard in the classroom as they do on the wrestling mat.”

Wrestlers from the Northern Neck will head to the Eastern Shore Friday and Saturday, February 8-9, for the Region A championships in Northampton.

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