Tiger celebration overshadows Stonewall win
Lost in the hoopla of Friday night’s Stonewall Jackson-Brentsville match was the result. The Raiders earned a decisive 41-22 over their closest non-district rival. The win came at Brentsville’s Senior Night, a night that was also the final home dual meet for Tigers coach Thad Kiesnowski.
Stonewall jumped out to a 17-0 lead on a tech fall by Nathaniel Barbee at 103 and a quick pin by Justin Lumpkin. The turning point came in the final match of the run.
The Tigers’ Mike Martin took a 10-7 lead into the third period against Brian Graney. Both wrestlers had their chances at pins through the first four minutes, but neither could finish it.
Graney wasted no time in the third, getting a pin :10 into the period.
Brentsville scored its first points after that, but never got closer than 11 points.
“The 119 was the key, because they were winning [the bout],” said Raiders’ head coach Kevin Turner. “Graney pulled off the pin, and that was a nine-point swing in the whole match.”
Stonewall also got an important win from 135-pounder Jake Gerring. Gerring usually wrestles at 140, but is also the backup at 135 behind standout Patrick Bowman. With Bowman out, Gerring stepped in and scored a major decision over Andy Griffith.
“That’s because of not winning a wrestle-off,” Turner said of Gerring’s place at 140. “He has trouble beating Patrick Bowman.
“[Gerring] is one of the hardest-working guys in the room, but he’s just inexperienced. Eventually he’ll see his rewards. We can depend on him to come into a match with a wrestler at his level, or even a bit above his level, and come out with a win.”
Manassas Park head coach Richard FitzSimmons talks about the youth of his team, which has no seniors.
And while there aren’t many names that wrestling fans know by heart, FitzSimmons does have a pair of juniors who have progressed beyond what he expected.
Daniel Wadel (125) was expected to be a key to Manassas Park’s success last season. But two weeks into wrestling, he broke his back and missed the rest of the year, without even competing in a match.
That would be nearly insurmountable in the growth of other wrestlers, but FitzSimmons said that Wadel, who finished third in states as a freshman, has actually got better this year.
“He came back and somehow, without wrestling, he improved,” FitzSimmons said. “We’re really glad to have him back.”
The other Cougar cog has been 135-pounder Walter Lurchenfelt. His 25-4 record hasn’t come without a few upsets, beating state placewinners from a year ago.
“He was one of our top kids last year, outside of Shaun Guttridge, and he’s definitely our top returner,” FitzSimmons added. “He’s beat some highly-touted kids.”
The investment in Manassas Park’s youth movement should realize dividends over the next few years. That success will likely be spearheaded by Wadel and Lurchenfelt.
“They both have the potential to be champions — if not this year, then next year,” FitzSimmons added. “It depends on how far they’re willing to go.
“We’re young, and we take one match at a time. We’ll go into districts, and we’ll concentrate on getting in the top four. We’ll go into regionals, and we’ll concentrate on getting in the top four there. Then we’ll go into states. But I don’t want any of these guys looking past any of these tournaments.”
FOREST PARK’S YOUTH MOVEMENT
Forest Park is in much the same situation as Manassas Park, except the Bruins have 11 freshman and sophomores in their starting lineup.
Championships for a young bunch are the exception to the rule; that means improvement is the key.
“I’ve got to say we’ve made some strides forward,” said Forest Park head coach Richard Hilleary.
And Hilleary added that while no one has really totally exceeded his expectations, the group as a whole is getting better.
One of the biggest bright spots for Hilleary and the Bruins has been the wrestling of senior Jeff Jacobs, who is currently ranked sixth among AAA wrestlers at 140 by virginiawrestling.com.
Brian Hunsicker covers wrestling for the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger. Reach him at (703) 878-8053.