Warhill wins first Kyle Elliott Memorial Classic

Jimmy LaRoue
Contact Reporterjlarouejr@vagazette.com

With three wrestlers winning their weight classes, and five others with top-three finishes, Warhill used its depth Saturday to finish first out of 11 schools in the first annual Kyle Elliott Memorial Classic at Jamestown High School.

Warhill finished with 248 points, 23 more than second place Western Branch. J.R. Tucker (208), Lafayette (161) and Varina (157.5) rounded out the top five. Host Jamestown came in sixth with 133 points and Bruton (66 points) finished eighth.

The Lions’ three individual champions were Malik Barr (152 pounds), Jack Wright (170) and Bryant Walker (182).

Barr earned a 6-2 decision over Lafayette’s Kevin Nguyen, Wright pinned Varina’s Dale Gothreau for the 170 pound title and Walker won a 5-0 decision over Varina’s Antonio Cetrone.

“We had 12 kids place, if you go down to sixth place, and that’s how you win tournaments,” said Warhill coach Scott Lish. “That’s the key. To get these kids losing matches, and they’re disappointed, but they’ve got to suck it up and start wrestling to get those third and fourth places for us.”

Lish expects wrestlers such as Jordan Weeks (138 pounds), Barr, Wright, Walker, Josh Farley (195 pounds) and Doc Branscome (220 pounds) to be big contributors this season.

“They’ve been doing this for years,” Lish said. “They’ve done everything that we’ve asked them to do, and it’s paying off for them.”

Jamestown coach Richard Pennycuff said his team performed better than he thought, with 132-pound wrestler Randy Frontera placing second. Pennycuff had one senior wrestler out with a foot injury, and of the rest of his wrestlers, two are juniors and the other 18 freshmen and sophomores.

Pennycuff said Matt Landeneau, who came in fifth at 120 pounds, would be wrestling at 113 pounds during the season, and Cameron Hagen, who came in fourth in the 120 pound weight class, would be his team leaders, along with Frontera. He said he would need to have more patience working with a younger group of wrestlers.

“Right now with us, it’s not all about wins and losses,” Pennycuff said. “It’s getting on the mat and getting that mat time.”

Pennycuff said the day-long event meant much more than just hosting a season-opening tournament. It was a way to pay tribute to former Eagles’ wrestler Kyle Elliott, who died five years ago Nov. 30.

“He started wrestling for me when he was young in the (Williamsburg) Hornets, wrestling all through the youth program, wrestled for me for four years at the high school,” Pennycuff said. “He graduated, went to VMI and unfortunately lost his battle with mental health.”

Pennycuff said he had been looking for a way to honor Elliott’s memory for the past couple of years. The veteran Jamestown wrestling coach hopes the event can raise awareness and money for mental health.

“We had the opportunity to host this tournament, and I thought there was no better way to honor Kyle than to host this tournament,” Pennycuff said.

Top-three finishes

113: Lance Gibson (Warhill), 2nd; Rashaad Harris (Lafayette), 3rd.

120: Caleb Filicko (Bruton), 2nd.

126: Colby Gray (Lafayette), 2nd; Ryan Lampson (Bruton), 3rd.

132: Randy Frontera (Jamestown), 2nd; Dylan Howard (Warhill), 3rd.

138: Jordan Weeks (Warhill), 3rd.

152: Malik Barr (Warhill), 1st; Kevin Nguyen (Lafayette), 2nd.

160: Cole Reinhart (Jamestown), 3rd.

170: Jack Wright (Warhill), 1st; Mike Green (Lafayette), 3rd.

182: Bryant Walker (Warhill), 1st.

195: Josh Farley (Warhill), 2nd.

220: Doc Branscome (Warhill), 3rd.

285: Noah Cotton-Caballero (Lafayette), 2nd.

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at jlarouejr@vagazette.com or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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