[cleeng_content id=”658983129″ description=”Read it now!” price=”0.49″ t=”article”]INWOOD – Senior Zane Bradbury’s pinning of David Stas, the top-ranked 182-pounder in West Virginia, highlighted Washington’s return to in-state wrestling action last week, during which the Patriots topped Martinsburg and Jefferson but fell to host Musselman.
Ty Reynolds (113 pounds), Tyler Sigler (126), Mark Becraft (170), Bradbury (182) and R.J. Wilson (195) notched victories for the Patriots during a 42-30 team defeat against No. 7 Musselman.
In other action, Washington demolished both county-rival Jefferson (71-9) and Martinsburg (75-6) in team competition.
The four-way competition was Washington’s second match against fellow West Virginia schools this season, as the Patriots have long preferred to schedule top-flight opponents from outside the area including Pennsylvania and Virginia. Earlier in January, the Patriots finished 11th during the Winners Choice Tournament in Fairmont during their first venture against in-state opponents.
“The kids are getting the tougher matches out of state,” said Washington coach Codie Gustines. “It’s very beneficial. We get to see better competition there and then come back here.”
The Patriots, who graduated considerable talent from a program that finished fifth in the state in Class AAA a season ago, have looked to the likes of Bradbury, Sigler, Becraft, Reynolds and Wilson for leadership.
On Jan. 18, Sigler finished a strong second at 126 pounds in the Winners Choice after dropping a 4-2 decision to Ripley’s Lucas Simpkins. At 113 pounds, Reynolds earned a runner-up finish after taking a 2-0 loss to Buckhannon-Upshur’s Brandon Tenney.
But on Jan. 29, it was Bradbury, who had gone undefeated in five matches the previous week, who brought both his Washington teammates and the crowd to its feet with a victory over the top-ranked wrestler at 182 pounds, pinning Stas in 3 minutes, four seconds.
“Stas beat me two times when I wrestled him before and this is my first time beating him,” Bradbury said. “I was nervous at first and very worried, but the guys were pushing me through it. Everyone was coming up to me saying, ‘you got this,’ and I was like ‘OK’.
“The out of state competition has helped tremendously because out of state competition is always better, I think,” Bradbury said. “Coming into the state, I feel a lot more prepared for a lot of different situations. In state, I think I’m getting better because of all the out of state competition.”
The Patriots have since followed up last Wednesday’s outing with a 4-1 team performance and third-place finish during a tournament on Saturday at Cosby High School in Richmond, Va.
Washington earned victories against Deep Run (72-12), King George (54-18), Cosby (47-25) and Smithfield (44-27), while falling to Lee-Davis (49-27).
Sigler (126), Jared Jones (145) and Bradbury (182) went undefeated and earned five victories apiece.
– Jeff Brammer[/cleeng_content]