Big Orange debuts Friday at “River Rumble”

State qualifier Clay Pilgreen returns to the Byrd wrestling team this winter.

The William Byrd wrestlers will take to the mats for the first time Friday night when they compete in the “River Rumble” tournament at Staunton River High School.

The “Rumble” was originally scheduled for Saturday, but moved to Friday due to Staunton River hosting a state tournament football game Saturday afternoon. The Eagles will take on Heritage in a state Class 3 semifinal game.

The River Rumble will be a one-day tournament on Friday, beginning with weigh-ins at 10:30 am. Wrestling will begin at 11:30 am and continue until conclusion.

The Big Orange opens the season with a 21-man team, coached by Thomas Kessler and Ronnie Wood. The Terriers have no seniors on the team and only four juniors. The young squad has five sophomores and a dozen freshmen.

“Our numbers are up from 11 kids to 21, which is the most we have had in years,” said Kessler.   “Barring injury we should be able to fill a full lineup.  We have no seniors on the team, which means this team will be together for a while and has a chance to be a good team.”

The top returnee is junior Clay Pilgreen, who made the state tournament last year. He’ll be at 120 pounds.

“His goals are to be at the top of the podium this year,” said Kessler.

Zach Figart, a sophomore, is at 195 after posting 20 wins as a freshman while wrestling up a weight class.

“He has put on a lot of muscle and should be a top guy at his weight,” said Kessler.

Other returnees who did well last winter include sophomore Josh Moore at 170, junior Zach Barnett at 182 and junior Trinity Otey at 138. Freshman looking to make a mark include Jerze Webb at 145 and Derek Burton at 160, who were both middle school placers.

“I expect them to have success right off the bat,” said Kessler. “I’m excited to see how we will grow as the season goes along.”

Byrd will have a home tri-match next Wednesday, December 6th, at 6 pm. Northside and Salem will join the Terriers on the orange and maroon mats.

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