Jack Bass knew Robinson still desperately needed points to cling to its lead in the final round of the Virginia AAA Northern Region wrestling championships Saturday, so the Rams junior didn’t want to waste any time getting them.
“We needed to take care of the team tournament so I needed to get a pin to help seal it,” Bass said. “I came in with a mind-set that I wanted to get a pin in under a minute.”
Bass did, pinning his final 152-pound opponent, Archie Elba, in just 39 seconds to win the bout that eventually clinched Robinson’s second Northern Region title in three seasons.
The final round was a struggle, as Bass and heavyweight Jake Pinkston were Robinson’s only individual champions out of its nine finalists, but the Rams’ 232 team points were enough to hold off archrival and defending champion Westfield, which crowned four individual champions and finished second with 224.
Mount Vernon finished third in the 30-team, two-day event at Hayfield with 155.5 points, and Lake Braddock — which had three individual champs — finished fourth with 146.
“It’s still sweet. There’s only one team that wins the regional tournament,” Robinson Coach Bryan Hazard said. “We didn’t perform as well as I think we could have in the final, but at the same time we came and we competed and still won the tournament.”
Wrestlers from eight different schools won individual titles, displaying the depth this season of a region that has in the recent past been dominated by Robinson and Westfield.
All nine of Robinson’s semifinalists advanced to the finals, giving the Rams a 16-point lead over Westfield heading into the championship round.
Westfield could have earned up to 24 points in the finals if each of its four finalists won by pin, meaning Robinson needed at least one and possibly two champions to ice the team victory.
Robinson’s first four finalists lost, meaning the outcome was still in doubt when Bass took the mat for the eighth bout of the finals, letting the suspense linger longer than the Rams would have liked.
“When you’re in a regional final it’s supposed to be the top guys,” Hazard said. “You put nine there, you can’t expect nine champs.”
McLean 106-pounder Conor Grammes kicked off the final round Saturday with a second-period pin, and Lake Braddock’s Ryan Haskett (113), South County’s Hunter Manley, (120) Mount Vernon’s Bill Adusei (126) and Lake Braddock’s Sean Haskett (132) followed with decisions in the next four weight classes.
Westfield’s 138-pounder Derek Arnold won by decision at 138, and teammate Beau Donahue — a two-time All-Met and two-time state champion — won in a third-period pin at 145 to earn his 200th career win.
After Bass’s pin at 152, Lake Braddock’s Rory Renzi (160), Westfield’s Frank Aiello (170) and Westfield’s Tyler Morson grinded out decisions before Jefferson senior Patrick O’Connor won the best match of the night by standing up in a sudden-death period to win the 195-pound final and improve to 45-0 this season.
West Potomac senior Will Rupp won by decision at 220 to improve to 42-0, and Pinkston won by decision in the heavyweight division to end the night.
Wrestlers who reached the semifinals of the region tournament qualify for the AAA state tournament next weekend at Oscar Smith.