Packer wrestlers place in recent tourneys

Published 5:05 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Staff report

The Smithfield High School varsity wrestling team traveled Dec. 21-22 to the Toys for Tots Tournament held at Ocean Lakes High School for the toughest challenge of the season so far.

While the squad was short several starters, the team managed to get five wrestlers to the blood round, with only senior Logan Neal punching through into the medal rounds.  Neal returned the second day to secure fifth place and collect some additional team points.

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Wrestlers making the blood round in addition to Neal were seniors Jimmy Warf and Zavian Zellers, and juniors Andrew Shipmanand Eric Jackson.

Additionally, four freshmen made the lineup, which was a great showing for the class of 2027, according to the coaching staff.

Sophomore Eric Jackson made a deep tournament run at his first varsity event of the season, while senior Andrew Shipman had his best high school tournament to date. After losing to a second period fall to Grafton’s Dominic Digioia in the previous week’s dual meet, Warf exacted a little payback soundly defeating him with a 8-1 decision in his opening match of the day.  

In the third consolation round, Zellers was losing by a wide margin to Menchville’s Kirshaun Davis late in the third period and after a stoppage for going out of bounds with less than 20 seconds on the clock, the coaches told him to “go big.” Zellers returned to the center of the mat and secured a good feet-to-back takedown on the edge of the mat to get the pin with five seconds left on the clock and advance to the blood round, and once again show the match isn’t over until it’s over, according to the coaching staff.

The team’s Toys 4 Tots lineup included: Zachary Fuller, freshman, 106; Doc Peterson, sophomore, 113; David Gillis, freshman, 126; Ronald Davis, senior, 132; Timothy Sanders, freshman, 138; Logan Neal, senior, 144; Jimmy Warf, senior, 150; Noah Nichols, freshman, 157; Zavian Zellers, senior, 165; Jackson Dickinson, junior, 175; John Obasun, junior, 190; Andrew Shipman, junior, 215; and Eric Jackson, sophomore, 285.


JV action

The Packer junior varsity team traveled Dec. 29 to the Mills E. Godwin’s JV tournament in Richmond, which the coaching staff said is annually one of the toughest tournaments in the state due to its central location and timing.  

Two new Packer wrestlers stood out placing in their weight brackets. Both wrestled to the championship semi-finals and lost their matches, but were able to secure victories in their consolation semifinals to punch through into the medal round to wrestle for third place. Junior Jackson Dickinson and sophomore Andrew Ruppert both finished the day in fourth place. Both experienced the “long day” in the gymnasium as an “active competitor” from the opening round in the early morning all the way through to the medal matches late in the evening, the team coaches said.

In eighth-grader Austin Carnes’ first match he was paired up with “Andre the Giant” by comparison, as Midlothian’s junior, Theo Shaffer, stood nearly two and a half feet taller than him, and wrestled to a respectable 3-0 loss by decision to a much older athlete. Freshman Aiden Lovern got his first win of the season in the opening round holding on to a 6-5 decision over Stafford’s Ethan Walters.  Freshman David Gillis also got his first win on the mat with a 4-1 decision over Poquoson’s Jackson Mazzella, along with sophomore Slater Merget, who got his first win by a first period pin over Douglas Freeman’s Henry Debolt. Junior Shane Hilton had the best wrestling tournament of the last two seasons.  

Wrestlers attending the tournament were: Brady Guardia, freshman, 106; Jack Rowe, eighth grader, 113; Brandon Warf, freshman, 113; Aiden Lovern, freshman, 120; David Gillis, freshman, 126; Slater Merget, sophomore, 126; Timothy Sanders, freshman, 132; Nicholas White, junior, 144; Jackson Dickinson, junior, 165; Henry Hinkle, sophomore, 175; Andrew Ruppert, sophomore, 175; Austin Carnes, eighth grader, 190; Shane Hilton, junior, 190; and Brashawn Davis, sophomore, 215.


Upcoming meets

The Packer JV will return to the mat at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan 6. to for the Battle at York at York High School. Following this event, the varsity team will compete back-to-back Wednesday, Jan. 10 in a Bay Rivers District tri-meet with New Kent and Poquoson and again Friday and Saturday, Jan. 12-13 at the 43rd annual Virginia Duals National Invitational Dual Team Wrestling Tournament Black and Blue Division in the Hampton Coliseum.