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Six District Champs in a 19-Point come from behind Championship to Remember
by: Ted Proctor

Feb., 8th 2020
Six District Champs in a 19-Point come from behind Championship to Remember
John Handley HS., Winchester, VA

On Saturday, Feb. 8th team Fauquier captured the 2020 District Championships in unthinkable fashion with a total of 219.5 team points.

The Falcons went 6 and 3 in the Championship Finals. While this is the first level post season tournament, I am also going to argue that this year the Northwestern District could be the toughest District in the state.

Anything short of six Fauquier Champions would have had a different team and bird taking home the first-place trophy this past Saturday night.

Liberty HS. held the lead going into the final championship round and was clearly the heavy favorite to win the 2020 Districts Championships and best team that Liberty has filled out since Fauquier County opened the school in 1994.

The 2020 District Finals also displayed and had five of the fourteen final bouts head-to-head with team Fauquier and Liberty which made for a fabulous Championship show down.

The Opening Round:
Team Fauquier went 10-3 in the first round and had five pins from 120 lbs Reece Kuhns, 138 lbs Gino Camarca, 160 lbs Eric Dewald, 170lbs David Dewald, and 285 lbs Casey Burr. The Falcons were in second place with 59 points and just 3 points behind the early leader Liberty HS.

The Falcons advanced three wrestlers onto the Consolation side of the bracket - 145 lbs Nick Walsh earned a pin for the Falcons to improve the Falcons team total of 65 points while still holding onto second place in the standing.

The Championship Semi-Finals and Consolations Rounds:
Team Fauquier almost ran the table by going 9-1 in the Semi-Finals. The Falcons had pins from 170 lbs David Dewald, 182 lbs Sam Fisher, and 220 lbs Thomas Heisler.

The biggest win maybe of the District tournament came from Casey Burr who was seeded fourth verses the number one seed from Culpeper. Casey Burr won a 9-4 decision over Bracken Hibbert (Culpeper County).

Other key victories in the Semi-Finals came from 160 lbs Eric DeWald who had an 8-4 decision over Hunter Thompson (John Handley), and 195 lbs Ben Bell won a 13-7 decision over Daniel Flores (Millbrook). Both Dewald and Bell were seeded third and had lost to the foe wrestlers during the in-season district dual matches.

While Liberty Eagles had advanced seven wrestlers onto the Championship Finals the Falcons advanced nine and had jumped the Eagles on the score board and currently held a 20-point lead with 178 points over the field.

The Consolations Finals had Fauquier 152 lbs Mitch Kuhns earning a 4th place finish. Liberty had three wrestlers earning wins which brought the team score to 193 pts while Fauquier stood at 187 points, a 6-points difference heading into the Championship Finals.

Gino Camarca (in pictured) won the 138-pound Championship Saturday.
Photographer - Stefanie Fisher, Fauquier Wrestling - Head Manager

The Northwestern District Championship Finals::
Even having a team tournament high of nine wrestlers in the NW District Finals, team Fauquier still found themselves in second place heading into the 2020 Championship Final round.

Fauquier would have five head-to-head matchups aligned with cross county Liberty HS. and the feeling in John Handley HS. main gym was that these final five head-to-head bouts would be the deciding factor with who would depart carrying the first-place trophy home at the tournament final match.

As Fauquier won six of the nine district final matches, Liberty made a solid charge by winning five of their seven matches. Below is a summary of the pivotal final bouts for team Fauquier and Liberty which made for an exciting Championship Finals.

126 - DJ Richards won by fall over Austin Harris (Liberty). Richards one of three number one seeds for team Fauquier was the favorite in the bout.

This match was also the second head-to-head matchup between Fauquier and Liberty as Richards (a Freshman) rose to the occasion and came out with an aggressive wrestling style pushing the action. Richards had Harris on his back a few times before he recorded a second period fall.

This gave Fauquier +6 points while the team score still had Liberty up 198.5 to Fauquier 193.

DJ Richards (in pictured) won the 126-pound championship Saturday. Earning a Pin here in the Championship Finals
Photographer - Stefanie Fisher, Fauquier Wrestling - Head Manager

138 - Gino Camarca also won by fall over Christopher Nuss (James Wood). Camarca had wrestled Nuss twice during the season splitting the matches.

Expecting the match to be close it turned out to be a similar match like Richards, Camarca pushed the action putting points up on the board first. Mid-way into the second period Camarca earned a fall.

This gave Fauquier +6 points as the team Fauquier would jump Liberty by a half point. Team score would have Fauquier at 199 pts and Liberty resting at 198.5 pts.

Liberty would fill the next four bouts at 145, 152, 160, 170 lbs weight. The Eagles would also win all four matches which would be the final points they would receive for the Championship.

Liberty would have a commanding lead with 218 points while Fauquier would rest with 199 points.

With the strength of the Fauquier Falcons lineup still on deck, Fauquier would build the most remarkable come from behind attack.

182 - Sam Fisher won by Tech Fall (20-5) over Kingsley Menifee (John Handley). The number one and two seeds in this weight class had the spectators in the gym witnessing pure domination.

Sam Fisher joins a list of other Fauquier greats and becomes the seventh 4X District Champion for the Falcons.

This tech fall would give Fauquier +5.5 team points as team Fauquier would have 204.5 pts and a 14.5 pts deficit to Liberty.

195 - Ben Bell won by decision 8-3 over Wyheem Vessels (Liberty). During the in-season dual between Fauquier and Liberty these two wrestlers did not wrestle each other.

The head coach of the Eagles opted not to wrestle Vessels and held him off the mat during the season dual match. Bell would receive a forfeit and win during the dual meet.

A third seeded Bell showed dominance on his feet in this final head-to-head match between Fauquier and Liberty.

This decision by Bell would give team Fauquier +4 points and improve the Falcons to 208.5pts while Liberty would still stand at 218 pts.

These two consecutive victories at 182 lbs and 195 lbs would bring down the deficit to 9.5pts, with the Falcons still needing victories and bonus in the final two weight classes.

220 - Tommy Heisler won by fall over Aydan Willis (Sherando). A first period fall had Heisler earning a take down and a set of back points before the pin.

This was the quickest fall of the Championship Finals. Heisler gave team Fauquier +6 team points and improved to the team score to 214.5 pts just 4.5 behind Liberty.

Tommy Heisler (in pictured) won the 220-pound Championship Saturday. Earning a Pin here in the Championship Finals
Photographer - Stefanie Fisher, Fauquier Wrestling - Head Manager

285 - Casey Burr won by fall over Noah Johnson (John Handley). Burr had lost to Johnson during the in-season dual match.

But this Championship Finals match had Burr earning a penalty point for Johnson slamming Burr. Burr recovered and went to work to earn a first period takedown.

While on top during the second period Burr was able to turn Johnson earning a fall at the 2:45 mark.

Casey Burr (in pictured) won the 285-pound Championship Saturday. Earning a Pin here in the Championship Finals
Photographer - Stefanie Fisher, Fauquier Wrestling - Head Manager

As most of Fauquier Nation might had been on edge through the district four bouts, pins by Heisler and Burr securing the 2020 Northwestern District Championship made for one amazing come from behind District titles.

Less than a 1% Chance to Obtain the Crown:
The 2020 District Championship really stands out as the one of BEST post season Districts ever for team Fauquier and will hang among the “All Time Greatest Moments and Achievements” list.

More to come on why but you kind of have to live-it, experience the emotional highs and lows to understand it.

The desire for team Fauquier to overcome the struggles and to win the last four bouts of the Championship Finals is a remarkable story.

Being down 19-points after the 170 lbs finals to win first you need to have four wrestlers on deck in those final four-weight classes and second each Falcon would have to show strength and win with bonus to capture the District Championship.

Running the numbers Fauquier had less than 1% chance of pulling out the victory going into the final four bouts.

Questions for Coach Fisher:
Q: Fauquier earns its 15 District title how does that feel.
Coach Fisher: "It was a very satisfying seeing most of our guys wrestle to the level in which they are capable. We won multiple matches that we had lost previously this season. It is a testament to the guys commitment to the sport and a desire to improve mentality."

Q: Any reflections with the final four bouts of the 2020 Northwestern District Finals?
Coach Fisher: "In truth, I really had no idea what the team point differential was at that point. I was in the corner coaching from 160-heavyweight. I knew that losing the head to heads at 160 and 170 would put us in a substantial deficit, and I wasn’t even sure if it was numerically possible to win at that point. What I did know is that we had 4 guys coming up that have the ability to score big points for us. Winning all four matches with bonus in 3 of the 4 was certainly incredible. The fact that was the minimal needed to win the team title was a very welcome surprise to me."

Q: Sam Fisher becomes the 7th Falcon to become a 4X District Champion status. How cool is that?
Coach Fisher: "I am excited for him. It is a big accomplishment. A lot can happen in 4 years, including weight class changes and injuries which can easily make this accomplishment very difficult in addition to of course being the best kid in the District. The other consideration is that Sam was not content after winning as a Freshman and continued to evolve and improve. You will never win subsequent District/Region or State titles if you are content."

Q: Fauquier qualified 10 wrestlers for the Regionals - is this team peaking yet?
Coach Fisher: "Not yet. We need to get a little bit better this week to be ready for next week. Every one of the guys has room for improvement and we will be working with each to help them get there."

This is a 3-peat for team Fauquier and since 2006 the Falcons have claimed the District Championship thirteen different times fifteen in total most by any high school sports team in Fauquier County.

A Look Back at Some Greatest District Moments:
In 2011,.... Winning the 2011 Evergreen District Championships with 274 points (the most points scored for team Fauquier in a District Championship) while advancing 12 wrestlers onto the Championship Finals, with 8 champions and qualifying all 14 wrestlers onto the Region II Championships (the most in school history) – 2011. #33 on the All-time Greats Moments.

last year,.... Team Fauquier down by one point during the 285lb 3rd place Championship Finals as Thomas Heisler earns a 3rd period pin and win to edge out Liberty HS by 3 points 201 to 198 to win the Northern District Championships. Team Fauquier advanced 12 wrestlers onto the 4A Regions - 2019. #37 on the All-time Greats Moments.

In 2016,.... Cam Franklin with the come from behind pin sparking and 8-0 finals round at the 2016 Conference 22 Finals which resulted in Fauquier coming from behind to win the Conference Title - 2016. #36 on the All-time Greats Moments.

Two years ago in 2018,.... Total team effort in a come from behind win in the final round at the 2018 Northwestern District Championships which resulted in every wrestler scoring team points. A District Championship that had team Fauquier winning by 1.5-points (210.5 pts to 209 pts) over Liberty with the Tournament Director calculating the team score inaccurately heading into the Championship Finals – 2018. #34 on the All-time Greats Moments.

In 2009,.... Winning 9 Individual District Champions, most and first time in team 45 year history - 2009. #42 on the All-time Greats Moments.

All these District moments will sit on the sideline to what team Fauquier did in the 2020 Northwestern District Championship. A 19-point come from behind during the 2020 District Championships should most certainly be etched onto the board and should make claim for one of the tops “All Time Greatest Moments and Achievements.”

More on the   All Time Greatest Moments and Achievements. > >

The 4A Region is scheduled for next week as Fauquier will now prepare for this tournament. The top 4 wresters in each weight class will then move on to the State meet.

INDIVIDAUL RESULTS:    Northwestern District Champions > >


Fauquier Past Post Season Results:
DISTRICT CHAMPIONS: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 1972 | 1971

REGION CHAMPIONS: 2019 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

STATE CHAMPIONS: 2016 | 2015 | STATE RUNNER-UP: 2018 | 2017 | 2014 | 2009