Underclassman standout in Wednesday’s varsity wrestling triple header


Dany T Medhin

Junior Anttwone Washington fights for wrist control during his match against a Spotswood wrestler. The wrestling team had a match Jan. 15, 2020. The schools that participated were Spotswood, Broadway, Turner Ashby, East Rock and Harrisonburg high schools.

Headed into Wednesday’s matches, varsity wrestling had one goal: improve. Because they are a young team, this has been the goal all year as head coach William Bower has set their focus on building for the future. 

“The mindset going into today and for every match was a growth mindset; we want to get better,” Bower said. “We are a really young team. Seven out of our thirteen starters tonight were freshmen, so we have a lot of room to grow. It’s really exciting to have such a young team and to know that in the next few years we are going to continue to get better and better.” 

They opened the day facing off against the Spotswood Trailblazers, who built up momentum early with five straight pins. Freshman Nathan White got the Streaks’ first win of the day with a pin in the first period of the 126 pound weight class. Fellow freshman Roman Chornoblavskyi followed with another pin in the second period of the 138 pound weight class. Chornablavskyi and White’s efforts came up short, as the Trailblazers took victory. Still, the wins set the trend for the rest of the day as it became the story of the underclassmen. 

Following the defeat, the Streaks took on the Turner Ashby Knights. The Streaks jumped ahead early when freshman Braeden McGrath got a second period pain in the 113 pound weight class. The momentum was halted as the Streaks weren’t able to compile a win until the 220 pound weight class and eventually lost their second straight match. Bower tried to veer the wrestlers attention away from the negatives and veer their attention back to their number one goal of growth. 

“The big message [following the two losses] was just to stay positive,” Bower said. “[They need to] realize that we are young and that we have a large amount of time to get better.” 

The Broadway Gobblers opened the final match with two early wins but the Streaks started piling on wins of their own. Sophomore Benny Ramsey kicked off the streak with his first win of the day in a first period pin. After a three period loss in the 138 pound weight class, juniors Johnathan Phaga and Odyss Lockhart made their mark with back to back wins. Following two Broadway forfeits, Bower took a gamble and bumped freshman Adan Salzar up a weight class to fill their empty spot in with the goal of preventing a pin in order to avoid the six point forfeit default. The gambit paid off as Salzar won despite being down fifteen pounds.

“Adan is really good at staying in position. He has good hips,” Bower said. “He wrestled really well from neutral and I’m just proud of him, it was a really good match.”

The Streaks ended up piecing together enough points to win the match. Despite the tough day, the success of the underclassmen leaves Bower feeling like the team is headed in the right direction. 

 “Wrestling is all about hard work,” Bower said. “It’s really nice to see them keep that mindset and keep growing. It’s nice to see the young kids learning and improving.”