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With move to 4A, Fauquier wrestling no longer worries about Christiansburg

Friday, Dec. 13 | By Fred Hodge
Matt Raines began the wrestling season Saturday by winning the 138-pound championship at the Elite Opener. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
It's only December.

Post season glory in wrestling still needs to take shape and be earned.

That's a message Fauquier High wrestling coach Doug Fisher reminds his team every day.

"My goals are really about the team in the short term," Fisher began. "Every day we're coming into practice and I am telling the kids they should have the goal of getting one percent better for the day. If we take care of those things, then the rest will take care of itself."

Fauquier's wrestling program has long been a power at the district, region and state level. The past success leads to quick assumptions the Falcons will be a power again following an eighth place state finish last season.

While Fauquier should field a strong squad, coach Fisher cautions many things need to fall into place before he turns his attention to post-season prognostication.

The Virginia High School League's new alignment increases the number of state wrestling champions to six. The change means the Falcons will no longer be chasing Christiansburg on the state level. Christiansburg, winner of 12 consecutive state team titles, is now the monster of Class 3A, while Fauquier is a 4A school.

That's the good news.

The absence of Christiansburg doesn't mean Fauquier automatically is a big dog in 4A. In fact, 25 miles to the south down route 29 lies a new threat in Eastern View, which placed third in state last winter and returns 11 wrestlers from that crew.

"They'll be our primary competition," Fisher agreed, noting Eastern View is also a member with Fauquier in Conference 22 and Region 4A North.

Fauquier opened its campaign Saturday at the Skyline Duals, placing third in a strong 12-school field. Robinson and Colonial Forge were first and second, respectively. Fauquier defeated Great Bridge, Battlefield, Benedictine and two highly-regarded West Virginia schools.

"It's a very good indicator of what you need to work on. You know where you are right off the bat," Fisher said.

Daniel Ariola (113 pounds), Matt Raines (138) and Garrett Tingen (145) all went 5-0 to win their weight divisions. Clifford Harris (152) and Vito Carmarca (160) both took third, while Justin Sanders was fourth at 285. Kyle Roche was fifth at 126 and Jake Hilleary seventh at 120.

"I basically said a 'B,''' Fisher said when asked how he rated his Falcons' opening performance.

Fauquier will host Jefferson Forest, Freedom (South Riding), Wakefield (Arlington), Patriot and Battlefield Saturday in the annual Falcon Duals.

The meet starts at 10 a.m., and will likely run to 5 p.m.

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