MATOACA – With a dominating performance, the Matoaca Warriors claimed the first ever Conference 12 wrestling championship last Saturday at Matoaca High School. Out of the 14 weight class categories, the Warriors claimed individual championships in 11 en route to a team triumph.
“The team performed well like we expected,” said Matoaca assistant coach Jonn White. “We have to get right back at it in the practice room to keep the momentum going.”
The Warriors are expected to contend for a state championship this year, and few were surprised by the performance they turned in. Neal Richards (145) was named Conference 12’s “Most Outstanding Wrestler” after a 38-2 record thus far this season. The junior also won his first two matches by pin in 25 seconds combined.
Brandon Woody (106), Dylan Schuster (113), Michael Hundley (120), Adam Wilmer (126), Kyle Gordon (132), Bryson Woody (138), Richards, Elijah Hicks (152), Alvonte Jones (182), Patrick Grier (195) and Anthony Helm (285) were the Warriors to take home individual titles.
Though Matoaca cruised through much of the tournament, L.C. Bird placed second in Conference 12 and brought home two individual championships with junior Hunter Hamilton (160) and senior Khalil Kimbrough (170) taking home crowns for a resurgent program.
“Hunter is a transfer from Idaho that just became acquainted with Virginia wrestling,” explained Bird Head Coach Darrin Zoller. “What’s impressive about Khalil is that he was a first-year wrestler.”
Meadowbrook’s top three finishers were Jonathan Argueta (152), Shammah Waller (170) and Maurice Thrower (220) who all took second in their weight classes.
In Conference 3, Thomas Dale standout and current top-ranked wrestler in the state Corey Leonard (138) won the conference championship and was named the “Most Outstanding Wrestler.”
Pallas English (160), Johnathan Daniels (170) and Josh Parker (285) all placed second in their weight classes. As a team, Thomas Dale finished fourth in the conference.
The top four finishers in their respective weight classes from Matoaca, L.C. Bird and Meadowbrook will move onto Clover Hill this Friday and Saturday for regionals. Thomas Dale qualifiers head to Colonial Forge High School (Stafford, Va.) next Friday and Saturday.