Dylan Hitt traveled to Richmond to wrestle in the Virginia Folkstyle State Championships at the Arthur Ashe Athletic Center on Sunday (Feb. 27) and brought home some heavy metal with a third/fourth place win.
In the 11-man freshmen bracket of 125 pounds, the Rappahannock High School wrestler was the only single-A athlete among AA and AAA competitors.
“The whole event was organized really well — a paperless tournament that was all done with computers. We were there by 7:30 and finished by 3. There were no breaks; you just wrestled through,” Hitt said.
Hitt got a bye in the first round. In the second round he faced Josh Helm of Roanoke. The Panther prevailed in a 16-4 decision and advanced to the semifinals against Richmond wrestler Nevin O’Brien.
“I was winning, 7-3,” Hitt recalled, “when he got a reversal and got me in a cradle. I had his head, but it was over. We were tied 7-7, but the ref gave him a stalling point on me at the end of the match to make it 8-7. I had three takedowns, and he had none. I was killing him on his feet, but he moved on to the finals. It was frustrating because I was feeling pretty good and wasn’t tired at all.
“It’s part of the game,” Hitt said of his contest. “What happens, happens. Next time, I’ll work the moves more. I was working a tilt when they called that stall on me. I didn’t feel like I was stalling. If I had it to redo, I’d cut him right then because there were only 15 seconds left.”
Hitt’s record earned him a spot in the consolation semifinals, where he faced double-A opponent Carter Page from Smithfield. “In the third period,” Hitt recalled, “I stood up. He picked me up and turned me backwards. I landed on my head and don’t remember anything until the coaches came around.”
What Hitt forgot, onlookers will likely remember. Page slammed Hitt’s head and left shoulder into the mat. The official stopped the contest and charged Page with an illegal move, which disqualified him. The medical team would not allow Hitt to continue. “I couldn’t wrestle in my last match because I had a concussion. It was tough because it was against a kid I’d already beaten that day. So, I came in fourth because of my forfeit.”
Hitt and Helm both took home bronze medals and congratulated the 125-pound class winner, Justin Jacobs from Brentsville District High School in Nokesville.
“Off-season wrestling is off-season wrestling,” Hitt said. “It’s a good time to learn from mistakes. I was doing moves that I’d never tried before. Now I want to learn more. In my heart, it should’ve been a first- place medal, but I got to wrestle with some great kids from Eastern View and Culpeper. It was a great day.”
Hitt’s next tournament is March 19 at the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Association’s (MAWA) district competition. The top three athletes from that day will move on to MAWA Regionals in Salisbury, Md.
“Last year, I made it to MAWA Regionals, but this year it’s a tough district,” Hitt explained. “Then there are the National High School Coaches’ Association districts in April. If you place high in that, you can move on to nationals. If you place in that, you become an All-American.”