Feb., 15th 2020
Mission Accomplished Fauquier Wins Region with 6 Individual Champs
Saturday, February 15th the Falcons competed in the 4A Region C Championship which had team Fauquier gathering at the awards podium with SIX Regional Champions and the Regional Crown.
Fauquier Wrestling continues to show dominance in Regional play capturing their ninth Region Championship title since 2010.
Fauquier was also Region Runner-up in 2017, 2014, 2009, and 2008. Consistently being one of the top two teams in the Region since 2008, that alone is remarkable. Team Dynasty, definitely.
In 2018 the Falcons had five Regional Champions but records are meant to be broken with team Fauquier earning six individual champions this past Saturday. This alone has Fauquier Wrestling setting a new high and MOST EVER in School History.
If you were at NW District Championships last weekend in some sense the Regional Championships were just as exciting and more.
Fauquier was on top of the leader board over the field through the first two Championships rounds. But after the Consolations and placement rounds were completed, Liberty HS. who entered 11 wrestlers jumped Fauquier on the leader board holding a 4.5 points lead heading into the Championship Finals.
While team Fauquier had seven finalists in the Region Championship Finals, Library had one less with six. A remarkable number in all, holding almost half of the Championships Finals bouts between the two Fauquier County schools.
Liberty HS., with significant contributions from some fresh faces in the 2019-20 wrestling season, clearly was the heavy favorite going into this post season at each of the District and Regional Championships.
So, what happened that had the Falcons claiming the post season 2020 District and Region Championship team trophy for a second week and a second year in a row?
Could it be the coaching? Could it be the weekly adjustments that occur all season long? Could it be a successful pathway that allows the wrestlers to improve their skill set to continue peaking in the post season?
Questions later asked to Coach Fisher, got to keep reading.
Thank You to Fauquier Nation:
The coaching staff and team members would like to Thank All the Fauquier Nation fans; High School parents/families, youth wrestlers, and Fauquier Alum that came out and filled the Liberty bleachers. The Region Championships would not had been possible without the support of the fans.
The Opening Rounds:
Team Fauquier went 9 and 1 in the opening round with nine pins from 120 Reece Kuhns, 126 DJ Richards, 138 Gino Camarca, 160 Eric DeWald, 170 David DeWald, 182 Sam Fisher, 195 Ben Bell, 220 Thomas Heisler, and 285 Casey Burr.
All nine wrestlers would advance to the Semi-Finals.
While Liberty HS. entered the Region with 11 wrestlers they also came out of the gate strong by winning nine matches. Fauquier would currently rest in first place with 63 points over Liberty HS. by a 6-point lead.
Clearly the goal is to make it to States and winning the Semi-Finals bout is the best method to punching your ticket onto the 4A States.
The Falcons went 7 and 2 in the Semi-Final round earning bonus points in four matches. While Fauquier would advance seven finalists to Liberty’s six, Fauquier still held the leader board with 145 points, 8.5 points above the field.
Team Fauquier had two pins from 182 Sam Fisher and 220 Thomas Heisler in the Semi-Finals.
In the Consolation Semi-Final round big wins came from 120 Reece Kuhns and 170 David DeWald who both won and advanced to the Consolations Finals.
Just as important as the Championship Semi-Finals, the Consolation Semi bout win also punches your ticket to the Virginia State Championships. If you lose in the Championship round in some sense you have another chance to get to the show and Kuhns and DeWald did just that.
Kuhns won his Consolation Finals 4-2 decision over Timmy Faber (Loudoun County) and took 3rd place while David DeWald placed 4th.
In most post season Wrestling Championships, gymnasiums are broken down to a single wrestling mat to show case the best two finalists in each weight class in the Region Finals.
Leading into the finals, Liberty HS. jumped Fauquier and had a score of 161.5 points to Fauquier’s 157-points.
After warmups Coach Fisher stressed to his wrestlers that “Similar to last week, we control our own destiny. If we each wrestle to our ability, the championship is within reach.”
But the unknown was that if the Liberty squad could score more bonus points and obtain more falls than Fauquier the team title might have been different.
As Liberty went four of six in the Finals and earned just one single pin from freshmen 132 Colin Dupill (Liberty) over Brogan Teter (Sherando), all the other Eagles would not obtain falls. Dupill, may be Liberty’s best freshman in school history and is certainly one of the best wrestlers on the Eagle squad.
The Falcons went six and one in the Championship Finals and almost ran the table recording two pins and a Tech Fall.
It was quite obvious that the urgency to push the pace in all of the seven Fauquier finals wrestling matches was noticed and to have the early bout leads in all the finals was present.
Fisher: "Our guys understand the importance of every point that can be earned. They continued to score even after they were winning, and continued to look for the bonus points that so often determine the team winner in those close competitions.
It’s a mentality that must be exercised the entire year. The common and natural thing to do is stop taking risks once you get the lead. But our guys were not satisfied with just winning and pushed themselves to get the extra bonus points that are exclusively important from a team perspective."
Two key victories came from 160 Eric Dewald and 195 Ben Bell.
In the District Finals last week Eric DeWald lost to Caleb Swinson (Liberty) for the 160 District Championships. DeWald may have out wrestled Swinson in the District Finals but lost a close overtime bout taking second place.
At the 160 lbs Regions weight class, both wrestlers rested on the opposite side of the bracket and met again for a head-to-head Regional Final match. Clearly it was one of the most important matches for both teams.
After the first period of the 160 lbs finals the match was all squared 0-0 while DeWald pushed the action and was in on multiple takedowns during the first period but did not finish and earn points.
DeWald scored first with an escape from the bottom position and then earned a take down to go up 3-0 to end the 2nd period.
Swinson earned an escape in the third 3-1 as DeWald would continue to control the final minute winning the 160 lbs Regional Championship for himself and most certainly gave the edge to team Fauquier with four Falcons still on deck to wrestle.
Eric Dewald and Coaches during Regionals
Fisher: “This was certainly a huge victory for Eric and it certainly made the path to team victory much easier. We as coaches believed Eric was the better wrestler and we worked with him on the small adjustments that he needed to get over the hump on this one. This will certainly help his confidence going forward.”
195 - Ben Bell won his Finals 5-1 over Jack Shuford (Loudoun Valley) to secure the TEAM Regional Championships.
Bell’s Championship Finals decision gave Fauquier a 1.5 points advantage and sealed the team Championships for the Falcons.
Fisher: "That one was also big. The Loudoun Valley kid was a physical specimen. We watched him earlier in the day and knew that he was strong and fast which is a tough combination to deal with.
But Ben has been through the grind and has wrestled many many tough matches, and even though he almost gave up the first takedown in the first period, I was not worried because we talk about that situation a lot and our guys know that the match is 6 minutes long with 3 periods and if they keep coming and keep attacking, and stay in great position, we will usually come out the victor.
Ben Bell did exactly what we know he can do which is wrestle for 6 minutes or more if needed and win tournament titles."
Other Notable Victories:
In the Championships Finals came from 126 DJ Richards who won by fall over Luke Roberts (Loudoun County). This win gave team Fauquier 6 points and one of the two pins that the Falcons had to have.
DJ Richards in action during Regionals
138 Gino Camarca won by fall over Christopher Nuss (James Wood). Camarca also wrestled Nuss in the District Finals last week and won in the same manner.
Fisher: "I was really impressed with both DJ and Gino in the finals. DJ gritted out a tough win in the semis after he sustained an injury to his ribs. Those are extremely painful injuries and DJ was able to push that out of his mind, focus on the job at hand and not only be content to just get a win, he worked extremely hard and pushed for the fall in the finals which fired up the Fauquier Nation in the stands.
Gino kept Fauquier Nation on their feet also. He pushed the pace the entire match on that kid. He had lost to that kid earlier in the year, and we made some adjustments which consisted of primarily staying out of that kids wheelhouse.
Last weekend he kind of caught the kid in a scramble position and was able to pin him. This time around the kid was staying out of those positions and making it difficult to catch him.
Gino kept great position and even got to the point where he had the major. Most kids would have been content with that and with less than 30 seconds left and on top Gino wasn’t satisfied and kept grinding on the kid and willed his way to turning the kid and pinning him. That set the ball in motion for Eric and the rest of the finalists."
182 Sam Fisher won by 23-8 Tech Fall over Kingsley Menifee (John Handley). A match that Fisher completely controlled from start to finish gave the Falcons 5.5 team points.
Fun Fact about Sam Fisher.
Fisher becomes the second 4X Regional Champion for team Fauquier. Team Fauquier also has won the 182 lbs VA State Championship weight class over the past two years. Fisher currently has three state Championship rings (160, 170, and 182) and will be on deck next week to be the first 4X Fauquier County State Champion. Fisher career record stands at 167-24.
Sam Fisher in action during Regional Finals
Fisher: "I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Menifee kid in the finals of the state tournament. He is a strong, fast, and talented kid. WRT the 4x Regional Champion honor, it is really amazing. Only one other person in the history of Fauquier County had previously done it. It is certainly a testament to his dedication to the sport, his willingness to improve every year and passion to compete at the highest levels."
220 Thomas Heisler who also qualified for the State Championships last year won a 7-1 decision over Caleb Graham (Loudoun County). Heisler will be returning to the State meet for the second year.
285 Casey Burr lost by fall to Bracken Hibbert (Culpeper County) but pictures will tell the story from what was not rewarded. Mid-way through the third period Burr had Hibbert on his back for a good seven seconds yet the referee did not reward the pin.
Casey Burr in action during Regional Finals
Fisher: "Tommy and Casey have come a long way this past year. They have both become much more consistent in their offense and cleaner in their execution and it is paying off in the post-season."
Question for Fisher:
Q: The 2020 Team is made up of wrestlers all coming up through the Fauquier youth program or pulled right out of the Fauquier High School hallways. In fact, three of the Regional finalists only have had just four years of wrestling. What does this say about the current youth program and the coaching staff at high school level? Is it the Coaching?
Fisher: "The kids that came through our youth program developed a passion for the sport. Guys like Sam Fisher, David DeWald, Eric DeWald, DJ Richards, Mitch and Reece Kuhns and Gino Camarca all came up through and had tremendously positive experiences with some great youth coaches like Jeff Budd and Bruce Kerns and others. The other guys are diamonds in the rough. They are kids that started as 8th, 9th and 10th graders that had the right mentality and strong will to push through tough practices and weekend travel and practice and compete with pain and/or injuries, and accept that losses will make you better. Guys like Nick Walsh, Ben Bell, Thomas Heisler, and Casey Burr have done that and are now realizing the fruits of their effort."
Q: Can you talk to our readers about the weekly changes that might occur during the week? Does the coaching staff make changes and/or are there adjustments made throughout the season especially now since we are in the post season?
Fisher: "Absolutely. At this point in the season it is all about what we can do to make each guy the best representation of themselves on the mat. Each guy is different and has different strengths and weaknesses. That goes well beyond just technique. We individualize almost every aspect of their existence to try to optimize their performance. This includes things like, sleep patterns, nutrition, nutritional timing, technique, conditioning, recovery, mental preparation for practice and matches, video review, weight management (up/maintain/drop) etc, etc…"
Q: How do you keep your wrestlers fresh? Having a path that allows the Fauquier wrestlers to improve their skill set. It seems to be a pattern each post season that we continue to see team Fauquier peaking in the post season.
Fisher: "Well, that’s part of the secret sauce. But rest and recovery is a major part of what we do. When the guys put in the work, they need some recovery."
Q: The entire team especially during the Championship Finals seemed like they were on a mission wanting to win the Regional Championships more than any other team. Tell us how you get the Falcons up year after year for these Post season Championship Finals?
Fisher: "It’s a mentality that we preach every year, year in and year out. We are not looking for wins during the season. We are looking for how to improve the most from day one until the District Tournament. Accelerating improvement always means taking losses as long as the kids buy in and understand the end goal. Our guys have bought in. Although we are at the point in the season where we don’t want to take losses for the sake of gaining experience, we must continue to improve and evolve going into the VHSL State tournament."
Q: Winning back to back Regional Championships, 9 Regional Championships over the past 11 seasons, and 13 of the last 15 District Titles and follow that up with a NEW team high record of Six Individual Region Champions. Any reflection on the post season over the past 10 years?
Fisher: "It has been a fun ride. Each year we/ reach a low point during the season and every year we dig deep to climb our way back to the top. It is great thing to be a part of and see the character building realized by these guys in that struggle."
Team Fauquier will be once again preparing for the 4A States next week. The State will be hosted by Tuscarora High School, Leesburg, VA. Weight class will again be aligned into a 16-man bracket and the top 6 in each weight class will place. Fauquier Nation is making a late season surge as the stage is set for one more week of wrestling in hopes to bring home the 4A State Championships. More detail coming soon with the states.
9:30am Quarterfinals Round (56 matches) 2 Mats
12:00pm Consolation Quarterfinals (28 matches) 2 Mats
1:00pm Championship Semifinals (28 matches) 2 Mats
2:30pm Consolation Semifinals (28 matches) 2 Mats
3;30pm 3rd and 5th place matches 2 Mats
5;00pm Finals Introductions
5:15pm Championship Finals 1 Mat
10:00AM Championship Rd 1
12:00PM Championship Semifinals
2:00PM Cons. Semifinals
3:30PM Cons. Finals
5th/6th Place Match
5:15PM Championship Finals
Round start times are tentative.
Awards will be presented between final matches
4A Region C Teams
Broad Run, VA
Culpeper County, VA
Liberty – Beal
Fauquier Past Post Season Results:
DISTRICT CHAMPIONS: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 1972 | 1971
REGION CHAMPIONS: 2020 | 2019 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
STATE CHAMPIONS: 2016 | 2015 | STATE RUNNER-UP: 2018 | 2017 | 2014 | 2009