By Sports editor, Brian Hoffman
The Big Orange Classic wrestling tournament is scheduled for this weekend but it isn’t as big as usual. The tournament, normally held over two days, will be a one day affair on Saturday with wrestling beginning at 9 am.
The reason for the change is the continuing construction at William Byrd High School. This year the Big Orange will be held in the middle school gym, just across the parking lot from the high school. A total of 18 teams are scheduled to attend.
“The high school is currently under construction and power will be getting turned on and off during our winter break so we had to find a new home for the tournament this year,” said Byrd coach Thomas Kessler. “Thankfully the middle school is allowing us to use their gyms and we are very thankful for their hospitality. Next year we will be back in the high school and we will have it over two days.”
Byrd is coming off a sixth place finish in the Titan Toughman Tournament, held over two days at Hidden Valley High School last weekend. Glenvar, a Class 2 school, finished first among 27 schools entered.
“We really grew a lot from week one to week two of the season,” said Kessler.
Byrd had three third place finishers, Dominic Pascoe at 120, Stephen Underwood at 157 and Aiden Lucas at 215.
Pascoe and Underwood both made the semifinals before losing, then wrestled back to win the consolation bracket. Pascoe beat Mason Hylton of Glenvar in the consolation final with a 2:50 pin to improve his record to 6-2.
Underwood won a 7-3 decision over Thomas Maxwell of Rockbridge in the 157 third place match. Stephen is now 8-3.
At 215, Lucas lost to Dalton Oxley of Lord Botetourt in the quarterfinals but rallied back to win four straight matches in the consolation round, including a 7-2 win over Abdullah Mastrogiovanni of Blacksburg in the third place match.
Darin Witcher also made the semifinals at 106 and finished fourth. Gage Cockran took a fifth at 126 while Curtis Dillon, at 132, and Landon Barber, at 165, took sixth places.
“Curtis Dillon and Landon Barber both were super impressive, only wrestling in their second tournaments of their careers,” said Kessler. “They both placed sixth out of 27 teams. Both guys have worked so hard and listened to coaching well, it’s a testament to how they practice every day.”
After the Big Orange the Terriers will be at Northside next Wednesday. Then, after Christmas, they’re entered in a holiday tournament at Heritage on December 29 and 30.