Westfield, Robinson stand out at Northern Region Wrestling championships
Minutes earlier during their 130-pound Northern Region championship match, Robinson's Jacob Crawford and Westfield's Jon Orchard-Hays were enemies. But as they sat awaiting their awards after Crawford's third-period pin, the two struck up a conversation. Talk naturally turned toward the battle that was transpiring between their schools Wednesday night at Fairfax.
"It seems like it's always Westfield and Robinson," said Orchard-Hays, as Crawford nodded in agreement. "We just feed off each other."
No. 1 Robinson and No. 2 Westfield had wrestlers in 12 of the 14 Northern Region championship matches and faced each other in five of those weight classes, making a tournament that featured 30 teams resemble a dual meet at times.
While the Rams won three of the championship battles, it was Westfield that was crowned Northern Region champion for a third consecutive year with 340.5 points. The Bulldogs had 10 finalists, four champions and qualified all 14 of their starters for this weekend's AAA state tournament.
"That's probably the best part because we've all wrestled together our whole lives," said senior Kevin Koch, who won the 152-pound championship by defeating Robinson's Ben Stallings. "I honestly felt a lot more excited about that than when I won my [title] match."
Other regional champions from Westfield were senior Kyle Arnold (140 pounds), senior Austin Fallon (189) and junior Tyler DeLeon (285). One match that didn't go the Bulldogs' way was perhaps the most exciting championship bout of the night. Lake Braddock 160-pound senior Ross Renzi was crowned champion after scoring a last-second takedown on top-seeded Nick Grinups.
In the lower weights, Annandale's Dane Harlowe (112) was named the tournament's most outstanding wrestler after upsetting top-seeded Jake Smith in the semifinals and then defeating Westfield's Stephen Aiello in the finals. Marshall's Andrew Embree (215) was the only wrestler to pin his way to a regional championship.
Despite finishing in second place, 59.5 points behind Westfield, Robinson crowned the most champions in the Northern Region. In addition to Crawford, freshman Dallas Smith (103 pounds), sophomore Brooks Martino (119 pounds), senior Roman Perryman (135) and senior Mickey Bennett (145) earned titles.
Scary moment: W.T. Woodson 119-pounder Bob Hauser defaulted his semifinal match after suffering a neck injury against Robinson's Brooks Martino. Hauser lay prone on the mat for more than 20 minutes before emergency medical personnel took him away on a stretcher. W.T. Woodson coaches were unsure of his condition as of Wednesday night.
More champions: Other area wrestlers that took home individual titles were Madison's Albert Schultz (125) and Annandale's Stacey Anderson (171).