As Brentsville wrestler Zach Roseberry prepares to compete in the Beast of The East tournament in Newark, Del., this weekend, the 195-pound senior is thinking big.
“My first goal is to win the event,” Roseberry said. “There’s probably a big possibility that I won’t, but I want to go up there and wrestle these great kids and see how I do.”
Roseberry, along with 113-pound teammate Brenden Velez, will be the first wrestler from his Virginia AA school’s program to compete in the prestigious national event, so he isn’t afraid to aim high despite coming from a program that is less-heralded than most that will be represented in Newark.
Roseberry is 17-0 with 15 pins so far this season, and takes pride in defeating opponents from bigger schools.
“We have a pretty strong tradition at Brentsville,” Tigers Coach Jess Moore said. “Historically, a lot of guys have competed against stud wrestlers [from Class AAA schools]. Zach is not only competing with them, but he’s beating them a lot of the time.”
Roseberry says he is training harder this season than he ever has before, motivated in part by his disappointing trip to the Virginia AA state tournament in February.
After a runner-up finish in the 189-pound weight class in 2011, Roseberry was a favorite to win the 182-pound class last year.
He caught the flu the week of the tournament, and suffered a surprising first-round loss before winning each of his consolation matches to earn a third-place finish.
“He didn’t go down there for a bronze medal,” Moore said. “I can imagine some wrestlers folding after losing their first match, but he didn’t fold.”
Roseberry, who has received interest from Division I wrestling programs but has yet to decide if he wants to wrestle in college, will be among the favorites to win the 195-pound state crown this year, and hopes his experience at Beast this weekend will help him toward that ultimate goal.
“I’ve got to keep hitting it hard and go to these tournaments and wrestle my match,” Roseberry said. “It makes you a better wrestler to wrestle against kids you probably aren’t supposed to beat.”
With an early-season tournament win and unblemished team record, Northwest has become one to watch in Montgomery County.
The Germantown school finished first in the 19-team Mad Mats meet held Dec. 7-8 at Magruder, beating out local power Osbourn Park and a sizable contingent of in-county schools. Four Jaguars wrestlers won their weight class, while two others placed in the top three overall.
As if that weren’t convincing enough, Northwest offered perhaps an even more thorough display of dominance the following week. In a tri-meet against Quince Orchard and Gaithersburg, the Jaguars won by a combined score of 129-9.
“This is an interesting team. If you’d asked me before the season, I would have told you that we have a lot of inexperience in the lineup. They’re very athletic and their athletic abilities are really compensating for the lack of experience. That’s really helped,” Coach Joe Vukovich said.
Walter Johnson, a fourth-place finisher at Mad Mats and the only other school with four first-place wrestlers, bears watching, as well. While perhaps not as deep as schools like Northwest and Damascus, the Bethesda school edged out Wilde Lake to win the 11th annual Rocket Launch Duals meet at Richard Montgomery last weekend. Innocent Okocha, the team’s most accomplished wrestler, was named the tournament’s most outstanding competitor.
Westfield finished first among 31 teams this weekend at the Glenn Jones Charger Classic at Lackey, edging runner-up Georgetown Prep, 224-211.5.
Lake Braddock (177.5 points), Mount St. Joseph (158) and North Point (134.5) rounded out the top five.
132-pounder Garrett Maged and 170-pounder Frank Aiello won individual titles for Westfield, while 138-pounder Derek Arnold and 160-pounder Stephen Aiello earned runner-up finishes for the Bulldogs.
In the ultra-competitive 152-pound bracket, Lake Braddock senior Rory Renzi upset Westfield’s two-time defending state champion Beau Donahue in a semifinal bout, before Churchill junior Hunter Sutton beat Renzi in the final.