Powhatan’s McMillin keeps region crown
Indians win three titles as eight reach Class 4 state meet
Powhatan’s J.D. McMillin (left) wrestled Louisa’s Zion Villines in a Region 4B semifinal match on Saturday at Powhatan. McMillin went on to win the 120-pound class.
POWHATAN — They spun wildly in circles right after the final match of the Region 4B tournament began, with both wrestlers trying to win the advantage. HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING J.D. McMillin got there first.
The Powhatan senior took Eastern View’s Dillon Werth — the same wrestler who defeated him for the state title last year — to the mat. The move gave McMillin 2 points — and the lead.
He never let it go. Using a reversal, an escape
and a near-fall to pull away, McMillin fended off a penalty, takedown and reversal to defeat Werth by a 7-5 decision and repeat as region champion Saturday night.
“I really knew that if I kept my mind straight and that I was focused on this match the right way I should’ve been, then I was going to come out on top,” McMillin said. “Overall I’m going to bring the same intensity from this week to next week to states, because this is my last year; I’m going to finish out on top.”
McMillin’s victory capped a regional competition in which Powhatan won three individual titles and reached five finals. Eight Powhatan wrestlers qualified for the Class 4 state tournament. The Indians placed second to Eastern View in the region.
“Next week, we’ll figure out what we’ve got to do to get some more kids on the podium. Last year, we had four state placers, which was a decent year … trying to do a little better there,” Powhatan coach Jonathan Tanaka said. “I feel like we’re in a really good spot; we’re wrestling really well. Everybody’s healthy as we’re going to be at this point.”
Powhatan sophomore Linwood Hill jumped out to a 4-0 lead en route to fending off Monacan’s A.J. Caijigas 5-4 at 220. His teammate Sean Hall, who had come back from a shoulder injury at the beginning of the season and had to wrestle up from the desired 113 weight class, opened the finals on a 6-5 win over Eastern View’s Johnny Laird at 126.
“I was really nervous; I didn’t know how it was going to go,” Hall said. “But I just felt good in the moment.”
“Really proud of Sean Hall, who had to beat a very, very tough kid … I thought he was phenomenal,” Powhatan coach Jonathan Tanaka said of Hall. “He proved himself there, so just happy for him.”
Hanover’s Josh Epperly won his first regional title at 160 by injury default over Courtland’s Christopher Reynolso. Reynolso briefly tried to wrestle following a leg injury he sustained during the match, but went down again and was unable to continue.
“It didn’t end how I wanted it to — it only went half the distance, but it was still fun,” said Epperly, who is enjoying what he added is his “best season by far.”
Dinwiddie junior D’Anta Johnson, in his return to wrestling since middle school, won the heavyweight title by pinning Louisa County’s Cameron Hornsby.
“He gave me a headlock, so I took advantage … capitalized,” Johnson said.
The top four wrestlers from each weight class qualified for the state meet. Wrestlers who placed fifth qualified as state alternates.
The Class 4 state meet will take place Friday at Riverside High School in Leesburg and on Saturday at Robinson High School in Fairfax.