By JP WIDNER
Salem- Five Pulaski County High School wrestlers represented the Cougars this past weekend at the Virginia State AA Wrestling Championships. The top 64 wrestlers in each weight category competed in the Salem Coliseum for two days.
In the 106 pound category, freshman Ian Jarrells was pinned in 48 seconds by Dalton Farley of Turner Ashby. In his second and final match, Jarrells was pinned in 51 seconds by Richard Harrell of Tabb.
Kaleb Nelson lost 6-0 decision to Drew Diaz of Broadway to start his third trip to the state tournament. The 113 pound junior battled back with a thrilling 4-2 overtime win against Trae Sine of Milbrook. Nelson finished Friday night with a 10-1 major decision loss to Terrance Thompson of Warren County.
Zach Parmelee competed in the 126 pound category. The freshman was pinned in 2:37 by Bret Romanzak of Jefferson Forest in his first match. Paremelee’s first trip to the state championship ended when he was pinned in 48 seconds by Bret Shurina of Eastern View. “States were awesome,” said Zach Parmelee. “I got to compete against great wrestlers. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the second day of the tournament. I’m going to keep wrestling through the spring and summer to gain more mat time. I’ll be back next year. I’m working toward my goal…to be on the podium.”
Corey Smith, the only Cougar senior to make the tournament, battled in the 132 pound category. Smith defeated Colton Simmons of Sherando 9-5 in the first match. He then lost a 15-0 technical fall decision to Corey Todd of New Kent and eventual third place finisher at state. Smith’s stellar high school career ended with a loss to Joey Nigro of Jefferson Forest (3:58 pin). Smith finished his senior year 32-14 record, achieving his two goals….a 30 win season and a trip to the state championship. He finished with over 100 wins for his high school career (including spring/summer tournaments). Smith is considering wrestling at NCAA Division I Liberty University or Division III Ferrum College. If he chooses Virginia Tech, Smith will attempt to be on their renowned bass fishing team. Smith will major in Wildlife and Fisheries Science or human performance.
Heath White competed as a junior in the 170 pound category. In his first match, he was defeated 12-4 in a major decision by Cody Vick of Culpeper. White then lost a close 3-2 decision to Tad Haugen of Potomac Falls (eventual sixth place finisher at state).
Christiansburg won their 12 straight Virginia State AA Wrestling Championship with 158 points. Brookville placed a distant second place with 92 points followed by Eastern View (81.5), New Kent (77.5) and Brentsville (72.5). Out of 63 total teams that entered wrestlers in the tournament, Pulaski County finished tied for 50th place with 3 points. Both Kaleb Nelson and Corey Smith finished in the top ten of the state.