JF grapplers seize championship

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Top dogs at LCA's Bulldog Invite

By Mike Forster

  If it keeps this up, Jefferson Forest's wrestling team is going to find itself on the persona non grata list (or whatever the Latin phrase for "team not welcomed" is).

The Cavs took first place at a tournament for the second time in a week, landing top honors at the highly competitive Bulldog Invitational, hosted by Liberty Christian Academy.

It wasn't easy, though. Jeff Forest eked out the win when Josh Bowyer pinned Martinsville's Herman Jones in the 160-pound finale.

Then the Cavs had to cheer for Hargrave Military Academy's Cody Day at 195 pounds.  You see, at that point, the Cavs held a five-point lead over LCA in team points.  Day went against LCA's Blake Papet.  A pin by Papet would have given the Bulldogs the crown.  Fortunately for JF, Day avoided the pin.  The top ten team results looked like this:

1.  Jefferson Forest      211.5

2.  Liberty Christian    209.5

3.  Cape Henry (NC)      167

4.  Staunton River          154

5.  Martinsville           133

6.  Franklin County        131

7.  Powhatan           128

8.  Monticello           124

9.  Hargrave Mil. Acad.  103

10. Benedictine            79


Liberty landed in 13th place, of the 21 team field, with 64 points.

This event was an opportunity to shine for the local lads.  And, in fact, six made it to the finals, where three picked up championship titles.

Forest's Bowyer and Brett Romanzak took top honors, as did Staunton River's Chris Tyree.

Romanzak is building up a reputation as one of the toughest of challenges at 106 pounds.  They call this freshman "The Hitman," and hit 'em he does.  Romanzak took a 6-4 decision over Cape Henry's Logan Harvich in the finale.

Tyree, who moved up from 160 to 170 early in the season, has been making mincemeat of that weight class.  His first-round pin of Powhatan's Thomas Smith capped a perfect weekend of wrestling for the junior.

Is a return to the State finals in the cards for the Staunton River slugger?  It's a tough row to hoe, but Tyree's got tons going for him.

As do a trio of locals who hit the finals at LCA.  Staunton River's Anthony Rezzonico sought to pick up another LCA title to match last year's crown.  This time, he was bested by Cape Henry's Scott Cunningham, at 126 pounds.  That match ended with Rezzonico on the short end of a 3-2 decision.  It's been characteristic of him to be involved in 3-2 decisions all year.  What is different is that Rezzonico typically wins the close ones.

Speaking of close decisions, JF's Forrest Speake was involved in the closest of calls, falling 2-1 to Martinsville's Stuart Hruza, in the 151-pound finale.

Speake was joined in taking silver by teammate Caleb Prather, who nabbed a second place finish at 145, losing out to defending Independent School State champion Marcus Miller, of LCA.

JF showed its roster strength, as these additional grapplers placed:

126 – Peyton Woodall – 3rd

120 – Joey Nigro – 3rd

170 – Alex Cox – 3rd

182 – James Jackson – 5th

195 – Eric Wellman – 3rd

Additionally, we hope you didn't dawdle while getting your popcorn from the concession stand.  If you did, you might have missed a daring performance by Liberty's Tyler Gordon.

Young Mister Gordon turned in the quickest pin of the entire event, getting the fall in a mere 14 seconds.

Come to think of it, had you dawdled while having a good sneeze, you'd have missed that one!