"Bear" Bryant would have been proud of the Brentsville wrestling team.
The legendary college football coach, no fan of individual celebrations, was known to have told his players to "act like they had been there before" after scoring a touchdown.
Last weekend, at the Virginia A wrestling championships, the Tigers wrestlers acted as though they had been there before -- because they had. With 168 points, Brentsville captured its third consecutive state title and eighth Virginia A title overall, a state record.
With all but a few fans gone from the Salem Civic Center on Saturday night, the Tigers gathered around their state championship trophy, partaking in a muted celebration. They calmly posed for pictures taken by proud parents, before heading off for a team dinner at a nearby pizza place.
"It's exciting, but it's almost like it was kind of expected," said junior Stephen Yanchuk, who finished second in the 215-pound division. "Don't get me wrong; it's exciting, but most of us are used to it."
Brentsville, which will move up to AA in the next school year, capped its Virginia A run with two individual champions and six other all-state performers.
Senior Ben Truschel defeated J.J. Kelly's Brandon Justice, 10-1, for the 135-pound championship, finishing the season 41-3 and his career 122-17. The three-time Bull Run champion and two-time Region B champion was third in the state last year.
Junior Luke Siler beat Tyler Shillig of Rural Retreat in the finals of the 140-pound division to win his second state title. Siler was 31-5 this season, including his second district and regional titles. Siler won a state title as a freshman, but he said his second is more meaningful.
"Last year, I lost my confidence a little bit," said Siler, who is 81-22 in his career. "I lost in the semis in a match I thought I should've won. After going through that, winning this year feels a whole lot better than it did my freshman year."
Brentsville seniors Jimmy Donovan (145) and Jacob Orr (152) were state runners-up.
Manassas Park had two wrestlers win state championships, en route to a third-place finish with 144 points, 3 1/2 points behind second-place Mathews.
Freshman Todd Smoot capped his breakout season with a 10-2 win over Boone Brockenbrough of Parry McCluer in the 112-pound finals. Smoot won the district and region titles and cruised through a much older field for his first state trophy.
"I've been waiting two years for this chance," said Smoot, who was 32-3 this year. "I really trained hard for this."
Senior Daniel Wadel won his first state title as well, easily beating John Harris of Riverheads, 19-3, in the 130-pound final. His sophomore year, Wadel finished third in the district, regional and state tournaments. Last year, he finished second in all three tournaments, but this year, Wadel won all three, adding some symmetry to a successful season during which he lost only one match.
"I had to keep it consistent," said Wadel, who was 108-20 over his career. "Since it's my senior year, I couldn't go out in second or third place again."