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'Break out the icepicks'

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JF wrestlers send message to Hades with win over Grundy

By Mike Forster

  So, you think the Giants beating the 49ers was a big upset?  And Newt Gingrich winning in South Carolina:   Stunning, right?

How about this one:  Jefferson Forest 46, Grundy 34.

In wrestling.

That's right, folks.  The grapplin' Cavs topped perennial state powerhouse Grundy in dual meet action over the past weekend.

How much of a stunner was the Cav win?  Well, it kicked off rumors of ice hockey games breaking out on the frozen surface of the River Styx.

The victory came in the finals of pool play, part of the Coke Invitational, hosted by Brookville on Saturday.

The victory gave the Cavs the win in Pool A, meaning they'll get to face off against the winners of Pool B.

And that would be the Bees of Brookville.  The two teams will meet tonight (Wednesday) to determine the tourney champs.

No matter the outcome of the final, the Cav win over Grundy was huge.

"That was great," said JF Head Coach Bill "Hutch" Hutchinson.  "It's a milestone and a highlight."

Indeed, with the possible exception of Christiansburg, there is no team that has a richer tradition than Grundy.  The Golden Wave has won 15 state championships since 1978.

"You can't talk Virginia wrestling without talking Grundy," said Hutch.

This year there is a good possibility that Hutch's charges will garner lots of attention at the State level, themselves.

"The goal is to place as many wrestlers at the State tourney as possible," said Hutch.

"Of course, to do that, we have to do well in the districts and regionals."

It's not far-fetched, however, to envision ten to twelve Cavs in the Seminole District finals.

It's also not far-fetched to envision at least that number of Bees in the finals.

So, Wednesday's matchup at Jeff Forest promises to be a donnybrook, just as the Cavs' bout with the Golden Wave was on Saturday.  That was one that Hutch called the embodiment of a team effort.

The Cavs put themselves in position to pick up the win on the strength of some reliable hands.   Peyton Woodall picked up a first-round pin at 126 pounds.  Caleb Prather put his opponent through the wringer at 145 pounds before finishing him off with a pin.

Forest Speake picked up a quick pin at 152 pounds and Josh Bowyer left his foe dazed and confused after getting him via a fall.

James "Action" Jackson picked up a win via forfeit at 182 pounds, even though he weighs 170, soaking wet.

That helped counter Alex Cox being pinned by a defending state champ and Eric Wellman falling in a very tough bout.

All of that set the stage for a big man and a little man.

First year grappler Cody Graybill pinned his fourth-year opponent in the second period to tie the score.  Graybill, JF's heavyweight, picked up a win that was no fluke.  Thirty seconds into the first round, he nearly put the guy on his back.

"He's had some big wins for us," said Hutch, of his big guy.

That paved the way for 113 pounder Brett Romanzak.  The scrappy freshman picked up the pin, putting his opponent in a cradle with five seconds remaining in the first round.

"He sealed the deal for us," said Hutch.  "He's a tough kid."

Said Hutch after the match.  "My challenge (to the team) was that we've been close all year.  We're due.  So we brought Grundy into our game, which is to be more physical.

"And that's exactly what (my wrestlers) did."

 

Eagles blue at the Big Blue

Staunton River dipped its toe into the waters known as Christiansburg, heading to the Blue Demons' invitational, "The Big Blue."

The host Demons won it with 278.5 points, putting six grapplers on the gold-medal stand.  The banged-up Eagles settled for a 26th place finish, with 37 points.   Don't be fooled by that metric, folks.  The Eagles were seriously understaffed, only bringing seven grapplers to the soiree.

Staunton River's Chris Tyree picked up his first loss of the season.  In what may very well turn out to be a preview of a State semifinal or final, Tyree faced off with Christiansburg's Tyler Miles at 170 pounds.  This time, Miles got the edge, topping last year's State runner-up (at 160 pounds) by the core of 8-1.

Still, Tyree's record stands at  a remarkable 32-1 for the year.

Acknowledging his frustration with his team's many injuries, River Head Coach Ronnie Long vowed, "We will be back in time for the Big Orange and the district.