Coming off a fifth place state finish in 2012-2013, Matoaca wrestling isn’t settling for less than the best in 2013.
“The team looks pretty promising,” said head coach Michael Moore. “We have a good mix of veterans and newcomers.”
Last year’s team featured state champions Corbin Ramos (195) who graduated and Neal Richards (138) who returns for his senior season. Another strong team this year means that there is the potential for the Warriors to repeat or surpass last year’s performance.
Richards returns for the Warriors as the two-time defending Central District, Central Region and AAA State Champion with a career record of 100-3. Several major wrestling programs are interested in his services such as Stanford, North Carolina State and Maryland.
Senior Kyle Gordon (132) is a fearsome opponent as well, bringing a 119-38 record to the table with several colleges looking at him as well in Virginia; Virginia Tech and Lock Haven.
Dylan Schuster, another senior, rounds out a formidable top three for the Warriors. Though wrestling in the 113 category, Moore stated that he has tremendous size and power for his weight class. Michael Hundley (120), Travis Evans (170), Adam Wilmer (126) and Anthony Helm (285) are young and should keep Matoaca competitive for years to come.
Thomas Dale wrestling
A program with a great history is Thomas Dale, and the star of their show in 2013-2014 is Corey Leonard (138).
A junior, Leonard has amassed a 71-1 record. Fourth year head coach Sean Powers said that Leonard was the most experienced wrestler on the team, and it shows.
“You have to coach the kid, not the wrestler,” said Powers, entering his eighth season overall at Thomas Dale. “He’s a technical guru.”
Though an underclassmen, Leonard is fielding interest from several schools, with Maryland and Old Dominion in the mix.
The 2013-2014 Knights are a young squad overall but has senior leadership in Jonathan Daniels, Pallis English, Zack Life and Trey Young, who wrestles at 145 and plays defensive end for the Knights despite not being the stereotypical size for the job.
“Young is very athletic,” explained Powers. “He’s exciting to watch and has a funky wrestling style,” the coach continued. “Trey does a lot of grabs and rolls instead of wrestling more traditionally.”
Powers stated that the Knights are trying to fill out a full line-up and has seen numbers of guys interested go down in recent years.
Powers will look to pilot a young squad to continued success this season.
After a recent victory against Colonial Heights, first year head coach Jeff Sargent was proud of his team’s performance and sees improvement in the program since he wrestled as a Monarch, graduating in 2007.
“No surrender, no retreat, no regrets” is Meadowbrook’s motto this season, and they have worked to exhibit that thus far in 2013-2014. Sargent is a military veteran in the army, serving in Operation New Dawn and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Senior Maurice Thrower (220) has impressed early in the season. After taking home All-5A Region First Team honors as a defensive tackle in football, he’s also excelled on the mat.
Sargent is impressed that despite his size, Thrower wrestles like a 130-pounder because of his agility.
Seniors Shammah Waller, Wosue Rodriguez and Rudy Artueta are team leaders for the Monarchs, and junior Johnathan Arueta has started the season 2-0. Rodriguez (140) is applauded by his coach for his skill at chain wrestling- anything to make a move to keep the match going.
Meadowbrook will build on a solid start to the season.
The L.C. Bird Skyhawks have started the 2013-2014 at 2-0, and the team placed third at the recent Manchester Invitational. First year head coach Darrin Zoller is looking to lead an enthusiastic bunch to rebuild a program that has had success in the past.
“The team chemistry is great,” explained Zoller. “These guys grind it out at practice for team position, but support each other the whole way.”
The team has been led by three seniors in Khalil Kimbrough (195), Tyler Kozlowski (285) and Tyler Kubicki (145).
Kimbrough is a strong, physical wrestler with good technique. The strides that he’s made helped him to win his weight class at the Manchester Invitational.
“Khalil picks up what we teach in practice pretty well,” said Zoller. “He’s a leader, and helps to motivate other wrestlers.”
Kubicki is a wrestler without quit, and after losing his first match at the Manchester Invitational, he came back to win his last four matches of the day, defeating the combatant that beat him earlier in the day. Kozlowski, the team’s heavyweight, is a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Bird’s goal this season was to have a competitor in every weight class and that goal may still come to fruition after some injuries heal and line-up shuffling occurs. The Skyhawks’ program is on the rise.