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Both Staunton River and Jefferson Forest put themselves to the test, heading to Hidden Valley for the Titan Toughman Tournament. The Golden Eagles (172.5) came away with a third place finish, behind Region IV powerhouse Blacksburg (230.5) and fellow Region III squad Northside (220).
Forest took eighth place, in the field of 16 teams, with 109.5 points .
Staunton River was led by 135 pound champion Jeremy Tyree, who took the final with an 8-3 decision. Two of Tyree's wins came against very tough competition. Tyree has but one loss so far this season.
The Golden Eagles also placed a slew of wrasslers in the finals who had to settle for second place. 103 pounder Cody Bramlett, 130 pounder Will Epperly, 145 pounder Nick Manley and 152 pounder Tony Boughton all took second slot honors.
While Bramlett fell by pin in his final match, Boughton and Manley each lost by decision. Epperly suffered a shoulder injury during his final. While training staff was popping his arm back into joint, Epperly ran out of injury time and was forced to default. At the awards ceremony, the look on Epperly's face as he stood in the second place spot on the podium, his arm in a sling, told the whole story.
Rounding out the scoring parade for the Golden Eagles were Austin Carr (fourth at 140), Dustin Kidd (fourth at 141) and Scott Fike (fifth at 160).
Carr gutted out an ankle injury which hindered him throughout the tourney. It should be noted that none of his opponents cut him any slack, with one wrestler being penalized for twisting the ankle in an unsporting fashion.
Staunton River Head Coach Ron Long is obviously giving as many of his wrestlers a chance to shine. Two of his backups got wins at the tournament in a show of thanks for the opportunity: Brandon Langdon and Montana Large.
Forest did less well than might have been desired. Absent one of its top wrestlers, Chris Bowyer, due to illness, the Cavs gave up a near guaranteed first place at 215.
Brandon Beemer took second place on a controversial call in the final against Northside. With time running out and the match all even, Beemer was taken down with both wrestlers seemingly out of the circle. The two points gave the win to Beemer's opponent. But the "Big Cat" showed good sportsmanship in accepting the call.
112 pound Jacob Wallace, a transfer from Brookville, surprised the field with his second place finish. The quick Wallace fell by the closest of margins in the final, 7-6. Wallace had wrestled at 119 earlier in the week, winning a decision over Heritage.
Other Cavs that contributed to the team score included Tommy Neal (fourth at 160), Yale Burch (sixth at 140) and Will Drinkard (6th at 103). Drinkard and River's Bramlett faced off in earlier action with Bramlett taking that match.
No fun for Liberty
Liberty had planned on participating in the James River Duals last weekend, but the event was postponed due to weather concerns.
Forest beats undermanned Heritage
In earlier action, Forest took care of business against a Heritage squad that forfeited 6 matches, giving the Cavs a 36 point gift. Forest made quick work of the rest of the evening, winning 63-18.
Brandon Beemer started things off with his second period pin. That set the stage for Jacob Wallace at 119. Wrestling a tough Sam Duverne, Wallace nearly fell by pin before bouncing back, amassing a 10-7 lead and riding out that margin in the third period.
Jarrett Payne (125) pinned David McDonough with 14 seconds remaining in the opener.
John Kelly (135) rolled Pioneer Franklin Hoss from a scissors into a pin (or a "grapevine") just before the first round buzzer sounded. 152 pounder Quinton Boyd wasted no time nailing down a pin in 51 seconds.
River Rumble this Saturday
Staunton River will be the site for some pre-Christmas grappling festivities as the Golden Eagles play host to the River Rumble.
Participating schools include Heritage (Lynchburg), E.C. Glass, Radford, Hidden Valley, Salem, James River, Patrick Henry and Staunton River.
Bedford Brawl line up set
The second annual Bedford Brawl will be hosted by Liberty High School on Saturday, December 29. According to Liberty Head Coach Darryl Updike, the teams are all set to get brawling.
The slate of grapplers for the Brawl consists of: Powhattan, Jefferson Forest, Salem, Pallotti, Patrick Henry, Randolph-Henry and Liberty.
Opening matches pit Liberty against Powhattan and Forest against Salem. Those matches will start at 10:15.