Two Salem wrestlers took runner-up medals as the Spartans finished in eighth place in the state Class 4 tournament Saturday. Liberty-Bealton won the state championship at the Virginia Beach Sports Center.
Six Spartans medaled, topped by second place finishes by Walker Chambers at 113 and Cameron Martinsdale at 285. Chambers lost to Bobby Philpot of Tuscarora, 11-5, as his high school career came to an end. Walker will be attending Roanoke College next fall and will be in Nate Yetzer’s new program.
Martindale made it to the 285 pound final before falling to Alex Brchmeier of Broad Run, 3-1. Cameron is just a junior, and he’s already back in action as a key lineman on the Salem High football team, who had their season opener just three days later.
Other wrestlers from Salem who medaled were Kyman Kinney, who took fourth at 145, and two sixth places, Sam Miles at 170 and PJ Bruner at 220.
The Salem program is on the rise. In 2016 Salem had no state qualifiers. In 2017 they had one, but no one placed, and in 2018 they had four qualify with no state placers.
In 2019 Salem had five qualifiers and one placer, then in 2020 they had 12 qualifiers and three placers. This year, despite fewer wrestlers qualifying due to the pandemic, Salem had seven qualifiers and five placers. They would have had a dozen qualifiers under the old rules, which should return next year if the pandemic is under control.
“The program is being solidified at all levels,” said coach Lawrence Van Liew. “The middle school is getting numbers and learning great techniques. The high school is getting numbers and competing in the room, and the results speak for themselves.
“Last year I was determined to get a state finalist. Now that we had two this year, next year I want the first state champion in over a decade. Salem wrestling will continue to rise and work hard. Nothing is given in wrestling, everything is earned.”