The results are finally matching the effort for Hylton's young wrestling team.
The Bulldogs, after taking a few lumps en route to a 13-14 record last season, are off to a 13-3 start with a lineup that features just one senior. Hylton defeated Gar-Field and Brooke Point in dual matches last week and placed third at the 10-team Forest Park Invitational over the weekend.
Nine sophomores are back from last season, many of whom already have matched or surpassed their win totals from last season. Jonathan Colantuoni (135 pounds) won three matches last season but has 14 victories this season. Daniel Chichester (130) is off to an 18-6 start after finishing 18-16 a year ago, and 145-pound Sheldon Frantz, 17-16 last season, is 18-7.
"Those kids are maturing," Hylton Coach P.J. Pcsolinski said. "I told them that I was raising my level of expectations for Hylton wrestling, and they've met my expectations. Really, I didn't expect [these results] until next season."
Against Cardinal District rival Gar-Field last Wednesday, the Bulldogs rallied from a 26-8 deficit, winning the final five matches to earn a 28-26 victory.
At the Forest Park Invitational, sophomore 112-pounder Lam Ly and 119-pound freshman David Sledz won a pair of individual titles to help the Bulldogs finish with 178 points, trailing only champion Westfield (193.5) and Forest Park (189).
Ly, a Cardinal District champion last season, is 24-1 and emerging as one of the top wrestlers in the Northwestern Region.
"He's a tough kid," Forest Park Coach Richard Hilleary said. "He's getting much better every time I see him."
Bruins Take Second Forest Park senior Bryan Evans earned his 100th career victory in the 215-pound final to help the host Bruins place second at their invitational over the weekend. Evans improved to an impressive 38-1 and joined 189-pound champion Elder Ramos atop the podium as the Bruins' individual champions.
The Bruins had wrestlers place in all but five weight classes.
"I'm very pleased with the whole team," Hilleary said. "They wrestled well all the way through. They've been doing that all year."
Raiders Gain Three Wins Stonewall Jackson emerged from its tough five-team meet on Saturday with three victories, including a 46-24 rout of Cardinal District front-runner Woodbridge.
The defending Cedar Run champion Raiders fell only to No. 1 Colonial Forge, a last-minute addition to the meet after they were unable to travel to an out-of-town tournament because of snowy conditions on Friday. The Raiders (10-4) fell to Colonial Forge, 50-19.
Stonewall also defeated Gar-Field, 39-37.
112-Pound Division Loses Stars The Northwestern Region's standout 112-pound weight class has thinned since the start of the season.
The trio of Osbourn Park junior Jeremy Adams, Gar-Field sophomore Tyler Bowers and Ly all began the season at 112 and were expected to compete for the region title in late February.
But since the start of the season, Adams has dropped to 103 pounds, and Bowers has jumped to 119, all but ensuring a meeting will not happen this season.
Although at different weights, all three have excelled this season, combining for just five losses.
Forest Park Invitational
1, Westfield, 193.5; 2, Forest Park, 189.0; 3, Hylton, 178; 4, Osbourn Park, 156.5; 5, West Springfield, 139; 6, tie, Brooke Point and Stafford, 111.5; 8, Potomac, 85.5; 9, Courtland, 61; 10, Osbourn, 50.
103 -- Adams, Osbourn Park, pinned Terrill, Forest Park, 3:32; 112 -- Ly, Hylton, pinned, Poppe, Westfield, 1:07; 119 -- Sledz, Hylton, maj. dec. Vargas, Osbourn Park, 12-3; 125 -- Gitlin, West Springfield, dec. Galdamez, Westfield, 6-3; 130 -- Taylor, Brooke Point, maj. dec. Chichester, Hylton, 15-2; 135 -- Hardy, Courtland, dec. Gibson, Westfield, 8-5; 140 -- Hottle, Stafford, dec. Sposa, Westfield, 14-9; 145 -- Foley, Brooke Point, pinned Lawson, Osbourn Park, 1:47; 152 -- Henry, Potomac, maj. dec. Willis, Brooke Point, 10-0; 160 -- Goings, Westfield, pinned. Mikula, Brooke Point, 3:12; 171 -- T. McClelland, Stafford, dec. Halse, Potomac, 6-3; 189 -- Ramos, Forest Park, pinned Berling, Westfield, 1:25; 215 -- Evans, Forest Park, def. J. McClelland, Stafford, default; 275 -- Watson, West Springfield, pinned Griffis, Forest Park, 1:17.