Stonewall Jackson trio crowned state champs

SALEM, Feb. 18 — One new phenom joined two old hands at the top of the podium at last week's Group A State Wrestling Tournament as Stonewall Jackson seniors Lucas Ryan and Ricky Tisinger were joined by freshman Nic Campbell as state wrestling champions.
In addition, Central junior Skylar Wolf and Strasburg freshman Hunter Dean made it all the way to the finals before finishing runner-up in the state in their respective weight classes.
“I'm proud of them,” said Stonewall Jackson head coach Jerry Franklin of Ryan and Tisinger. “They've been working hard all year and I'm sorry to lose them.”
After Tisinger won his second consecutive state title, wrestling this season in the 195-pound division, it was up to Ryan to duplicate the feat in the last match of the night, the heavyweight weight class (285).
“There was that pressure of course,” Ryan said. “Also, I had the added pressure of staying undefeated.”
After an early first-period takedown, Ryan pinned Eastside's Trevor Belcher using a half-nelson with 57 seconds left in the second period. Ryan advanced to the finals with a pin using a lateral drop on his semifinal opponent.
“Once I get on top, I feel OK about the match,” Ryan said.
On his path to the finals, Ryan pinned Ricky Myers (Central/Wise), Laquan Hairston (Northampton) and Christian Robbins (Lee/Jonesville) in succession.
The Stonewall senior definitely plans to wrestle at the next level and is looking at Appalachian State among his college choices.
To claim his second straight title, Tisinger had to conquer a familiar foe.
In one of the best matches of the finals, Tisinger edged Doug Sizemore of William Monroe in the third overtime, in a repeat of the Region B final.
After at tactical first period which remained scoreless, Tisinger gained a point in the second period, only to see Sizemore gain a 2-1 lead with a takedown in the third.
Later in the period, with the championship on the line, Tisinger escaped for the tying point.
After a minute overtime period, the two 195-pounders remained stalemated.
In the second overtime, which lasts only 30 seconds, Tisinger gained the escape point he needed, and then had to fend off Sizemore in the third overtime.
“Everytime we wrestle, it's a great match — this is the third time this year and he gets tougher every time,” Tisinger said.
Tisinger constantly had to fight through a bloody lip, which followed him throughout the tournament.
Tisinger finished the season with an impressive 54-1 record.
Like Ryan, Tisinger is planning on a college wrestling career, currently leaning toward D-III McDaniel College in Maryland.
Campbell, in his first varsity season, stormed through the 113-pound field, decisioning Fabian Rodriguez of Manassas Park, 7-3, in a repeat of the Region B title match.
Campbell got off to a fast start with a takedown and reversal in period one, and picked up three more points in the second period and held on in the third.
“I was able to turn [Rodriguez],” Campbell said. ”After the first takedown, I felt like I had control.
Campbell finished the season with a 51-1 record.
“It was a lot of hard work,” Campbell said. “My parents got me in some camps and my new coach (Trey Kirkland) helped me a lot. I'm determined to get another state title at 120 pounds next year.”
In the lightweight final (106 pounds) fellow Strasburg freshman Hunter Dean lost a tough 5-1 decision to Parry McCluer's Corbin Woods, the Region C champion.
Dean entered the third period down just 2-1, but Woods came through with an escape and a takedown in the third to win the title match.
“I learned that I can't let nerves get the best of me,” said a disappointed, but determined Dean, after the championship match. “I lost 2-0 earlier in the season to him — He's stronger than me, but winning in the semifinals (in his first varsity season) isn't good enough.”
Dean advanced to the finals with an exciting 4-3 decision over William Monroe's Kyle Biesecker and finished 48-5 for the season.
In the 132-pound final, Wolf was pinned by Grundy's Justin Street in the second period.
Wolf advanced to the finals by pinning Tyler Matthews of Galax in the second period. Wolf finished his season with a 28-8 record.
Also for Stonewall, Steven Salinas finished fourth overall, winning a 7-3 decision in the consolation semifinals at 182-pounds, before losing to Manassas Park's Marcus Munoz in the third-place match.
Ryan Pugh also finished fourth at 152 pounds, decisioning Eastside's Jeremy Mullins 5-1 in the consolation semifinals.
Strasburg's Michael Capone finished fifth in the 126-pound division.
In team competition, Stonewall narrowly missed picking up the third-place trophy, missing by just a point and a half behind Rural Retreat. The Generals collected 89 points while Strasburg was sixth overall with 83 points.
Grundy edged Bull Run District champion Manassas Park (161.5 to 158.5) for the team title.
“That's the first time we've ever finished ahead of Strasburg at the state meet,” Coach Franklin said.

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