The Class 3A and 4A wrestling tournaments will be held at a new site this year, and Salem High will be sending four to the tournament in Portsmouth this weekend.
Churchland High School will be the site of the tournaments after many years at the Salem Civic Center. Action begins at 9 am Friday with semifinals scheduled for 7:30 pm Friday night. Championship finals are scheduled for 3:30 pm on Saturday.
Ironically the Spartans will have their best representation in years as the tournament moves out of town. The Spartans finished sixth out of 12 teams in the Class 4A, Region D tournament at Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg last weekend.
Jeremy Muncy qualified for the state with a second place finish at 113 in a match that went down to the final seconds. Down 7-6, Jeremy got a reversal with one second to go and apparently won the match. However, the other referee said the reversal came too late and the match was awarded to his opponent from LCA.
“He won the match and they took it from him,” said Salem coach Lawrence Van Liew. “Jeremy had an amazing weekend. He’s looking to place higher than he did last year in the state tournament.”
Two Spartans took thirds, Alex Royston at 126 and Tae Hale at 220. Royston got a pin in the consolation final and Hale took a 7-2 win.
“Alex has been wrestling state champ after state champ all year long,” said Van Liew. “He is wrestling well enough to medal this year, but he’ll have to upset someone this weekend. I have confidence he will.”
Hale has been solid all year at 220.
“This young man is everything you want to coach,” said Van Liew. “He makes the team better on and off the mat. He works hard, never complains, and is looking to upset some people this weekend. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him atop the podium.”
Zavion Wood, a freshman, finished fourth at 170 after losing his consolation final match 5-3. He didn’t come out for wrestling until late in the season but he’s come on strong.
“Zavion is one of the best natural athletes I have ever coached,” said Van Liew. “He may not place this year, but he will soon. Maybe even this year.”
Salem had four wrestlers lose in the “blood round,” the round you have to win in order to go to state. Christian Crawley at 132, Jordan Wood at 138, Preston Saunders at 145 and Davey Patterson at 195 will be alternates.
“We’re excited for this weekend,” said Van Liew. “We’re leaving Thursday night and we start wrestling Friday. The civic center just wasn’t big enough for all four tournaments so they decided to spread it out, and it should make for a nice trip.”