Loudoun County sophomore Dan Scanlan probably knew that he would be undefeated this far into the season. It's just the way he's gone about it that was unplanned.
Scanlan is 3-0 after defeating Jimmy Phillips, 13-0, in a dual meet against Loudoun Valley on Wednesday. His season started late, however, after he bruised his knee while snowboarding in December. Scanlan was an All-Extra selection at 130 pounds last year and now competes at 160.
"Early in the year, he went on a snowboarding trip and over-challenged himself," Loudoun County Coach Troy Mezzatesta said. "We eased him back in. We used him as little as possible early on so that he'd be available in the district and region tournaments. He sat out a few tournaments he would have been competitive in, against some kids from triple-A schools, and that was too bad.
"But right now, I'd say he's about 90 or 95 percent."
Scanlan needed little time to leave an impression on his opponents.
"He looked awesome," Loudoun Valley Coach Todd McClelland said. "He's only wrestled a few matches, but I bet he'll be one of the best in the district and region, and he'll be among the top five in the state. He looked really good."
Scanlan's absence was one of several that has plagued the Raiders this year. Two wrestlers left the team for personal reasons in the preseason, and two others left because of grades. Senior David Jacobs may well be out for the season with a knee injury.
Mezzatesta uses a lineup featuring six freshmen and senior 140-pounder Cameron Scott, a first-year wrestler.
Mezzatesta has had an interesting year in his first year as a head coach.
"We had to deal with some issues," he said, "but I hope the kids will be better for it next year."
Vikings' Pin Contest Loudoun Valley junior 125-pounder Robert Hardey, an All-Extra last year at 112 pounds, does not wrestle often against senior 145-pounder Charlie Wade. That has not stopped them, however, from having a close competition this year.
The two are chasing each other for the team lead in pins. Each has about 12 this season, Coach Todd McClelland said, and they have shown no signs of letting up.
"Wade's very good," McClelland said. "He almost made states last year. Hardey is a serious wrestler. He likes to work a lot on his own. He wants to excel."
Hardey and Wade are not the only ones recording pins. The Vikings had a school-record 11 in an 80-0 victory over Heritage this season.
Individually, Hardey pinned standout Ryan Jones of Stone Bridge this year. He pinned all three opponents in a tri-meet at the George Mason Invitational on Jan. 18, and so did Wade.
The Vikings have had a stronger than expected season, including a 46-23 victory over Loudoun County on Wednesday. A victory this week over Broad Run would give Loudoun Valley a .500 record in the AA Dulles District.
"We saw them looking at us when we were wrestling Stone Bridge," McClelland said. "I've really enjoyed this year, and I think the kids have as well."