By LLOYD COMBS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
SALEM, Va. —
Grundy has been on top of Group AA and Group A. Saturday it reached the pinnacle for the entire state.
The Golden Wave won a record 18th state wrestling title in a romp over the rest of the 2A field at Salem Civic Center.
Grundy had seven finalists and four champs.
Senior Trey Smith won at 145 pounds to win his second state title. Sophomore Elliott Pedigo (152) and seniors Dylan Raines and Jordan McCowan (182) all won their first state crowns.
The team win was the 18th for Grundy, which is now tied with longtime AAA power Great Bridge for the most state wrestling titles all-time, in any classification in Virginia.
"You bring nine guys down here, you got seven in the finals, you win four titles," Grundy coach Travis Fiser said. "We got a third, a sixth. I'm very proud of this team and the effort they gave."
Smith showed the passion and fire that have helped Grundy win its share of championships over the years. He won a Group AA title two years ago, but was upset in the Group A finals last season.
He remained upset for almost a year to the day and didn't get over until after he pinned Wilson Memorial's Logan Via in 1:36 in the finals.
"I was more focused this year and I was more focused for this match than I've ever been," Smith said. "My teammates, my coaches said they could see it in my face, I was focused.
"I don't know what it was I was just ready for this moment. It was all I could think about all summer. I didn't do anything but wrestle, I didn't play baseball, I went to all these off-season tournaments to get better and win this title."
There were several rematches over the weekend, including two in the finals. Pedigo pinned Caleb Lankford of Richlands in the finals in 4:59 and McCowan defeated Wise County Central's Logan Adkins, 3-1. Lankford and Adkins had won in the regional finals on Tuesday.
Seniors who had qualified for and placed at previous state tournaments make the best story lines on Saturday nights this time of year and one of the best was Raines. He exploded off the mat in the second period, pushing from a 3-2 lead to pinning Austin Smiley of Riverheads at the 3:32 mark.
"I just thank God for allowing to me here, for allowing me a chance to get to the state finals," said an emotional Raines after his first state title match. "It means so much, I'm just so happy. I haven't taken a day off in forever and it paid off."
Freshman Andy Webb, sophomore Maverick Coleman and senior Austin Hurley of Grundy reached the finals for Grundy.