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Fauquier continues region wrestling dominance with 4A West title

Saturday, Feb. 13 | By Jeff Malmgren
Garrett Tingen and the Fauquier Falcons won the Class 4A West Region title Saturday. -Fauquier Times Staff File Photo/Randy Litzinger
It has almost become redundant to say “The region champion Fauquier High wrestling team.”

The Falcons won a title Saturday for the seventh time in the past eight years, making for a predictable day at John Champe High, which hosted the Class 4A West Region tournament.

At least Fauquier County's other teams provided a little intrigue. The Kettle Run Cougars produced their first individual region champion in program history while the Liberty Eagles earned their most state bids since Wes Hawkins became coach.

Those accomplishments, nonetheless, paled in comparison to Fauquier winning yet another region title as a team. With the help of three individual champions, the Falcons defeated runner-up Freedom, 202-153.5, while Liberty placed sixth (97.5) and Kettle Run took 12th (67.5).

Frequently repeating as region champion hasn't become mundane for the Falcons, either.

“It's huge,” Fisher said. “Still exciting. It's a new set of guys every year.

“We talk a lot about being grateful of the opportunity,” he said. “The fact that we have the kind of team that can come in here and do something like this, it's an awesome thing to be a part of. So capitalize on that opportunity, be grateful for it and go out and make it happen because it is a special thing.”

Fauquier won four consecutive Class AA Region II titles, 2010-2013, and then won the 4A North Region championship last season after placing second in 2014.

“You don't want to be the guy to mess it up; to break the” winning tradition, Falcons junior Ty Foster said. “It's a Fauquier family, that just passes down year after year. We lose guys [to graduation] but then we gain guys, and we work just as hard every single year. We do it for the guys that graduated as well as for ourselves.”

Winning the region, however, is not the Falcons' ultimate goal. They hope to match their success from last season, when they won the 2015 4A state championship.

“What's really important is states,” Fauquier senior Garrett Tingen. “I just think our team is ready for it. We've been pushing so hard. … We're definitely not cocky. That's just our goal.”

Eight Fauquier wrestlers placed among the top four in their weight classes Saturday to qualify for the state meet, which will be Feb. 19-20 at the Salem Civic Center.

“If everyone is firing on all cylinders … we can be right there up at the top,” Foster said. “I don't expect anything less from us.”

Foster was one of three Fauquier wrestlers who became a multiple-time region champion Saturday. He won the 126-pound title while Tingen won the 160 championship and Kyle Roche won the 138 title.

Tingen dominated his finals match by building a 9-0 lead with a bunch of back points before pinning Jefferson Forest's Taylor Goolsby in 2 minutes, 44 seconds.

“Once I turn a guy one time, I get the feeling I can pin him,” Tingen said. “So I taste that and I want to go for it.”

Curiously, though, he felt anxious prior to the match despite having won two region championships and a two state champion prior to Saturday.

“I was super nervous,” he said. “Anything can happen in wrestling. Anybody can get beat. … I had to tell myself that I'll be OK.”

Foster exacted similar dominance in the 126-pound final. He defeated Sherando's Mike Duffy, 14-3, by often exploiting Duffy's shot attempts and scoring points off them.

“It feels great,” Foster said. “Last year I won the region but it didn't feel the same. This year there's something extra there. … I was three times as nervous and it feels three times as good to win.”

Last season, Foster went on to place third in the state meet as a 113-pounder.

“I didn't finish as well as I wanted to at states,” he said. “Coming in this year, I've never been more motivated and I've never been more fired up to win.”

Roche, meanwhile, needed overtime Saturday to win the 138 final, 6-4, over Amherst's Tatum Tyree. Roche landed a shot 33 seconds into the 1-minute overtime period to break a 4-4 tie.

Earlier, as the buzzer sounded at the end of the third period, Tyree grabbed Roche's leg and nearly maneuvered for a takedown, but the clock saved the Fauquier junior and forced overtime.

“It was an awakening,” said Roche, who won a region title in 2014, but placed second last season.

“Motivating,” he said of struggling last winter. “You want to win it [after] coming so close.”

Also in the finals, Fauquier's Kyle Budd finished as the 113-pound runner-up after losing to James Wood's Aaron Black, 4-2, and Caleb Strum placed second after losing to Liberty Christian's Chard Cantrell, 8-7, at 145 pounds.

Elsewhere for Fauquier, Franco Camarca finished third at 152 pounds by defeating Liberty's Jordan Florence, 3-2, in the consolation finals, and Clifford Harrison took third at 170 by beating Loudoun County's Jack Scalio, 10-2, in the consolation finals.

Joe DelGallo placed fourth at 120 pounds after losing to Woodgrove's Derek Shockey, 3-1, in the consolation finals. Camden Franklin placed fifth at 132 pounds with a 9-7 win over George Washington's Joshua Hughes in their fifth-/sixth-place match. Thomas Palmer took sixth at 220 pounds after losing to Loudoun County's Roberto Martinez, 8-0, in their fifth-/sixth-place match. And Rob Patchett went 1-2 at 182 pounds but did not place.

For Kettle Run, Caden Lody led the way by winning its first region championship in history.

“The program is starting to build up,” he said, “and I just am so glad I can start that off.”

He won the 120-pound final by pinning Freedom's Sean Crumbliss in 2:44. Lody entered the day with a 0-3 record against Crumbliss (including an offseason match), but he dominated the rematch Saturday.

“It's so exhilarating and amazing,” Lody said. “There's no feeling like it – winning a wrestling match of that magnitude.”

Ryan Schwind also qualified for state by placing third at 195 pounds. In the consolation finals, he defeated Loudoun Valley's Zach David via pin in 2:48.

Elsewhere for Kettle Run, Justin Hall placed fifth after beating James Wood's Josh Arce, 11-5, in the 106-pound fifth-/sixth-place match, while Will Morris went 1-2 at 285 and Justyn Bush went 0-2 at 126.

For Liberty, Cordell Smith led the way by finishing as the 195-pound runner-up. He made the leap from a sixth-place region finish last season to experiencing the atmosphere of wrestling in the region finals Saturday.

“It feels pretty good having the spotlight on you,” he said. “Everyone knows your name and who you are.”

Smith lost the final to Amherst's Jeffrey Allen, 13-5.

“He did well, but you run into the best kid in the gym” during the finals, Hawkins said. “That [Allen] kid's got credentials out of this world.”

Also earning state bids for Liberty were Florence, Brian Storey and Julian Sams. Storey placed fourth at 182 pounds after losing to Rock Ridge's Griffin Oberg, 10-0, in the consolation final, while Sams finished fourth at 285 after losing to James Wood's Adam Vadell via pin (4:01) in the consolation final.

“It's good,” Hawkins said of having four wrestlers advance to state. “Five [state-qualifiers] was the number [goal] since the first day of practice, and fifth as a team. … But that's setting the bar high.”

Elsewhere, Liberty's Ricky Ryan placed fifth at 126 pounds by pinning George Washington's James Carter in 3:46, while Patrick Ewell went 2-2 at 145 pounds, Cameron Yates went 2-2 at 170, Tyler Raymond went 2-2 at 220 and Daniel Sennott went 1-2 at 106.

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