Lord Botetourt and James River will be participating in the Glenvar Invitational Wrestling Tournament at Glenvar High School this Saturday.
The tournament begins at 9 a.m. and will be continuous until the conclusion that evening. A challenging 12-team field includes Glenvar, the defending Group A state champs, and Hidden Valley, who won a hotly contested Titan Toughman Tournament in December. Many of the same teams are involved.
Other teams in the tournament are Cave Spring, Northside, Amherst County, Parry McCluer, Rural Retreat, Castlewood, George Wythe and Radford. Cave Spring should also be in the mix and Northside now has all its wrestlers back after waiting for the football season to conclude. The Vikings were missing five starters when the Titan Toughman event was held the same day as the state Division 3 football championship game, which the Vikings won.
Don’t count out the Botetourt County teams. Both LB and James River are off to good starts in wrestling and hope to contend.
Botetourt competed in the Spencer Chang Invitational in Martinsville last Saturday. The Cavaliers went 3-2 and took fifth place overall out of 12 teams. LB lost to Brookville, 27-46, beat Morehead, N.C., 39- 37, beat Tunstall, 63-18, lost to Jefferson Forest, 27- 48, and beat Martinsville, 42-36.
“As a team we were not clicking on all cylinders because of illness and nagging injuries, but we wrestled about as well as we could under the circumstances,” said coach Robert Haynie. “I was very pleased with our effort against Morehead City. They are a perennial state championship team and we were able to pull off some close matches for a big upset.
“Both Brookville and Jefferson Forest out matched us physically,” Haynie said. “We had big leads in a couple of matches but gave up pins in the waning seconds, which cost us the match with the point swing. We have made some big improvements on strength but still have a ways to go to match up well against teams with that style.
“Overall, I was pleased with our progress but we need to work up our intensity in practice to get ready for the final stretch.”
Michael Jones is still undefeated for the year at 17-0 in the 285-pound division. Botetourt is scheduled to wrestle at Northside in a Blue Ridge match tonight, Wednesday.
River was undefeated after 15 dual matches. The Knights wrestled in the Madison County tournament prior to Christmas.
“We wrestled Clarke County, William Monroe, Eastern View, Madison County and New Kent (B),” said River coach Tim Jennings. “I told the kids that even with the snow, the competition would still be tough. Clarke and Madison wrestled very well–both always have hard-nosed kids and are coached very well.
“The Madison match was the key to the whole day– that’s the team we were most concerned with. My guys were focused and they really surprised me. We only had one day of practice before the tournament and to wrestle in the middle of the week, I was really pleased with our results.”
Ryan Hepler and Tyler Gore remained undefeated for River. They’ll be tested this weekend at Glenvar.
“It’s a tough Roanoke Valley individual tournament and we need to work really hard to compete there,” said Jennings. “It should be a good measuring stick as to where we are and where we’re headed.”