When tasked with writing up a preview my goal was to give everyone a preview of the AA landscape to see which teams are still good, which may drop, and which are up and comers. This is more of a discussion then it is a ranking. I hope you enjoy it and good luck to all the teams this season.
I tried to include all returning state qualifiers (SQs) and the number of wrestlers each team placed 5th or 6th in last year’s state tournament (Alt). Region tournaments don’t list grades in results so I don’t know how many graduated. Additionally, I could not find the Region IV brackets.
With five guys in the line-up that will be looking to win another state title, Christiansburg is the favorite to win their 12th consecutive team state title. They always reload well but there haven’t been any transfer rumors that normally roll around this time of year outside of Dallas Smith returning to Robinson. Regardless, they will represent AA Virginia well this season as they travel around the country to compete and they will probably place at least 8 or 9 wrestlers at the state tournament.
Projection: They will leave the pack in semis and score an unreachable 180-190 points. Christiansburg – 9 SQs / ? Alt Returning: Ozias – Champ, Wert – Champ, Dance – Champ, Epperly – Champ, Lumpp – 6th, Eva – 6th, Giantonio – SQ, Giantonio – SQ Others: Dulaney – Former Champ, Creed Lumpp – won S32Q, Bonds
New Kent and Brookville are projected to fight it out for the runner-up spot this year, but with 5 returning state place winners Brookville could make a legitimate run at the title. Both of these teams have a lot of battle-tested guys in the line-up, experienced coaching, and strong feeder programs. New Kent will be right on the Bee’s heels throughout the state tournament unless Brookville can figure out how to get five or more in the finals. If that happens, along with an upset or two, the gap between first and second will be tight.
Projection: 130 points will guarantee one of these teams 2nd place. Neither will challenge for 1st without at least 5 in finals. Brookville – 6 SQs / 3 Alt Returning: Curry – Champ, Doung – 3rd, Stewart – 4th, Bruffy – 5th, Clark – 8th, Lancaster – SQ New Kent – 6 SQs / 2 Alt Returning: Flora – 3rd, Laprade – 5th, Todd – 7th, Hohman – Reg Champ, Gregory – SQ, Rodriguez – SQ
Tabb looks to be strong this year after placing 10 wrestlers in the top 6 at their regional tournament in 2012. Hidden Valley is quietly returning just as many state qualifiers and state placers as New Kent following the Trojan’s 3rd place finish at the 2012 state tournament. With a strong senior upper-weight in the room and a few guys that have been to the big show, they are a team to watch. Cave Spring and Eastern View both look to be in the mix with their first groups of older wrestlers that came up through their relatively young feeder programs. Cave Spring may take a hit with the rumored move out at heavyweight. Fauquier lost a lot to graduation, but that only makes room for more young guys from their strong youth program to get in there and they are projected to win the tough Region 2 tournament. Abingdon also looks to make a realistic run at getting into the top 5 spots at this year’s state tournament.
Projection: 100 points will get 2 of these teams into the top 5 and all 6 of them will be looking to upset Brookville and New Kent for a state tournament trophy. Tabb – 5 SQs / 5 Alt Returning: Harrell – 4th, Starner – 4th, Rose – 6th, Boyd – SQ, Hicks – SQ Fauquier 3 SQs / 2 Alt Returning: Tcheukado – 3rd, Raines – 5th, Strum – 7th Others: Ariola, Tingen Hidden Valley – 6 SQs / ? Alt Returning: Kite – 3rd, Strokus – 8th, Yang – 8th, Loflin – SQ, Batsambuu – SQ, Dermott – SQ Eastern View 5 SQs / 0 Alt Returning: Ramey – 2nd, Jenkins – 5th, Willems – SQ, Lynch – SQ, Hundley - SQ Cave Spring 4 SQs / ? Alt Returning: McDaniel – 2nd, Turner – 3rd(moving?), Love – 6th, Amos – SQ Abingdon 4 SQs / ? Alt Returning: Toler – 4th, Jenkins – 6th, Belcher – 8th, Rosenbaum – SQ
Listed here are 6 teams that have spent more time in the top ten then out of it over the last 10 or 15 years. Brentsville, Millbrook, Turner Ashby, and Northside each have a great legacy and an older guy in the room that will not be pleased with anything less than a state title. Millbrook took a huge hit to graduation and open the season with their 4th head coach in 5 years so it will be interesting to see if they can keep the pace they have set in the last few years. Salem and Jefferson Forest will also have a shot to wrestle into the top ten, but William Byrd may return to past greatness with 4 guys in the room this year that wrestled at the state tournament last year.
Projection: 50 points normally get a team into the top ten, but I bet all 6 of these teams are shooting a little higher than that this year. To do it they will need gutsy performances from relative unknowns lurking in their depth charts and youth programs. Brentsville 2 SQ / 2 Alt Returning: Roseberry – 3rd, Velez – 5th Others: Walker, Jacobs Millbrook 2 SQ / 2 Alt Returning: Wisman – 2nd, Jessen – 6th Turner Ashby 2 SQ / 0 Alt Returning:Kiser – Champ, Reel – 7th Northside 3 SQ / 2 Alt Returning: Saunders – 2nd, Robinson – SQ, Plaster – SQ Salem 3 SQs / 3 Alt Returning: Reynolds – SQ, Willis – SQ, Hearse – SQ Jefferson Forest 1 SQ / 5 Alts Returning: Romanzak – 6th William Byrd 4 SQ / 0 Alt Returning: Cunningham – SQ, Helm – SQ, Bailey – SQ, Pruett – SQ
Each of these teams work hard in the off-season and return a bunch of good wrestlers from the 2012 season. Although they may not have as many names as the teams above they will each carry strong dual lineups and plan to be in the mix come February.
?Skyline 2 SQ / 2 Alt Returning: Williams – 5th, Ritter – SQ, Others: Santmyers, Goss, Huston Warren County 1 SQ / 3 Alt Returning: Budwash – 7th Others: Thompson, Barisciano, Poehler James Wood 2 SQ / 0 Alt Returning: Swartz – 3rd, Woznak – SQ Poquoson 1 SQ / 3 Alt Returning: Lynch - SQ Rockbridge 1 SQ / 1 Alt Returning: Bruce – 5th Others: Moore, Moore