The Rappahannock wrestling team spent last Friday night (Jan. 14) on the mats in Montross, where they faced off against Mathews and four-time defending Region A champs Washington and Lee.
“Against Mathews, a consistently top-10-ranked program in Single A, we displayed a vicious side that had been bottled up and waiting to be unleashed,” coach Jamie Harris said.
CJ Sidrow (103) got things started with his tough match against No. 8-ranked Caleb Miller. “Miller kept Sidrow bottled up for most of the first period,” Harris reported, “before Sidrow got a reversal and a pin at 3:35 in the second period.”
Both teams double-forfeited in the 112 weight class; then Zack Armor got a quick 18-second pin in the 119 class. At 125, freshman Dylan Hitt faced off with No. 8-ranked Matt Rouland. “After surviving Rouland’s initial rush,” coach Harris said, “Hitt picked up a pin at the 3:05 mark.”
Cody Casey (130) and Matt Lombardi (135) took forfeits, and then Patrick Foley (140) earned a huge pin over a tough Mathews wrestler in the second period. Amrit Tamang (145) also got a forfeit.
After the first eight matches, Rappahannock took off with a commanding 42-0 lead that had the gym at Washington and Lee in complete shock. Mathews took a victory at 152 over Smith Cliffton by a 4-0 score, but Dennis McGillivray (160) sealed his win with a 57-second pin over his opponent. Mathews picked up their points with forfeits and pins over Logan Vest (215) and Britt Hipple (heavyweight). Final score: Rappahannock County 48, Mathews 27.
In a furious battle against the homestanding Eagles of Washington and Lee, the Panthers found themselves in a genuine brawl. As Harris put it: “Sidrow got things started off with a third-period pin over a scrappy opponent. Then W&L tied the score with a pin over Zack Armor. At 125, Hitt earned his second pin with a 32-second drop, and Casey followed at 130 with another pin. From there, the Eagles reeled off 20 straight points.”
McGillivray put Rappahannock back on the board with a 45-second pin. From there, Washington and Lee picked up forfeits at 189, tallied a pin at 215, and a celebrated a decision in heavyweight to finish off the upstart Panthers, 43-24.
On the night, Sidrow, Hitt, Casey, and McGillivary all went 2-0 with pins and racked up significant points for the Panthers. The evening also put Sidrow’s career record at 61-13 – after only one and a half seasons of wrestling.
“Overall, this was an interesting night,” coach Harris said. “Prior to us wrestling Mathews, they had destroyed Washington and Lee, 45-30. For us to come out and beat the defending Region A champion says a lot about the heart of our team. The boys really had a great day of practice on Thursday, and I saw them working stuff in their matches that we went over in the practice. Not only that, for the first time in a while, I saw the look in their eyes and could feel their intensity and energy. It was great to witness.
“CJ and Dylan brought key wins for us against state-ranked opponents. This will help them down the road if they make states and face off against those boys again. Against W&L, it came down to match ups and experience. They had two seniors who both had over 90 career wins. Matt and Amrit both went out and gave it their all against them. The W&L coach told us after the matches that he had never seen a Single A school score 48 points on Mathews in a dual match. He paid all our kids some great compliments.”
Friday night marked win No. 12 for the Panther team. “I have a good feeling that we may be the dark horse in the district duals this weekend in Strasburg,” Harris said. “We have faced some very stiff competition from the AAA, AA, and now single A levels. With the right match ups, we can get that Top 3 finish we’ve been looking for and be a contender when the Northern Sectionals and Region B tournaments roll around.
“Hard work, dedication, and the desire to win always pays off to the teams that work to achieve their goals.”