by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
Adam Wilmore took off his batting helmet to talk take-downs.
Last Sunday, the 15-year-old Lancaster High School freshman was on the awards podium at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, where he was named a freshman All-American with a third place finish in his weight class at the National High School Coaches Association 2017 National Wrestling Championships.
Monday he was taking batting practice with Lancaster High’s varsity baseball team. A three-sport athlete, he seamlessly transitioned from wrestling to baseball and back again over the last month.
In February, Wilmore placed third in the Virginia High School League’s Group 1A wrestling championships. He was a state qualifier and bronze medalist in his first season with the LHS varsity wrestling team.
He took off his singlet and head gear as soon as he stepped off the state mat and hit the baseball field the very next week. Wilmore is a catcher. But last week, he spent some time back on the mat, practicing with LHS teammate Will Parker in preparation for the 28th annual NHSCA National Wrestling Championships, March 24-26, in Virginia Beach.
Wilmore, who wrestles at 195 pounds, went 5-1 at nationals to place third in his weight class and earn freshman All-American status. The top eight placers in each division are named All-American.
Wilmore won the 210-pound championship in the Virginia Wrestling Association Elementary and Middle School State Championship last year.
He cut 18 pounds and placed fifth at 180 pounds in the middle school NHSCA national championships in 2016 as an eighth grader. He was named a future All-American and this year lived up to that billing.
“I felt like I left a lot on the table last year, after losing my first match,” said Wilmore. “This was redemption for me. I was biting at the bit to get back.”
Wilmore opened last Friday morning with a pin in 1:11 of his Florida opponent to move on to the quarterfinals Saturday morning, when he lost by decision to a West Virginia wrestler.
That loss—his only of the tournament—put him in a wrestle back match, where he won by decision over a wrestler from Mountain View in Fredericksburg. Another pin over a New York wrestler and a 6-1 decision over an opponent from Minnesota advanced Wilmore to the third/fourth place match Sunday morning.
Saturday’s schedule included “three matches for me in about 14 matches. I wrestled about every third match. It was grueling. But I didn’t really feel tired because I was in win mode,” he said.
Wilmore finished third with a second-period pin of a Georgia wrestler.
Getting so close to that championship match has just inspired Wilmore.
“I feel like I can make it to that final match next year,” he said.