BROAD RUN: The Spartans finished second at the Magruder Tournament and third at the Sterling Lions Club Tournament, both last month. But since then, injuries have sidelined as many as seven starters, the latest being junior Ryan Fertick, who might be lost for the season after tearing cartilage in his knee earlier last week during practice. Thus, Broad Run--who was supposed to contend for the district title this season--has had to face the district's toughest teams while at its weakest, forcing the Spartans to forfeit as many as three weight classes in one meet. However, the team is starting to get healthy--junior Mike Bowen (171 pounds), senior Chris Bittner (160), senior Wyatt Oliver (215) and sophomore heavyweight Anthony Nelson are all probable for the team's next meet Jan. 22.
FAUQUIER: Despite losing their conference opener to defending Northwestern District champion Sherando, the Falcons have had success since moving up to AAA this year. And Fauquier is starting to peak, according to Coach Bryan Hurst, at just the right time in the season: the end of it. In the postseason, wrestlers to watch include junior Joe Sampsell (20-1 at 119 pounds) and senior twins Doug and Scott Smith (11-0 and 14-1 at 125 and 130 pounds, respectively). The biggest surprise this season for the Falcons has been the performance of freshman Charles Jenkins (15-5 at 189 pounds) and sophomore Robbie Gosnell (14-6 at 160).
LIBERTY: Though the team has five seniors in its starting lineup, only two have varsity experience: Lance Lewis, who is 16-5 at 160 pounds, and heavyweight Henry Richardson, who is 1-2. Richardson has earned praise from teammates and Coach Jim Raines for dropping nearly 90 pounds in the past five months to make weight (275) for the first time this season. One Eagles underclassman capable of pulling some surprises in the postseason is sophomore Brandon Heflin, who is 15-5 at 103.
LOUDOUN COUNTY: With only three seniors after losing John Stewart earlier this month possibly for the season with an injured shoulder, Coach Derek Farrey's Raiders are "going through the school of hard knocks." Junior Andrew Bango, who is 12-6 in the 125-pound class, and sophomore Justin Hardwick, who is 4-4 in the 112-pound class, will provide a bright future for the Raiders.
LOUDOUN VALLEY: Despite going winless in dual or quad meets this season, the Vikings' record is deceiving because they have had some very strong showings in tournament play. At the Jefferson Tournament earlier this month, five of the 12 Viking wrestlers finished in the top six of their respective weight classes. Team is led by junior Sam Wilkinson, who is 10-2 at 171 pounds and placed third at the Jefferson Tournament, losing to defending state champion R.C. Simmons of Handley, 4-3.
PARK VIEW: Instead of using dual matches to improve, the Patriots have used tournaments. Though the team's lone defeat came to Potomac Falls, its record is very deceiving. The Patriots finished 18th out of the 32-team field at the Northern Region Classic last month and posted sixth-place showings at the Sterling Lions and Atlee tournaments, in addition to placing third at the Jefferson Tournament. The team will continue to improve with the return of junior state-qualifier Steve Turner, who will wrestle at 142 pounds after missing most of the season with swollen tonsils, and senior 140-pounder Carey Grubbs, who is back after recovering from a separated shoulder.
POTOMAC FALLS: Bolstered by seven seniors in their starting lineup, the Panthers are the favorite to win the district title. However, the Panthers will have to deal with adversity for the first time this year, as junior Drew Eggleton, who wrestles at 145 pounds, is out for the season--and possibly his career--with a herniated disk in his neck. The team is led by senior Eric Bardey (130 pounds), a two-time state qualifier who is 22-1; senior heavyweight Mark Panchura, who is 20-3; senior Eric Ceglowski (124 pounds), who is 19-6; and senior Sean Merritt (189), who is 18-6.