Rappahannock County High School is proudly boasting of its tenacious and talented All-State Panther wrestler, Dylan Hitt, who brought home a seventh place win in the Virginia Single A State Wrestling Championship on February 17-18 in Salem.
“In the first match, I wrestled the Region A runner up and tech-falled him 20 seconds into the second period,” Hitt said. “That was pretty fast – at total of 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Then, I had to wait six hours to wrestle the returning champ, Dale Conner [Floyd County]. I wrestled like crap against him and ended up losing 15-3.
To place, Hitt had to beat Michael Stokes. The familiar Strasburg opponent was one Hitt had hoped to meet again. The two wrestled in the Region B tournament where Hitt bested Stokes for the second time in the season. “I was hoping to go up by four against him again, like I said after Regionals. At first, I was winning 12-0, but with 15 seconds left, Stokes grabbed my head in a desperation move and put me on my back. I ended up being out. Final score was 15-5. I won, but I didn’t get my additional four-point spread.”
On Saturday, Hitt wrestled Marvin Escobar of Manassas Park in the consolation quarter-finals. “I knew I was only guaranteed top eight at that point,” Hitt said (the top eight wrestlers receive All-State honors). “I ended up going into the third period down 2-4. He took a shot, and I tried to funk through it. He ended up pinning me anyway. I lost, so I had to drop down to seventh-eighth.” In that match, Hitt beat Region A champ Aaron Curry of Northumberland 10-2, earning seventh place.
“Dylan wrestled well,” coach Galen Weyer said. “He wrestled a returning state champion and former third place finisher. He should have placed fifth in the tournament. The brackets set-up made the tournament very difficult, and he wrestled tough matches early.”
State wrestling tournaments are the epitome of challenge in any athletic endeavor, but there’s often more to the challenge than just the heat of battle. “I was sick the first day and really felt it during my second match,” Hitt said, noting that the atmosphere of the event was another obstacle. “There’s a lot of waiting,” he said, “so it gets really boring. But it’s exciting when you’re wrestling. It would’ve been thrilling to have had a lot of teammates there, but by yourself, there’s a lot of sleeping and waiting around.”
Even though Hitt was the only Rapp wrestler at the tournament, the Panther team team did not come in last in the point standings.
“We got 46th out of 53 because of my final standing,” Hitt said. “Overall, however, I was actually upset. Honestly, I know I could place higher. Next year, Justin Street [Buchanan County] is the man to beat. I didn’t get to wrestle him this year, but he won this tournament.”
Coach Weyer noted that there are around 100 Single A schools in the state. “We finished in the better half of that,” he said. “Our team succeeded in our goals. Our goal was to turn some heads in the district, and we did that. Multiple coaches in our district mentioned how much better our team wrestled. Also, we faced a personal shortage yet remained competitive. If we’d had three more wrestlers, we could have finished in the middle of the district. My only hope for next year is that I improve as a coach as much as our kids improved at wrestling.”
And as for Hitt: “Right now,” the wrestler said. “I cannot wait until next year. I think I can win it!”