Using a combination of speed, strength and guile, two local wrestlers stood atop the winner's podium Saturday night at the Virginia AA championships in Salem.
Fauquier senior Charles Jenkins, in his third try for a state title, defeated the much taller Antoine Holmes of York in the 189-pound final. Loudoun County sophomore Dan Scanlan overcame a recent loss to Warren County senior Brock Jardine, overpowering Jardine, 13-7, to win the 160-pound title.
Until Grundy senior Albert Childress received a standing ovation and a curtain call after winning his fourth state championship, Jenkins appeared to be the most popular wrestler Saturday night at the Salem Civic Center.
After Jenkins dispatched Holmes, 18-7, the senior was greeted by a throng of fans who pressed to slap his sweaty back. After blowing a few kisses to the crowd, Jenkins took time to hug everyone in his newly minted fan club.
Jenkins earned the celebration by overcoming a distinct height disadvantage against Holmes in the finals. The 5-foot-7 Jenkins gave up at least six inches but appeared to have little trouble with Holmes's longer arms and legs after he made a couple of strategic adjustments.
"I used my speed," Jenkins said. "I just go as fast as I can. It was too hard to pick him up, so I had to trip him, which I usually don't use."
Former teammate Robby Gosnell, who won the 160-pound state title last year and is one of Jenkins's closest friends, was among the group.
"I love that," Jenkins said. "I'll take all the support I can get. I had to win because if I didn't win it, [Gosnell] was going to yell at me."
Scanlan had been his own worst critic after losing to Jardine in the 160-pound final at the Region II meet at Sherando on March 1, faulting his preparedness and work ethic before the tournament.
He took steps to correct those perceived faults in the week between the Region II meet and the state tournament. He ran twice a day, lifted weights every day and attended several different practices, including those at Potomac Falls.
The extra work paid off, and Scanlan was very much in control of Jardine throughout the final. The loss in the regional tournament proved to be the only one for Scanlan in 17 matches this season.
"I busted my butt every single day this week to get ready," Scanlan said. "This was just a product of hard work."
Scanlan, who reached the state semifinals at 130 pounds last year, said he hopes to move up several weight classes before next season, possibly as high as 189 pounds. Judging by his success on Saturday, he may have little trouble.
Scanlan overwhelmed Jardine with his strength, taking him down three times during the match.
"I was just in better shape than him," Scanlan said. "I wanted to make sure I was in shape for all three periods, so I could keep the same pace and make sure I was always ahead."