RIDGEWAY, Va. — Chalk up another party-crashing caper for a local team traveling north of the border.
North Surry’s wrestling team became the latest Surry County team to accept an invitation to a tournament in Virginia and bring the championship back to the Tar Heel State, capturing the title in the eight-team Magna Vista Invitational on Saturday afternoon.
The Greyhounds, who were coming off a 78-4 rout of Carver the night before as they begin their defense of a long run of Western Piedmont Athletic Conference titles, found the sledding much tougher in Virginia, but still nothing they couldn’t handle.
Of the eight teams competing in the tournament, only North Surry and R.J. Reynolds were from outside the Old Dominion. The tournament was organized in dual-team style, with two pools of four teams each. Each team wrestled the other three in its pool, with the winners squaring off for the championship and the second-place teams going for third.
The Hounds were in a group with Hidden Valley, Martinsville and host Magna Vista, while the other pool included Reynolds, Bassett (Va.), Hargrave Military Academy and Oak Hill Academy.
The first and last matches of the day for North were the decisive ones. In their opening match, the Hounds had to hold off Hidden Valley (Roanoke, Va.) 40-39.
“That was a good match, as close as it could be,” said North Surry head coach Eric Jessup. “We were short a few people on Saturday, but I think everyone was. Hardly anyone is at 100 percent at this time of the year.”
Hidden Valley bounced back from the loss and won out, eventually finishing third in the tournament. In the meantime, the Greyhounds clobbered both of the local teams, hammering Martinsville 66-12 and then blanking Magna Vista 78-0 to earn a spot in the finals.
In the other half of the draw, Bassett beat the other three teams and won its pool to earn a date with North Surry for the championship.
The championship match was another barnburner, with North Surry holding off the Bengals 42-40.
“This was a very good tournament,” said Jessup. “It’s good to get out of the area and see different competition, which is why we went over there to compete.”
Six North Surry wrestlers went undefeated on the day. Luke Wagner (106 pounds), Toby Pyles (132), Reid Walker (145), Ty Smith (160) and Sammy McMillian (170) all went 4-0 on the day. Avery Simmons (195) went 3-0, and was held out of one of the one-sided matches so that Jessup could give a younger wrestler an opportunity.
The Hounds will host Forbush tonight in an important conference match.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.