GRUNDY, Va. — There were a lot of state champions under one roof Wednesday, recent and otherwise.
Defending state champion Grundy defeated the team it supplanted at the top of Class 1 in Rural Retreat, 52-24 Friday in the historic Grundy High School gym.
Both teams had wrestlers out with injuries and Rural Retreat forfeited at three weight classes. Grundy won six matches on the mat and the Indians won five.
The dual took place under a roof over a gymnasium where hundreds of state champios have wrestled, from various schools, including dozens from Grundy who are honored in framed pictures of 21 state championship teams.
Both Rural Retreat state champs won Wednesday. Blane Sage pinned Grundy freshman Jacob Stiltner at 138 pounds and the Indians only senior, Ethan Martin, won a hard-fought 2-1 decision over Grundy's Richie Smith.
Four of Grundy's six reigning state champions were victorious. Two, Brandon Owens and Peyton McComas, are sidelined by injuries.
Kaleb Horn (106) won by forfeit; Derick Endicott (170) pinned Ross Via in 53 seconds and heavyweight Mike McCowan won by fall over Nathan Turner in just 42 seconds.
Gabe Fiser enjoyed control throughout his 16-4 major decision over Dorian Delp and seems to thoroughly enjoy the Grundy-Rural Retreat rivalry.
"We kind of had a little rivalry going with them before I was in high school yet and we were bumped up in classification for a few years," he said. "Last year we wrestled them again and started putting duals in with them and just to be able to wrestle them, they're good guys, the best in the state.
"Anything you do the crowd's behind you, the great fans here. Rural Retreat brings a good crowd whenever we wrestle in their gym, it's the same there's just a passion in the town."
There's an old school wrestling atmosphere in the old gym. The Golden Wave use the bigger, newer Riverview Elementary-Middle School gym to accommodate more fans in the annual Agie Skeens Memorial tournament each December/
But several generations were involved in past matches in the older gym. Grundy wrestling started about the same time Grundy High School's current home was built.
"I love these duals like this," said Rural Retreat coach Rick Boyd. "You get two good teams together like this, it's a lot of fun.
"This is a very historic place. I wrestled here in the eighties, so this isn't my first time in this gym. I've been here quite a bit."
With a number of wrestlers on hand ranked 1 or 2 in their respective weights at virginiawrestling.com, there were a few more memorable matches wrestled Wednesday.
Grundy won four of the final five matches, including pins by Cullen Nash-Cleek (195) and the McCowan twins, Matt (220) and Mike.
"We're pretty solid at the top, we've got a bunch of seniors," Grundy coach Travis Fiser said. "They beat us in a couple spots I thought we could win at and we've got some things we need to be working on.
"It was a great match at 82, we just gotta find some ways to score. I didn't agree with some of the calls there. I thought at '20 we could have done a little bit more and '13, we're better than we showed there."
Even several wrestlers who lost by fall were competitive for a time.
"We have one senior, two juniors and everyone else is a freshman or sophomore," Boyd noted. "Their seniors are tough. We won five of the 11 matches, so I think we're closing the gap (with Grundy) a little bit, but we got a little ways to go.
"We've got a good bunch of kids, they're working hard and they're determined to get there."
Grundy has the edge now and the 21-time state champs have pictures setting the stage for greatness all around.
"Great history, both teams and it's great to come watch us wrestle, because both we know what it's about," coach Fiser said. "This gym is great, there's just a different feel and there's a different atmosphere here, the kids like it, the fans like it.
"You look around here and you see our state championship teams up there and it just kinds of breathes wrestling."
Added his son Gabe, "You see it all around us, at all the pictures, you see Luke Owens behind us here. It's like you've got the whole Grundy squad together, so it's a good feeling."
Grundy 52, Rural Retreat 24
106 - Kaleb Horn (Gr) - won by forfeit
113 - Justin Martin (RR) pin. Ethan Blankenship (Gr), 2:17
120 - Jacob Huff (RR) dec. Kaden Vanover (Gr), 1-0
126 - Christian McGeorge (Gr) - won by forfeit
132 - Chris Stiltner (Gr) p. Carter Rouse (RR), 2:50
138 - Blane Sage (RR) p. Jacob Stiltner (Gr), 2:46
145 - Matthew Riley (Gr) - won by forfeit
152 - Gabe Fiser (Gr) maj. dec. Dorian Delp (RR), 16-4
160 - Wyatt Sage (RR) p. Casey Lawson (Gr), 1:35
170 - Derick Endicott (Gr) p. Ross Via (RR), 0:53
182 - Ethan Martin (RR) dec. Richie Smith (Gr), 2-1
195 - Cullen Nash-Cleek (Gr) p. Eli Fourtner (RR), 3:55
220 - Matt McCowan (Gr) p. Hunter Cable (RR), 5:45
285 - Michael McCowan (Gr) p. Nathan Turner (RR), 0:42