Rappahannock County High School’s wrestlers took their prowl to Clarke County to confront seven other schools in last Saturday’s Bull Run District tournament and returned with several personal triumphs (and a seventh-place team finish).
The highest accolades went to freshman David Smoot, who earned first place for the day.
“I was having a really good day,” Smoot said. “It was the best I’d wrestled all season. To start, I’d had a 10-7 upset with Strasburg.”
“Definitely, the most impressive thing about the tournament,” said senior Matthew Lombardi, “was when David Smoot went up against the Strasburg kid who was supposed to dominate him. They started off just going and going against each other. When it was down to third period, Smoot was up by two. The guy cut him to try and get a takedown, but Smoot spun around, put him on defense and won the match.”
His win against Strasburg put Smoot in the finals against stalwart opponent Josh Savoie from William Monroe. “I originally lost 8-4 to him back just a couple of weeks ago,” Smoot said. “I’m small for my weight class, and I’m a freshman. Plus, since I lost to him before, he probably thought it would be an easy win. I’m the underdog and I always get the comebacks.
“At the beginning of the match,” Smoot said, “Savoie got a takedown, and I got a mistake. Then I did one of my moves, the Chin Whip, on him. It’s a pinning move. I pinned him with six seconds left. Once they raised my arm, everyone just went into an uproar.”
As manager and fellow senior Britton Hipple put it: “My favorite part of the day was Smoot’s match. Almost the entire gym was rooting for him. The Central Woodstock coach couldn’t believe he was a freshman. He beat a 19-year-old senior with tons of experience. That was one of the big moments, but Smoot was humble about it. He took the win, walked off and had another match to prepare for.”
In addition to Smoot’s laudable triumphs, the Panther wrestlers tallied other impressive results for the day. Senior Pat Foley and junior Dylan Hitt earned second place. Lombardi finished fourth, while senior Zack Armor and freshman David Grove shared a fifth-place status. Senior Jesus Lucas brought back sixth place.
The Panthers will see even more intense competition this Saturday (Feb. 9) at the Regional Tournament in Strasburg.