by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
Wrestlers Adam Wilmore and Dominique Veney are young and may have been first-timers on the state stage, but the Lancaster High duo returned from Salem Civic Center Saturday with some hardware and something to brag about.
Wilmore, a freshman, took third among 195-pounders at the Virginia High School League’s Group 1A state wrestling championship, while Veney, a sophomore wrestling at 132, placed fourth.
“Both Adam and Dominique seemed unfazed by the overwhelming nature of the state tournament,” said LHS coach Craig Oren. “Both lost to the eventual state champions [in their brackets] but came back for big wins in the semis.”
Although Wilmore is no stranger to the fanfare of a state tournament as a state middle school heavyweight champion, he said the Group 1A arena had a different feel.
“It was a lot different atmosphere,” said Wilmore. “It was very nerve-racking.”
Wilmore, 15, went 3-1 as the state bronze medalist. He pinned Cumberland senior Trevon Foster in 1:28 in the third place match. In fact, all of Wilmore’s three state wins were by pins. He took down Ryan Shanks of Parry McCluer in :45 and John Horner of Patrick Henry in 1:30.
A dominant force this season, Wilmore finished with an overall record of 41-7. He had 40 wins by pin.
Veney went 32-13 this season and finished fourth in the state tournament after losing by decision, 10-1, to Cameron Wooldridge of Fort Chiswell in the third place match.
Veney picked up a 6-4 decision over Taylor Shreaves of Northampton to earn a spot in the third place match. He also beat David Marable of George Wythe by a 5-3 decision.
“The state tournament is so intense,” said Veney. “Every match, you have to give 100%.
“Going in I didn’t think I was gonna place, but I wanted to work hard to keep up with Adam,” he added. “And placing meant the world to me. It was the best feeling.”
Wilmore and Veney both finished as runners-up in their respective weight classes at the Region 1A East meet to state qualify.
“I was so pleased with both of them since it was their first performance at the state level,” said Oren.
“Adam took third and the two wrestlers that finished ahead of him were returning state champions in other weight classes, so he has a lot to be proud of.”
Oren took four to the state tournament including Will Parker and Deandrae Wade. Parker (138) finished fourth at the Region 1A East tournament to qualify, while Wade (120) took third.
Both went 0-2 at the state championships.
“Will wrestled the eventual state champion in his first round and lost, then was trying to avenge an earlier season loss against Caleb Johnson from Mathews,” said Oren. “I had hoped this would be an opportunity for Will but Caleb brought an intensity Will couldn’t match.”
Wade lost his matches to the eventual silver and bronze medalists in his division.
“Going into the tournament, I really thought Deandrae could be a top four finisher,” said Oren. “Unfortunately his match ups were not favorable. He really wrestled hard but he didn’t get the right match ups and lots of times in these tougher tournaments, it’s about who you face early.”
Rural Retreat won the Group 1A team championship with 200.5 points, while Riverheads was the runner-up with 155 and Patrick Henry was third with 83. Mathews was the top finisher among Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula schools, placing 12th with 38 points. The Red Devils tied for 16th with 28 points.