Six wrestlers from the Patrick County High School wrestling team qualified for the Class 2 State Wrestling Tournament held on Monday, February 22 at the Salem Civic Center in Salem.
Nate Gusler (106), Trent Alexander (120), Ethan Cobbler (126), Owen Smith (132), Trey Robertson (152), and Darious Williams (160) all placed 2nd in the Class 2C Regional tournament to earn the opportunity to compete in the Class 2 State Tournament.
Due to the restrictions placed on athletics/wrestling because of Covid, only the top 2 wrestlers in each weight class from each Region qualified for the State Tournament this year. This was different from previous years when the top 3 or 4 finishers in each weight class from each region qualified for the State Tournament.
Usually the state tournament is a two day competition, but due to Covid restrictions it was changed to a 1-day tournament.
“We were blessed with all the Covid restrictions over the past year to just have the opportunity to compete in a State Tournament. We wrestled our first match of the season on January 30 just in time to qualify for post season competition. Then we wrestled in the Regional Tournament and then the State Tournament,” the PCHS wrestling staff said.
The Patrick County High School wrestling team was excited to finally get to compete. They practiced 2-days in January and wrestled one match. They were appreciative of these opportunities and for the support that the Patrick County School Board, Superintendent and staff, PCHS Athletic Department, and PCHS administration gave them through this whole Covid situation.
“Our wrestlers did very well considering the limited amount of practice time and mat time that was available to them this season. They ran and worked out on their own at home during this season. We had zoom sessions and virtual practices to keep up with everyone. This group took a bad situation and made something positive of it all,” wrestling staff said.
Even though this season was a challenge for wrestlers, parents, coaches and administrators, many good things were accomplished. According to school wrestling records available, six wrestlers appears to be the highest number of state qualifiers that PCHS has ever had in one season.
Nate Gusler (106), Trent Alexander (120), Ethan Cobbler (126), Owen Smith (132), Trey Robertson (152), and Darious Williams (160) all qualified for the 2021 State Tournament.
Placing 5 wrestlers in one post- season State Tournament also appears to be the highest in PCHS wrestling history. Nate Gusler (6th at 106), Trent Alexander (6th at 120), Ethan Cobbler (6th at 126), Owen Smith (4th at 132), and Darious Williams (3rd at 160) include the 5-state placers. According to available records, there were seven state placers before the 2020 season. Including two state placers from last season, plus senior Owen Smith, the new total is 14. Smith became the first two time top 4 state placer in PCHS history.
According to available records, Tim Goad is the only other two time State Placer, with a 6th and 3rd place finish.
Darious Williams became the first 3rd place finisher since Tim Goad did so in 1984. Williams tied the highest finish in the State Tournament by a PCHS wrestler by earning his 3rd place finish this year.
Smith also joined an elite group of PCHS wrestlers this season by recording his 100th career win on February 6.
Nate Gusler and Ethan Cobbler also raised the bar for PCHS freshmen wrestlers by becoming the first PCHS freshmen to place in the State Tournament.
“Even though we only wrestled two tri matches before the post season tournaments, we are extremely proud of this team for the way they conducted themselves, for their hard work, and for all they accomplished during this challenging season,” the Cougar staff said.
The State Tournament results were as follows:
Nate Gusler- 6th Place finish
Quarterfinal – Heath Burks (Strasburg) 18-5 won by fall over Nathaniel Gusler (Patrick County) 6-4 (Fall 0:21)
Cons. Round 1 – Nathaniel Gusler (Patrick County) 6-4 won by decision over Brooklyn McClure (King William) 0-3 (Dec 13-9)
Cons. Semi – Timmy Bennett (James River) 5-2 won by fall over Nathaniel Gusler (Patrick County) 6-4 (Fall 2:15)
5th Place Match – Evan Pack (Madison County) 10-6 won by fall over Nathaniel Gusler (Patrick County) 6-4 (Fall 2:51)
Trent Alexander- 6th Place Finish
Quarterfinal – Wyatt Stemberger (Clarke County) 12-6 won by fall over Wesley Alexander (Patrick County) 4-4 (Fall 0:56)
Cons. Round 1 – Wesley Alexander (Patrick County) 4-4 received a bye () (Bye)
Cons. Semi – Mason Hylton (Glenvar) 6-4 won by fall over Wesley Alexander (Patrick County) 4-4 (Fall 0:50)
5th Place Match – Evan Roberts (John Battle ) 8-6 won by decision over Wesley Alexander (Patrick County) 4-4 (Dec 5-2)
Ethan Cobbler-6th Place Finish
Quarterfinal – Anakin Burks (Strasburg) 18-6 won by fall over Ethan Cobbler (Patrick County) 3-7 (Fall 0:34)
Cons. Round 1 – Ethan Cobbler (Patrick County) 3-7 won by fall over Jared Blake (Poquoson) 1-6 (Fall 1:38)
Cons. Semi – Chase Cuddy (James River) 13-2 won by fall over Ethan Cobbler (Patrick County) 3-7 (Fall 1:18)
5th Place Match – Rudy Downey (King William) 3-2 won by fall over Ethan Cobbler (Patrick
County) 3-7 (Fall 0:38)
Owen Smith -4th Place Finish
Quarterfinal – Owen Smith (Patrick County) 7-3 won by fall over Caleb O`Brien (Amelia) 5-7 (Fall 0:43)
Semifinal – Cannon Long (Clarke County) 13-4 won by decision over Owen Smith (Patrick County) 7-3 (Dec 7-6)
Cons. Semi – Owen Smith (Patrick County) 7-3 won by fall over Cole Ramey (Strasburg) 8-11 (Fall 4:38)
3rd Place Match – Luke Childress (Lebanon) 21-1 won by fall over Owen Smith (Patrick County) 7-3 (Fall 3:25)
Trey Robertson-No Place
Quarterfinal – Ethan Sneddon (Poquoson) 7-5 won by fall over Alvis (Trey) Robertson (Patrick County) 3-5 (Fall 4:42)
Cons. Round 1 – Alvaro Wong (Clarke County) 8-4 won by major decision over Alvis (Trey) Robertson (Patrick County) 3-5 (MD 14-6)
Quarterfinal – Darious Williams (Patrick County) 8-2 won by fall over Nathan Severance (Bruton) 5-3 (Fall 1:59)
Semifinal – Tanner Baugher (East Rockingham) 11-2 won by decision over Darious Williams (Patrick County) 8-2 (Dec 8-4)
Cons. Semi – Darious Williams (Patrick County) 8-2 won by fall over Grayson Huff (Lee) 5-2 (Fall 3:32)
3rd Place Match – Darious Williams (Patrick County) 8-2 won by major decision over Jeffery Hildebrand (Buffalo Gap) 15-4 (MD 11-2
Head Coach Tim Lawson said, “it seems just like yesterday that we finished the 2020 season and now the 2021 season is already over. It feels like we lost a whole year. We had big plans to lift weights so we could get stronger, practice skills and techniques, hold a couple mini camps, and attend some college camps. Due to the Covid restrictions we did not get to do any of these things that we needed to improve.
“Thanks to parents, Assistant Coaches Chad Lange and Andy Stanley, PCHS Athletic Department, Athletic Director Terry Harris, and administrators this season ended up going a lot better than expected. This team was a special group and my only regret was we didn’t get a whole season that would have helped them have a better chance of reaching their potential on the mat,” he said.
“We will miss our seniors, Owen Smith, Darious Williams, Trey Robertson, and Raekwon Hagen. They all made big contributions to the Cougar Wrestling Program and raised the bar for those that will follow them. Team members for this season included Jonathan Culler, Nate Gusler, Trent Alexander, Ethan Cobbler, Owen Smith, Juan Pablo Gutierrez, Walter Boyd, Trey Robertson, Darious Williams, Rawl Mabe, Josh Wright, Tristan Hardy, Jaheim Johnson, and Raekwon Hagen,” Lawson said.
“Most of these young men are playing football, which will help them get ready for next wrestling season. Hopefully we will have a good off season with the opportunity to work in the weight room and wrestling room to improve on some of our weaknesses. We need to get stronger and improve our techniques which we had limited time to do this past season. With 10 of these young men returning, and hopefully we will pick up a few more this off season, next season holds a lot of potential. The halls of PCHS are full of young folks that would make good wrestlers. The sky is the limit for PCHS wrestling if we can get some these young folks to give it a try,” he said.