Warren County Dominates Conference 28 Wrestling Tourney

Warren came into last Saturday’s conference 28 tournament as the underdogs to No. 2 state-ranked Brentsville. Despite winning six tournament titles this season is six tries and going 27-1 in dual meets, the ’Cats weren’t expected to be able to topple the Tigers, the only team to put a blemish on Warren County’s record.

But as the crowd filed out of Brentsville High School late Saturday afternoon, it was the Wildcats who were holding the conference championship trophy and posing for photos.

In dominating fashion, Warren County piled up 267.5 team points to easily out-distance runner-up Brentsville by 82.5 points.

Manassas Park finished third with 182 points and Skyline fourth with 164.

“I was definitely surprised on the margin of margin,” Warren County coach Matt Wadas said. “Brentsville is a great team and has some extremely talented wrestlers, but we had a great week of practice and came in with a little motivation with our only loss to them. Add on that they won last year in our gym — it made for some great wrestling.”

Warren County essentially wrapped up the title in the semifinals by sending 12 of their 14 grapplers to the championship finals.

In all, the Wildcats produced six champions, six runner-ups, and a third- place.

Earlier this week they got news that fifth-place finisher and alternate Colton Hoynoski also got into the 3A East Regional, so Warren will now be sending their entire team to the next round.

“The whole team is so happy,” said junior heavy-weight Nathan Johnson (38-2), who won the 285-pound title with a 5-1 win over Austin Rath of William Monroe. “We put twice as many in the finals as Brentsville and we were physical. We had a big lead and blew them out of the water. This win energizes us and makes us ready for the regionals.”

Also energizing the Wildcats and the large group of fans who followed them to Nokesville, was a pair of big wins in the championship finals. Freshman Dylan Becker started things off with a payback win at 106 over Skyline fellow freshman Brandon Ahlemann. Becker fell way behind Ahlemann in an earlier match this season before almost coming back with a pin late in the match.

Nevertheless, Becker lost the match 15-7.

In Saturday’s final Becker overcame an early 5-0 deficit to tie the match up and force an overtime period.

Becker managed a takedown and won the match 7-5 to fire up his team- mates and the Wildcats faithful.

“It did get the momentum going, and I like to get it started,” Becker said.

“I knew how [Ahlemann] was going to attack and I blocked all the stuff he threw at me.”

After Warren suffered championship match losses at 113, 120 and 126, the 132-pound match win by sophomore Bobby Hunger got the Wildcats pumped back up with a great comeback win over Collin Brady of Brentsville.

Trailing 3-0 heading into the final period, Hunger won a late scramble with a takedown and back points to post a dramatic 5-3 win.

“It was kind of all feel,” Hunger said of the scramble near the edge of the circle. “I just rolled through and he pulled me the other way. It worked. I knew I had the three and I knew I was up, so I held on as hard as I could.”

Hunger (37-5) hit the move with 50 seconds remaining and managed to hold Brady for back points until the final few seconds.

“Becker and Hunger both had huge victories for the team,” Wadas said. “It’s always great when you have a chance to avenge a loss. It fired the crowd up and the whole team. It was great seeing those kids who have really put in the work come out on top.”

“It means a lot,” Hunger said. “Last year I didn’t make it out of conference, now to win and beat Brentsville is amazing.”

Also winning his first conference championship was senior Michael White at 182.

White (36-5) scored a third period pin over James Binstead of Manassas Park in the finals.

“I wanted to win this so bad because this is my senior year ,” White said. “I just went all out.”

Another senior, Jack Kilgallen, also won his first title for the Wildcats with a win in the 195-pound match.

Kilgallen (23-11) avenged an earlier season defeat to Robert Streightiff of Culpeper with a 6-3 win in the finals.

“It was great winning the title,” Kilgallen said. “I really wanted to put up points for the team. Last year I took second and came up short, so this year I wanted to win conference. D.J. and Nathan are two of the best drilling partners you can have. They prepped me and I was excited we could all win together.”

Junior D.J. Almarode (35-7) also picked up a sweet win with his first period pin over Alexander Csontos of Culpeper in the finals of the 220-pound division.

“This feels great because I wasn’t able to wrestle in the conference last year,” said Almarode, who suffered an ankle injury late in the regular season last year. “Going to the regional as a No. 1 seed is awesome.”

Seth Jacobs earned a third-place at 170 for the Wildcats after losing a regular season rematch to Skyline’s Jacob Grady in the semifinals.

Earning seconds for Warren County were Hunter Jost (34-2), who lost for the second time this sea- son to John Carayiannis of Brentsville, 8-2 in the 113-pound final; Kevin Cruz (32-8) falling 18-3 to No. 1 state-ranked Killian Cardinale of Brentsville at 120; Isaiah Frame (34-4), falling 1-0 to Parker Velez of Brentsville at 126; Nick Herring (24-6), pinned by Jose Alfaro of Manassas Park at 138; Connor Jost (23-4), forfeiting to Brentsville Austin Obermeyer at 145 due to a minor injury; and Wyatt Gill (34-6) to No. 2 state-ranked Dylan Gumaer of Brentsville 21-8 at 160.

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