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Six wrestlers claim conference, sub-region titles

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By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE –– Kids have been rolling around on the mats since December. But the real wrestling season opened this past weekend.

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Grapplers across the state took their first steps toward what they hoped would be a final destination of a state tournament berth as conference and sub-regional events took place Friday and Saturday.

At the Conference 24 tournament at Carroll County, the Cavaliers’ Brennan Vaught and Caxton Vaught walked away as champions. Grayson County got championships from Will Anders, Brant Cummins and Will Lawrence at the 2A West southern sub-regional in Independence while Joshua Spurlin claimed a title for Galax at the 1A West’s eastern sub-regional Friday at Rural Retreat.

Brennan Vaught (27-7), a senior, had little trouble winning the Conference 24 title at 120 pounds, pinning Cade Compton of Pulaski County in a mere 31 seconds to reach the finals. Vaught racked up a 15-0 lead midway through the second period to score a technical fall of William Fleming’s Hunter Huddleston.

Caxton Vaught (23-6), a sophomore, earned his conference title at 145 pounds with a pair of pins, sticking Bassett’s Blake Eames 27 seconds into the semifinals, then topping William Fleming’s Earl Ivey by fall in 3:02.

Eli Busick reached the finals for Carroll at 152 pounds but lost the title to Robert Henderson of William Fleming.

The top three finishers in each weight class advance to this weekend’s Region 4A West tournament at Amherst County. Fourth-place finishers in select weight classes will also advance. For the Cavaliers, third-place finishers were Trenton Burnette (106), Brock Burnette (132) and Ryan Sitterly (285).

Carroll County held off William Byrd 107.5-105 for third place in the team standings. Fleming won the team title with 177 points, well ahead of runner-up Bassett’s 148.

2A WEST

Saturday at Grayson County, the host Blue Devils were 3-for-3 in the finals with Will Anders, Brant Cummins and Will Lawrence picking up championships. All wrestlers in the tournament will move on to the 2A West regionals at Grundy, with Saturday’s action setting up the seeding for the regionals.

Anders (23-5) pinned Glenvar’s Caleb Shelton in 3:02 in the 120-pound semis, then scored a pin of Dan River’s Willard Moshenek in the title bout.

Cummins improved to 23-5 by winning the 126-pound class with a semifinal pin of Marion’s Jake Robinson followed by a major decision of Dan River’s Frank Blevins.

At 152 pounds, Lawrence won for the 33rd time against one loss to earn his title. The VMI-bound Lawrence pinned Isaiah Witcher of Chatham and Cole Wyattington of Dan River to get into the finals, where he handed Marion’s Ryan Marston just his third loss of the year with a major decision.

Cole Anders placed 3rd at 106 while fourth-place finishers for the Blue Devils were Cameron Fuzy (113), Dawson Allen (132), Gage Peeples (170) and Adam Carrico (285).

1A WEST

Galax and the eastern half of the region got a jump on much of the rest of Virginia with their Friday tournament at Rural Retreat.

Joshua Spurlin and Matt Criner reached the finals for the Maroon Tide, with defending state champion Spurlin improving to 20-5 by claiming the 132-pound title. Criner settled for second at 220.

Christian Rojas (138) and Quintin Brackens (160) placed third, Jake Snyder was fourth at 182, Peyton Price finished fifth at 170 pounds and Dalton Biggs claimed sixth at 145.

The top six in each weight class will wrestle in the 1A West tournament this weekend at Castlewood.