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Colonial Forge wrestling suffers rare losses at Battlefield Duals

As people lingered for the awards presentation at the conclusion of the Battlefield Duals at Colonial Forge on Saturday, Colonial Forge Coach Bill Swink sat in a corner, looking like a less than happy host.

His team, which entered the weekend as The Washington Post’s No. 1 ranked squad, had just lost a 25-22 match against No. 2 Westfield that wasn’t decided until the final two bouts, when the Bulldogs’ John Orchard-Hays (130) scored a 5-3 win over Brett Garrison and 135-pounder Beau Donahue pinned Brian Rawlins. Hours earlier, the Eagles dropped a 37-27 decision to No. 4 Robinson, whose stellar performance this weekend was detailed here and here in the print edition.

For any ordinary wrestling program, those defeats would have been respectable. But for the Eagles -- winners of the past three Virginia AAA state championships and eight straight Northwest Region titles -- the losses were historic. No Northern Virginia team had beaten Colonial Forge since the program’s first season, when the school opened in 1999-2000.

“I don’t even remember who that last loss was against,” said Swink, whose team was also trounced by eventual Battlefield Duals champion Connellsville (Pa.), 50-15, Friday night. “It was quite a run.”

The weekend wasn’t without its bright spots, though. Senior Nick Emison (152 pounds) won all seven of his matches and cemented his status as a favorite to win the state title in that weight class after defeating Kevin Koch of Westfield, 6-1, and Ben Stallings of Robinson, 3-1.

Another notable performer was Colonial Forge’s 171-pound sophomore David Reck. He went 6-1 this weekend, but that lone loss came when he bumped up to face 189-pound senior Austin Fallon of Westfield. Reck lost, 1-0, but he essentially scored that point for Fallon.

Tied at zero heading into the third period, Reck opted to let Fallon get an escape point right away after Fallon chose to start from the bottom position. The thinking was Fallon would have probably gotten an escape point anyway because of his size advantage, so Reck might as well have some more time to get a two-point takedown. The plan backfired, but not before Reck essentially battled Fallon, the defending AAA state champion at 189 pounds, to a stalemate.

Speaking of Fallon, he was Westfield’s only undefeated wrestler this weekend and appears to be on course for a second-straight state title with a 30-1 record so far this season. His only defeat came at the Beast of the East Tournament in Delaware last month.

And while the Bulldogs lost their hyped up matchup with Concorde District rival Robinson on Friday, Coach Chuck Hoskins was upbeat about how his team performed this weekend and is well aware that there's still a month to go before the postseason begins.

"This is a stepping stone, this is by no means the end," Hoskins said. "It was a great measuring stick. We know what we did okay in, we know what we need to work on, so we're fine. Our feelings were hurt for about five minutes (after the Robinson loss) and now we're ready to regroup and we'll see what happens in the district tournament."

With traditional Pennsylvania power Connellsville and three of the Post’s top five teams in attendance, River Hill and Hayfield -- the two other local schools participating -- were a bit over-matched at times. Standouts for River Hill, who went 2-5 as a team, included seniors Arvind Stone (160) and Brandon Barnes (285) and 119-pound junior Cameron Kirby. Hayfield went winless, but 130-pound senior JD Mason showed that he'll be a force to be reckoned with at the Northern Region tournament next month.

And before I forget, huge kudos to the Colonial Forge athletic boosters/parents/administration for a very well run tournament, not to mention one of the best hospitality rooms I’ve ever seen.

By Mark Giannotto  |  January 10, 2010; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  Colonial Forge , Hayfield , River Hill , Robinson , Westfield , Wrestling  
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