William Byrd will be well-represented when the Salem Civic Center plays host to the Virginia High School League Class 1, 2, and 3 state wrestling tournaments this weekend.
Action begins on the civic center floor with eight mats Friday morning for the first round. At 1 pm there will be quarterfinals for Class 1 through 3 and first round consolation matches for Class 3. Class 1 and 2 tournaments have the top three from each region while Class 3 has the top four. Consolation matches for all three classes will begin at 4:30 pm.
On Saturday morning semi-finals begin at 10 am, followed by consolations semifinals at noon and consolation finals at 1:30 pm. The championship matches will begin at 5 pm.
The Big Orange will be represented by six wrestlers after the Terriers finished fourth in the 12 team Region 3D tournament at Northside High School last Saturday. Staunton River won the tournament with 244 points to outscore second place Lord Botetourt with 222. Christiansburg was third with 192 and Byrd had 152 ½ to edge out Northside for fourth by two points.
“We finished up fourth in the Region with a relatively young and inexperienced team,” said Byrd coach Thomas Kessler.
The top four in the region qualified for the state and Byrd will send six. The Terriers had four in the region finals and came out with one champion, Xavier Preston at 160. He beat Jacob Baier of Christiansburg in the final, 3-2, to remain undefeated at 26-0.
“Xavier will look to keep his undefeated season alive at 160,” said Kessler. “If he gets to the finals he will, more than likely, match up with Nick Vafiadis of New Kent who is looking for his fourth state title.”
Dominic Pascoe of Byrd finished second in the region at 120 and he is now 22-9. Dominic lost to undefeated J.B. Dragovich of Hidden Valley in the final.
At 195 Aiden Lucas finished second, falling to Dalton Oxley of Lord Botetourt in the championship match. Aiden is 17-10.
Hunter Richards was defeated by Aiden Lacoma of Christiansburg in the 285 pound final, finishing second. Hunter is now 24-4 and in the semifinal round he pinned Preston Lonker of Cave Spring in 51 seconds for his 100th high school win.
In the consolation finals Gage Cockran beat Caleb Fitchett of Carroll County in the 113 pound third place match with a 22 second pin to make the state tournament. Bricen Lancaster finished fourth at 145 to round out the Byrd group of state qualifiers.
Finishing in the top six, but failing to advance, were Aden Lamay Lee with a fifth at 170 , Stephen Underwood with a fifth at 152 and Brycen Nielsen with a sixth place at 182.
The state tournament is back to a two-day affair after trimming the event to one day last year due to the pandemic. Also, fans were not permitted in the Salem Civic Center last year and this year it’s back to normal, so expect lots of noise and excitement. Tickets are now on-sale on line.