HAMPTON — The rematch of last year’s National College Division final between Virginia and Virginia is not going to happen.
Edinboro University made sure of that.
And in the High School Black and Blue Division, the Poquoson Islanders earned a berth in the championship match against Chantilly, overcoming an early 19-9 deficit to beat Grassfield 41-28.
In the college semifinal between nationally ranked No. 14 Edinboro and No. 15 Virginia Tech, it was the squad from Pennsylvania that swept through the initial five weight classes to earn a comfortable 17-point margin and held on for a 23-9 victory.
But Virginia held up its end of the championship bargain, defeating Kent State 22-12, to set up the Cavaliers against the Scots in Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. final.
The Cavaliers and Golden Flashes seesawed through their first four matches, alternating decision victories, which left the score at 6-6 before Virginia’s Blaise Butler and Kent State’s Ian Miller squared off at 157 pounds. Miller’s third-period escape negated the point he lost for stalling, and his 4-3 decision gave Kent State a 9-6 bump.
Nicholas Sutzer gave U. Va. the lead back with a 13-4 major decision over Tyler Buckwalter, but Kent’s Caleb Marsh returned the favor with a toughly fought 3-2 decision over Stephen Doty at 174.
From there, it was all Virginia. Down 12-10, the Cavs reeled off three wins to finish the match.
Johnathan Fausey outdueled Sam Wheeler to escape with a 6-5 win. At 197, Zach Nye also faced a close call, but gutted out a 2-1 decision. And U.Va. heavyweight Ethan Hayes finished the match decisively with a pin at 4:02 over Mimmo Lytle.
Old Dominion suffered an early exit, losing its only Saturday match 21-15 to Arizona State to finish 1-2 for the weekend. All five Monarch wins against the Sun Devils came by decision, including at 141, where fourth-ranked Chris Mecate made up for Friday night’s loss to top-ranked Mitchell Port of Edinboro by beating Arizona State’s Matthew Kraus 5-1.
Michael Hayes (133), Alexander Richardson (149), Billy Curling (174) and Kevin Beazley (197) also won for ODU.
The Apprentice School dropped a 29-7 decision to Ferrum to conclude its weekend. Builders coach Bruce Shumaker remained two wins shy of 100.
Poquoson was the biggest local high school story of Saturday, as its 13-point triumph over Grassfield earned the Islanders a berth in the finals.
For Coach Eric Decker, it was an unexpected win.
“We beat Grassfield by a point last year,” he said. “But they have tougher kids this year, and when I was going over their lineup with my assistants, I could not figure out a way that we were going to win, except for a couple of kids being able to do things they weren’t supposed to do.”
He cited Keelan Moore at 126 pounds as an example.
“Three weeks ago, he lost a major decision to that kid (Grassfield’s Jamond Copeland). Then today, he went out and won by fall (at 5:06). That wasn’t supposed to happen.”
Alec Bleeker, also singled by Decker as a wrestler who performed better than expected, was “just happy” with the win, but mindful of the time that has passed since Poquoson’s last Duals championship.
“It’s been the longest time.”
In fact, the Islanders’ last championship came in the now-defunct Top Gun Division in 1997.
Not to be outdone, rival New Kent showed the true possibility of a changing of the guard on the championship podium, edging Christiansburg 35-34 in a losers-bracket match.
However, it was more than a symbolic win, as the Christiansburg squad dominated the former Group AA classification in wrestling, capturing the last 12 state titles. Both schools now are in 3A, as is Poquoson.
New Kent coach Mike Faus tried to downplay the conquest.
“The win against Nazareth (two years ago at the Duals) was probably bigger because it came in the winners’ bracket,” he said. “I was just happy with how my kids performed, because we looked flat last night against Cave Spring (in a 34-32 loss).” Faus acknowledged that the 3A state championship “is going to be interesting.”
In spite of his coach’s low-key approach, junior B.C. Laprade, the Trojans’ star 138-pounder, offered a confession.
“He (Faus) was pretty happy!”
Gloucester finished off its National Division competition on a high note, edging Camden Catholic (N.J.) 39-37 in the other losers-bracket match. Both the Dukes and Trojans finished the weekend with a 1-2 mark.
Smithfield also earned two consolation victories Saturday to set up a showdown with Grassfield, with a slot in the third-place match on the line.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun