The four Northern Region district wrestling tournaments which take place Friday and Saturday will have at least one thing in common: the 119-pound weight class will feature the most spirited competition.
This is the last year wrestlers who competed at one weight in the regular season can move up a weight class in their tournaments. Although there is speculation one or two of the top 119-pounders may move up in hopes of finding an easier route to the state tournament, those who have dominated the class during the season include defending state champion Aaron Green of Yorktown, Marc Reichelderfer of West Potomac, Tom Ruff of Herndon and Scott Conti of Annandale.
"The 119 class is easily the strongest of the region," said West Potomac Coach Steve Foglio, who has eight No. 1 seeds in the Gunston tournament his school will host. "Of the 26 teams in the region, probably 20 of them have good to super kids at 119. It is unfortunate we can send only four of them to the states."
Green, who defeated Reichelderfer, 10-9, in last year's state semifinals, and Ruff will probably battle for the Great Falls title.
Foglio, who coached for eight years at Fort Hunt before moving to West Potomac, has produced 28 straight Gunston dual meet victories. With Reichelderfer (15-2), Mike Lindsey (17-0 at 138) and Mike Smith (16-1-1 at 155), the Wolverines could be threats. for the state title.
Wayt Timberlake was having a basketball season even he did not dream possible, averaging 18 points and seven rebounds in leading Episcopal to its best start in a decade.
The season, however, has been declared over for the 6-foot-2 senior forward. Incurred in a January loss to St. Stephen's, Timberlake's injury was finally diagnosed last week as a cracked vertebra.
Even the injury to its leading scorer did not pull a sudden halt to the Maroon's season. Episcopal was 13-2 overall and 6-2 in the Interstate Athletic Conference entering this week's games. The Maroon defeated Woodberry Forest, 66-59, behind Bret Strachan's 19 points in a nonleague game last Friday, but lost its rematch with St. Stephen's the following night, 52-47.
"We did not realize his injury was that severe," said Episcopal Coach Tony Shaver, who has a 140-75 record in his 10 years at the Alexandria school. "What is really amazing is that we won our next five games without him, but we are still trying to find a new personality without Wayt. What I feel sorriest about is this is his senior year and it had to end this way."
Shaver says Timberlake's emergence caught some off guard, possibly even the player himself. He was accepted to the University of Virginia as an academic early admission.
"I think he has proven he could play for many colleges," said Shaver, who realizes Timberlake's chances of playing for the ACC school as a walk-on are slim. "But early admissions is an obligation, and he will go through with it."
In Timberlake's absence, depth has kept Episcopal at the top of the IAC. Strachan, a 6-3 forward, is averaging 13 points per game and Howard Holley averages 10.