Fear of a wardrobe jinx didn't inhibit Christiansburg High School this weekend. And neither did anything else.
Wearing T-shirts that advertised "The Perfect 10" prior to the fact, the Blue Demons breezed to their 10th consecutive Group AA state championship at the Salem Civic Center Saturday night, easily outdistancing second-place Grundy by nearly a 2-1 margin, 258-133.
No Region I wrestler captured an individual title, but three finished second – Poquoson's Jeffrey Ogburn at 119, Lance Hawn-Schmitt of Grafton at 125 pounds and New Kent's Nolan Schultz at 145.
New Kent, which was in third place after the quarterfinals, finished fourth with 102 points. Although the Trojans advanced four wrestlers to Saturday morning's semifinals, only Schultz got into the finals and he lost to Christiansburg's Zach Epperly on a second-period pin. In addition to Schultz, New Kent had several wrestlers who placed, including Trey Gregory (third at 119), Austin Fuller (third at 135), Devontae Fitzgerald (fourth at 152), Evan Canady (fifth at 285) and Michael Emana (sixth at 130).
"Overall, I was pleased because we finished closer to the top 3 than last year," said New Kent coach Michael Faus. "But I thought we left some team points out there on the mat."
Faus saluted Schultz' valiant effort in spite of a back injury. "Nolan gutted it out," said Faus. He also singled out Gregory, Fuller and Fitzgerald's runs in the consolation brackets.
Poquoson finished ninth with 57 points, fueled by a 2-3-4 performance by their lightweight contingent, Ogburn (119), Thomas Payne (112) and Adam Lowe (103), respectively.
Tabb's Andrew Junio placed eighth at 171.
Ogburn lost his final 10-1 to Christiansburg's Dance. Ogburn overcame an upset stomach in his semifinal win, a 2-0 overtime victory against Fauquier's Bennett Payne. Ogburn scored a takedown 14 seconds into overtime. "I wanted to get it over quickly," he said.
Hawn-Schmitt, a junior, narrowly lost his championship match 5-4 to Sean Vandyke of Grundy. It was Vandyke's fourth time in the state finals, but his first win. He completed his high school career with a record of 165-21.
Poquoson's Lowe lost his Saturday morning semifinal match to Cave Spring's Chase McDaniel 9-8 when he was penalized a point in the final seconds of their match for spitting on the mat.
Virginia High School League official Tom Dolan explained that spitting on the mat is against the rules because the match has to be stopped immediately to remove body fluids. Poquoson coach Mike Casey argued unsuccessfully that Lowe had something caught in his throat and attempted to signal the official.
"I don't even want to talk about it," Casey said.
Christiansburg had eight wrestlers in the finals and emerged with a 7-1 record, winning titles at 103, 112, 119, 135, 145, 160 and 285 pounds. Blue Demons Joey Dance (119), Epperly (145) and Rich Eva (160) had won state titles previously. Seven individual champions is Christiansburg's second-best performance in state competition.
Grundy had four individual champions Saturday at 125, 130, 152 and 171 pounds.
Brookville finished third in the team standings with 112 points.
Poquoson is the only Group AA school other than Christiansburg or Grundy to win the Group state title in the past 25 years. The Islanders last won in 1999, interrupting Grundy's string of 12 consecutive titles. The Golden Wave won again in 2000 and 2001 prior to Christiansburg's run.
Manassas Park was crowned Group A team champion with 169.5 points, well ahead of second place Floyd County (122.5). Strasburg was third (106), followed by Stonewall Jackson (85) and James River (74).Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun