BEDFORD — Wilson Memorial and Rockbridge County dueled all day for the Region 3C Wrestling championship on Saturday at Liberty-Bedford High School.
Coming down to the wire, the Wildcats edged the Green Hornets by a single point (181-180) to take the team title.
Despite the close loss, the Hornets had a huge day on the mat, with junior Chase Wilson winning the individual championship at 182 pounds over Liberty Christian freshman Caleb Davidson. The wins for Wilson on the day improved his overall record to 35-4 on the season.
The first four place finishers qualify for the Class 3 Tournament in two weeks at the Salem Civic Center. The fifth place finishers will serve as alternates if any of the top four are unable to attend the state tournament.
Taking runner-up honors for the Hornets was junior Spencer Brandt in the 132 final.
Wilson senior Matthew Holmes (40-7) was third at 138 and junior Coby Sprouse took third at 220.
Also qualifying for states in fourth place for the Hornets was junior Jacob Talarico at 106, junior Derek Wakefield at 145 and junior heavyweight Cameron Sprouse.
With such a narrow loss for the team title, Wilson coach Chris Robinson was understandably disappointed in coming so close.
“We told the team that it didn’t fall on anyone’s shoulders,” Robinson said. “If we had wrestled just a little better we would have won, but we knew that Rockbridge was a real tough team with a lot of tournament firepower. Chase (Wilson) had a real good day and was real dominant in the finals. He had a clean day all around.”
Fort Defiance senior Gabe Stracener came through with a runner-up finish at 152 pounds, while sophomore teammate Wyatt Fitzgerald took fourth for the Indians at 113 to also qualify for state tourney action.
“All in all we’ve had a good season,” said Fort coach Gary Kinzer. “I’m proud and actually think we overachieved — I can’t be upset with what we did today.”
Waynesboro junior Michael Smith placed fourth at 195 to make the state field for the Little Giants. Smith will repeat as a qualifier to states for the Little Giants.
“The guys went out and left it all on the mat with no reservations,” said Little Giants’ coach Kole Showalter.
Fifth place finishers who will serve as alternates to the state tournament included Wilson freshman Brayden Estes (113), Waynesboro junior Kamren Hale (120), Wilson sophomore Brian Habel (126), Fort Defiance sophomore Coy Brown (145), Alex Plonsky of Fort Defiance (160) and Wilson junior Marshall Hubbard (152).
Plonsky’s 9-8 decision in the quarterfinals was perhaps the most exciting match of the day as he came from behind in the final seconds for victory.