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VHSL CLASS 1 WRESTLING: Grundy grabs 24th team title in program history

VHSL CLASS 1 WRESTLING: Grundy grabs 24th team title in program history

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SALEM, Va. – Grundy High School’s wrestling team has brought another trophy back to Buchanan County and this one happens to be 24-karat gold.

On the strength of six individual champions, Grundy cruised to the 24th state team title in program history on Saturday at the VHSL Class 1 tournament as the area’s grappling dynasty continues to thrive.

Kaleb Horn (113-pound weight class), Carson Griffey (132), Chris Stiltner (138), Jacob Stiltner (145), Ian Scammell (152) and Peyton McComas (220) led Grundy’s parade of champs at the Salem Civic Center in what has become an annual rite of winter for the Golden Wave.

Grundy racked up 249 points for its sixth consecutive crown, while Riverheads was runner-up with a team score of 200.

“Every one we win is just as special,” McComas said. “It’s a team thing and hopefully, we can keep carrying on the tradition.”

It might be a while before a wrestler in a Grundy singlet is as superior as McComas.

The senior needed just 54 seconds to pin Riley Jo Vaught of Galax in the finals and none of his state tournament matches lasted longer than a minute.

McComas opened the tournament with a 36-second stick of Franklin’s Ayden Banks and followed that up with a 49-second pin of Grayson County’s Cameron Biggs in the semifinals.

“Just dominant all year long,” said Grundy coach Travis Fiser. “I wish we could have some before and after photos of how much he’s grown over the last four years. He’s good on and off the mat. He keeps things funny and light when things get serious and the other kids kind of gravitate toward him. He’s just a good leader and worker.”

McComas polished off a second straight unbeaten season by vanquishing Vaught.

“I’m glad I could end my senior year with a win,” McComas said. “Very thankful for it.”

As the final wrestler to compete on Saturday for the Golden Wave, McComas got pumped up watching his teammates take care of business.

“It’s like a snowball effect,” McComas said. “You see one of your teammates win and then another and it just gets you ready for the match.”

The stretch that sealed the deal for the Golden Wave was when Griffey, Chris Stiltner, Jacob Stiltner and Scammell won four straight finals matches. Those practice sessions among those guys prepared them for the big stage “We’re always on each other’s backs,” Jacob Stiltner said. “Pushing each other to get better.”

Griffey is just a ninth-grader and got his first state title in his first try with a 5-0 decision over Jackson Allebaugh of Riverheads. The runner-up in the Region 1D tournament, Griffey got a takedown just before the first period ended to take the lead for good as he wrestled a technically savvy match.

“He had some tough guys around him on the team and had a couple of wrestle-offs to try to find a spot [in the lineup],” Fiser said. “He found one and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. It’s just great to see him do that after putting the time and effort in. His dad [two-time state champion Jimmy Griffey] was a good one and he’s turning out to do a great job as well.”

Michael Taylor (120), Ethan Roberts (160) and Hunter Scarberry (195) had runner-up finishes for the Golden Wave. Grundy finished the season with a perfect record in dual matches, the first time that occurred since 1992.

“We’ve got a great bunch of kids this year,” Fiser said. “I wish we could have done more with this team, because they were solid top to bottom.”

Rural Retreat placed third in the team standings with Eli Blevins (126), Dorian Delp (160), Wyatt Sage (182) and Eli Fortuner (195) impressively earning first-place finishes.

“We had a real good round in the finals,” said Rural Retreat coach Rick Boyd. “Four-for-five with three pins – that’s pretty big.”

Sage and Fortuner won state titles for the second straight year, while Delp got his first championship in what was his final shot.

“I was not going to let anybody beat me,” Delp said. “I was going for heads.”

He backed up that bravado by pinning his way through the state tournament.

“He’s such a great athlete,” Boyd said. “He’s been in tough weight classes every year and he was due one. He’s really turned around his work ethic in the room this year and focused on doing some things right and it’s really made a big difference for him.”

Delp pinned Roberts of Grundy in 3:43 to clinch his long-awaited title.

“He wanted that one pretty bad,” Boyd said. “He beat that kid 1-0 in a dual [meet] and by a couple of points two weeks ago and figured out a few things that would work.”

Castlewood sophomore Adam Gibson won his second straight title in the smallest weight class and achieved it via pinfall for the second consecutive year. The 106-pounder stuck the shoulders of Rural Retreat’s Parker Stone to the mat in just 1:37.

Gibson had to work overtime to take an 8-6 decision over Grayson County’s Isaiah Osborne in the semifinals. Osborne is the same guy Gibson had pinned in the 2020 state finals.

“Winning last year really helped keep me focused, because I wanted to do it again and not let everybody down,” Gibson said. “I’m glad to have two under my belt.”

George Wythe’s Terry Morgan (170) also became a state champion by taking a hard-fought 8-4 decision over Evan Ross of Riverheads. Castlewood’s Jacob Maxfield placed second in the 182-pound weight class, while GW’s Colin Ward did the same at 138.

The VHSL Class 3 state tourney is today in Salem, while the Class 2 tournament is Monday.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols and weather wreaked havoc on the schedule and shrunk the number of state tournament qualifiers during the 2020-21 season, but one moment on Saturday was familiar and routine – Grundy added another trophy to its collection.

“It means everything,” Jacob Stiltner said. “Just adding to that legacy.”

thayes@bristolnews.com | Twitter:@Hayes_BHCSports | (276) 645-2570

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