Zeiler and Sebra lead Red Devils at state wrestling tournament

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Two of the Lancaster High seven state qualifiers made it to the awards podium last Saturday at the Virginia High School League Class 1 wrestling championships at Salem Civic Center.

Senior DJ Zeiler turned in the best state tournament performance of his high school career, bringing home a bronze medal after going 3-1 to finish third in his 138-pound weight class. Zeiler qualified but didn’t place in the state tournament as a freshman and finished fifth as a junior. Lancaster did not participate during his sophomore year because of the pandemic.

“My goal was to be in the finals, but that didn’t happen,” said Zeiler. “When I got to the [third place match], I said this is it. This is all I got. I’ve got to make the best of what I got.”

And so he did, outlasting Evan Annese of Riverheads for a close 2-0 decision.

Zeiler capped his LHS career with a 97-33 overall record and went 40-7 this year as the Northern Neck District and Region 1A 138 champion. He also was named the co-wrestler of the year for the district and was the region wrestler of the year.

On the way to the third place match, Zeiler beat Chaz Penwright of Rural Retreat, 3-2, in his first match of the two-day tournament. He was pinned by Slade Castle of Castlewood in the semifinal. Zeiler came back for a 13-3 major decision over Caleb Yoder of Buffalo Gap to advance to the third place match, where he edged Annese.

“I should’ve had a take down in that [Castlewood] match,” said Zeiler. “But I just got caught on my back and couldn’t escape.”

Lancaster junior Hunter Sebra also brought home bling, finishing fourth in . . .

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