After being ranked 1st in the state for most of the season, according to polls at www.virginiawrestling.com, and cruising through a one loss season, junior Corey Leonard (138) won the 6A State Championship in his weight class.
“Sometimes the best thing for a really good athlete is a loss,” said Thomas Dale Head Coach Sean Powers. “Since that loss (to Kyle Gordon of Matoaca) he’s been like a scalded dog.”
All of Leonard’s hard work came to fruition when he rode out J.D. Stone of Colonial Forge in double overtime to win the match 2-1 and the state crown.
Powers said that one of Corey’s coaches, Bryan Lashomb (a three-time state champion in North Carolina) has been essential to the junior’s development as he’s been Corey’s “personal crash test dummy” to work on technique.
“It takes a village to make a champion,” stated Powers. “It’s Corey’s parents, all of the coaches and people involved in his wrestling.”
Leonard has been a quiet leader for Thomas Dale, never turning away a teammate who asks for advice on technique or anything wrestling related.
“He’s a crutch that I can lean on,” explained Powers. “He can do things I can’t do, haven’t done and will never be able to do.”
Leonard wrestled to a 41-1 record in 2013-2014 and has amassed a 107-2 career record as a Thomas Dale Knight. The junior has drawn a tremendous amount of college interest and will decide on what school to attend next season.