Derek Arnold had just executed the same move last week against the same opponent, but when the Westfield junior saw an opening in the second period of the Virginia AAA Northern Region 138-pound championship wrestling match on Saturday at Hayfield, he went for it again.
“He hit a sit out and I was able to suck him back,” Arnold said. “I kept him on his back and got a two count.”
The two back points broke a scoreless tie and led Arnold to a 3-0 decision over Robinson’s Santiago Valdez in a rematch of last week’s Virginia AAA Concorde District final.
The win clinched the team championship for Westfield, who sent five wrestlers to the championship round of the tournament and crowned two individual champions to win their fourth regional championship in five seasons after coming in second last year.
Westfield finished with 193 team points, ahead of defending champion Robinson (174.5), Annandale (129.5), Mount Vernon (126.5) and Lake Braddock (105) in the top five of the 30-team field.
“This was a grind,” Westfield Coach Chuck Hoskins said. “Our guys have great character and they just dug down deep.”
The Bulldogs had a commanding 21.5-point lead heading into the championship finals, and needed a win from just one of their five finalists to seal the title.
But Gabe Ryan, David Aiello and Brett Campbell all finished second in their respective 106-, 113- and 120-pound weight classes, leaving at least some doubt when Arnold took the mat at 138.
Defending state champion Beau Donahue later won an individual championship for Westfield in the 152-pound weight class.
“It’s what we work for all year to be able to get that district and region championship,” Arnold said before adding, “It’s nice to be back on top.”
Campbell fell to Madison’s Robert Dooley in the match of the night in the 120-pound final.
Dooley — who missed most of the season with a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury — scored a takedown at the overtime buzzer to win a thrilling 3-1 decision.
“He shot and kind of wasn’t careful about getting back up to his feet,” Dooley said. “I knew there weren’t going to be any repercussions because it was the end of the period, so I just went for it.”
Robinson 145-pound senior Brooks Martino was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler after winning his title match by technical fall, and Annandale’s Dane Harlowe (126 pounds) and Robinson’s Jake Pinkston (285) each won their championship match by pin.
Other individual regional champions were South County’s Hunter Manley (106) and Brett Stein (160), Marshall’s James Cusack (113), Wakefield’s Henry Majano (132), Mount Vernon’s Dusty Floyd (170), Madison’s Nick Hoy (182), Jefferson’s Patrick O’Connor (195), and Annandale’s Ali Ali Musa (220).