2012-11-28 / Sports

Wrestlers aiming for state championship

By Fred Jeter

John Beebe /Chesterfield Observer John Beebe /Chesterfield Observer Chesterfield County schools have won Virginia High School League state championships in every sport but one, wrestling.

It’s a void Matoaca High hopes to plug soon.

With the slogan Fear the Spear, coach Michael Moore’s Warriors won Districts and Regions last year and took third at AAA States – best-ever finish by an area squad.

From that rough ’n’ tumble lineup, one State and three Region champs return, plus a rugged bunch capable of creating havoc on the brightest stages.

Moore’s three most decorated “spear carriers” are sophomore Neal Richards, junior Kyle Gordon and senior Corbin Ramos.

Soft-spoken Richards, who toots the trumpet in the school marching band, is a remarkable athlete who won States (120) as a freshman, compiling a 54-2 record.

“I just hope to keep doing what I did last year,” said Richards, as docile in his baggy sweat suit as he is dynamic in his singlet.

Richards insists his stiffest challenges come from behind closed doors, vs. teammate and close friend Gordon.

“No takedowns; it’s usually a stalemate,” offered Richards.

With a three-year record of 77-21, Gordon doesn’t mince words in announcing his goals.

“My goal is not to lose,” he said, straightfaced.

He meant for the entire year.

“I don’t see myself losing,” he added.

For a fourth-straight summer, Gordon attended the prestigious Lock Haven (Pa.) Wrestling Camp.

This time he was matched against collegians.

“I beat four of ’em,” he said.

The versatile Ramos, who also excels in football and track, won Districts and Regions last winter and was third at States.

Ramos’ father, Anthony, was a Colonial District champion in the early 1980s at Douglas Freeman, under coach Drew Bright.

Good-naturedly, Ramos suggests his Hispanic surname name creates identity confusion.

“Before people see me, they expect me to look Mexican,” he said, smiling. “I’m just an ordinary white guy … I think my great, great grandfather might have been from Spain.”

Also a football defensive end and the District discus runner-up, Ramos has all the assets on the mats: strength, speed, agility, a bevy of moves … all that’s lacking is menacing facial hair.

The rosy cheeks have earned him the nickname “Baby Face,” although he’s trying his best to cultivate a patch of chin whiskers.

Ramos was 42-9 last year with 34 pins; his career mark is 112-38.

He has an outside chance of catching former Warriors’ state champ Blake Roulo as the all-time winner. Roulo won 179 times in four years.

There is a steady stream of “rookies” mixed with the veterans.

Moore says to look out for newcomer Shawn Helm, a 280-pound freshman heavyweight.

Helm wrestled JV last year as an eighth grader when he also won the county shot put title.

The Warriors don’t believe in dodging opponents. Moore is challenging his squad with a make-or-break schedule starting Nov. 28 at Meadowbrook.

Several high-profile weekend events are on the calendar, including a Jan. 18-19 trip to State AA champ Christiansburg and a Jan. 4 Corbin Ramos, captain of Matoaca High’s wrestling squad, helped lead the team to win the Central Region wrestling title. trek to State AAA kingpin Colonial Forge.

For decades, Tidewater schools had a strangle-hold on state wrestling. Now the balance of power has drifted northerly, toward Colonial Forge-Stafford, winner of four of the last six crowns.

If Matoaca doesn’t claim States this winter, it will become more of a favorite in 2014 when it goes from Division 6 to Division 5.

Fear the spear shows no signs of retreat.

State champs

Baseball: James River 2007-’08; Monacan ’06; Clover Hill ’79, ’94; Midlothian ’85

Basketball: Meadowbrook ’94; Midlothian girls ’2000

Cheering: Cosby 2010 -’11

Cross country: Midlothian 2000, ’03, ’06, ’10; Manchester 1997; Midlothian girls 2005-’08, ’10, ’11; Manchester girls 1997; Monacan girls 1981

Field hockey: James River 2002

Football: Thomas Dale 2009, Meadowbrook ’04

Golf: James River 2008, Meadowbrook ’66

Gymnastics: Clover Hill 1984, Monacan 1981, Manchester 1974-76; Midlothian girls 1974

Track and field: Midlothian girls indoor, 2007

Soccer: Thomas Dale 2005-06; Cosby girls 2012

Softball: Cosby 2012; Manchester ’96; Midlothian ’94

Tennis: Midlothian 1977-80; Clover Hill ’94, ’96; Midlothian girls 1978

Track and field: Cosby girls indoor, 2012

Volleyball: Monacan 1998, ’02; Clover Hill 2001, ’05, ’09; James River 2010-11; Thomas Dale ’07 Source: Virginia High School League record book Note: Chesterfield schools do not compete in swimming and diving; only James River competes in lacrosse

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