Powhatan’s McMillin keeps re­gion crown

In­di­ans win three ti­tles as eight reach Class 4 state meet

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS - BY NICK VANDELOECHT

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.

NICK VANDELOECHT/POWHATAN TO­DAY

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