By LLOYD COMBS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
WISE, Va. —
Every wrestler is hungry.
Every wrestler is focused.
There's just something about a wrestler who has tasted a state tournament, even placed in one but never won it, when he becomes a senior.
Seniors Austin Hurley and Dylan Raines, along with sophomore Elliott Pedigo and senior Trey Smith, who has won a state crown, led Grundy to the Bobby Bates Classic title Saturday at the David J. Prior Convocation Center at UVA-Wise.
The Golden Wave topped second place Rural Retreat by 79 points, 262.5 to 183.5. Castlewood (165.5) was third, followed by Johnson Central, Ky., and Rockbridge County. Graham finished 10th.
Other winners included Lebanon's Peyton Watson (138) and George Wythe's David Smith (195).
Graham's Kyshon Lee reached the finals at 170 pounds and three other Grundy wrestlers, freshmen Andy Webb (106) and John Justus (132) and sophomore Maverick Coleman (113) also placed second.
The G-Men had five place-winners overall, with both Dylan Cook (195) and Jon Jennings (220) taking third.
Lee worked his way into the finals in impressive fashion, including a pin of Central's Brad Brooks in the first period of their semifinals match. He was pinned by Koda Wagner of Rockbridge County in the finals at 170 pounds.
"Kyshon wrestled a really tough kid,” Graham coach Tim Woodward said. "But he did a fantastic job. He beat several quality wrestlers to get to the finals. Dylan Cook and Jon Jennings, I was really pleased with how well they wrestled, too.
"Jon Jennings had three overtime matches, he really wrestled tough. And Colin Beavers (7th at 285) and Levi Stroupe (8th at 182) wrestled well. With 34 teams down here and the level of competition, to do what we've done is a real testament to how our kids have worked and what a good tournament they had."
Austin Hurley earned Grundy's first individual victory Saturday with an efficient, 9-5 decision over Ross Hinty of Rockbridge County. He worked one single leg takedown after another to take and maintain a lead.
"He's really strong, I knew I had to get underneath him," said Hurley, who won three times by fall to reach the finals. "I had to get in deep every shot or he'd be able to defend it."
Hurley and Raines, who won every match by fall, have placed in the state tournament before, including last year, when they finished and fifth and fourth, respectively last year.
They're more focused than ever this season and it showed Friday and Saturday.
Hurley, like Raines and Smith, who won a state title in 2012 but lost in the finals in February, knows what's at stake.
"The key for me is staying healthy, staying strong," he said. "I got to have it this year."
Smith was named the Most Valuable Wrestler in the tournament. He dominated the 145-pound weight class.
Elliott Pedigo did the same at 152 pounds. Both pinned every opponent they faced.
"Trey and Elliott, they both just took care of business," Fiser said. "But what I was really pleased with was our two freshmen, Ansy Webb and John Justus. They both did a good job and it was a big boost to the team."