Matoaca (4-1) The Warriors on the other hand, are not as balanced of a team they have been in the past. That is because...
Anthony Helm works a choke hold.

Anthony Helm works a choke hold.

Matoaca (4-1)

The Warriors on the other hand, are not as balanced of a team they have been in the past. That is because they have nine new wrestlers in their 2015-16 line-up and four of them had no wrestling experience previous to this year. Sam Braswell (106), Brandon Woody (113), Noah Roulo (126), Bryson Woody (152), Alvonte Jones (195) and Anthony “Shaun” Helm (295) went undefeated on the day.

While Helm had to leave early for a visit to Virginia Tech, his team still performed in his absence in the last two matches of the day. Helm, a two-time defending heavyweight state champion is also being heavily recruited by UVA. The returners did their jobs, posting great days, while a newcomer, Noah Roulo also had his day in the sun.

“We had a lot of close matches today,” said coach Hal Miles. “We got out of the plan and panicked, we expect new guys to do things like that. We are trying to break the bad habits before the conference tournament.”

For the two-time defending state champions, expectations are high, but must be metered as a new coach moved in with a plethora of experience as he continues to evaluate and tweak the talent that Matoaca possesses on the mat.

“We just can’t get pinned,” Miles said. “You’re never going to get good at this sport unless you go the distance. The longer we hang in there, the more opportunity we’ll have to win.”

Miles said that while his team wasn’t where it needed to be for a dual format, he is confident in his team to bring home a Conference 12 championship.

Dual scores:
Matoaca 49, Varina 21
Matoaca 72, Meadowbrook 6
Matoaca 53, Highland Springs 24
Matoaca 53, LC Bird 24
Prince George 39, Matoaca 31

Alex Alford (right) taking on  Louis Wynn in Conference 12 duel.

Alex Alford (right) taking on Louis Wynn in Conference 12 duel.

L.C. Bird (3-2)

As coach Darrin Zoller enters his third year in the program, improvement continues to follow for L.C. Bird. Several athletes had excellent days including team leader Alex Alford (138), Jonas Kee (132), Nasir Mitchell (120) and Jamal Tuppince (220) all finished their days undefeated. The Skyhawks placed third in the duals.

“We’ve gotten experience and have had very talented wrestlers,” Zoller said. “But we haven’t had the same team cohesion as we do now. The bench gets loud and supports each other – we haven’t had that in quite a while.”

Alford is L.C. Bird’s top returner along with Mitchell. Alford qualified for the 5A South Region tournament after being Conference 12 runner-up at 138 pounds. He has lost just once this season at the Mathews Invitational in the 138 pound final. Mitchell had a productive off season and has shown improvement even from day-to-day. Mitchell lost to Prince George’s Aaron Friedhoff early last week, but Saturday rebounded to beat him by points.

Jonas Kee had two quality wins over Prince George’s Jared Davis and Matoaca’s Markus Taborn. Jamal Tuppince did not finish the day out with an injury, but has not lost this season. He will likely face off with Varina’s Charles Hall for the Conference 12 title.

Also expected to contribute well for the Skyhawks is 106 pound Curtis Anderson, who Zoller expects to place in the top four at conference and hang tough in the region.

Dual Scores:
LC Bird 40, Varina 34
LC Bird 47, Highland Springs 34
LC Bird 48, Meadowbrook 33
Prince George 44, LC Bird 19
Matoaca 53, LC Bird 24

Zion Jones maneuvers for a pin.

Zion Jones maneuvers for a pin.

Meadowbrook (0-5)

Perhaps the youngest team in Conference 12, the Meadowbrook has just two seniors on first year coach John Henley’s squad.

Led by Rivers Elliott (120), a two-time state qualifier and transfer from Ocean Lakes, Jacob Grabham (113) and Jasmine Weaver (106), Meadowbrook’s strength is at the lower weight classes.

Kevin Williams (170) and freshman Javonte Tuppince (285) provide muscle later on.

“The whole team fought today, which I’m very proud of,” Henley said. “But we’re a team of the future; we got outmuscled and out-experienced today, but that experience will come in time.”

Tuppince, the brother of Jamal Tuppince for L.C. Bird is interesting. As a freshman he earned All-Conference 12 honorable mention on the Monarch’s offensive line and displayed much raw power in the duals on Saturday.

“He’ll be ready by his senior year,” said Henley.

Dual Scores:
Highland Springs 48, Meadowbrook 24
Matoaca 72, Meadowbrook 6
Prince George 70, Meadowbrook 9
Varina 36, Meadowbrook 24
LC Bird 48, Meadowbrook 33