Brookville's Jackson wins state wrestling title
By Chris Humphreys
Lynchburg News & Advance
Sunday, March 4, 2007

SALEM - It was a triumphant day for Brookville's Ryan Jackson at the Group A/AA state wrestling tournament at the Salem Civic Center.

The junior heavyweight completed his domination of the other Group AA heavyweights with a 14-6 victory over New Kent's Jimmy Handler in the championship match.

"It's just great to see all the hard work I've put in this season paid off," Jackson said. "I wrestled as well as could have this weekend. I wrestled all my matches tough for all six minutes no matter who I was wrestling."

The six points he surrendered to Handler were the only points he surrendered all weekend.

"He couldn't have wrestled any better this weekend," Bees' coach Don Shuler said. "He was never really challenged. He was great."

Brookville finished sixth in the team competition with 61.5 points. Christiansburg won its sixth consecutive team title scoring 259.5 points.

"We did pretty well," Shuler said. "We got sixth and had several wrestlers place in the tournament. We are a young team. We only had two seniors."

Brookville's Zeb Stewart (112) claimed fourth, Eric Laughlin (171) finished fifth and Ronnie Guthrie (140) took sixth.

Liberty's Roger Shepherd (189) and Ryan Reynolds (140) both finished fourth.

Shepherd, a senior, lost a thrilling overtime match 8-6 to Central-Woodstock's Hunain Khawaja.

Khawaja grabbed a 6-3 lead with less than a minute left in the third period but Shepherd escaped and scored a takedown on Khawaja with less than 10 seconds in the match to send it to overtime.

"Your expectations when you come here are to win and I came here as senior and gave it everything I had," Shepherd said. "I'll settle for fourth. It's a tough tournament and was a heck of year."

"(Reynolds and Shepherd) showed they were some of the top wrestlers in the state," Minutemen coach Darryl Updike said. "They are walking away with fourth place. There are only three other wrestlers in the state of Virginia that can say they did better and that's pretty good."

Staunton River's Will Epperly (119) finished fifth and Nick Roselund (160) placed seventh. Jefferson Forest's Brandon Beemer (215) grabbed seventh place.

Chatham's Nicolas Keel (189) snatched away third place in the Group A tournament at the last moment.

Keel scored a takedown on Castlewood's Matthew Phillips with 15 seconds to take a 7-6 lead and then pinned him with two seconds left in the match.

"Overall it was a good tournament," Keel said. "I would have liked to have done a little better but it was good season. It was awesome (to go out with a pin) and I really loved wrestling for Chatham."

The Cavaliers Cory Lollis (215) and Justin Scearce (103) placed sixth. Bernard McGee (135) claimed eighth.

Lynchburg's John Scott officiated his last wrestling tournament tonight and was presented with a plaque for 35 years of service.

Scott also founded the wrestling program at E.C. Glass in 1969 and served as the Hilltoppers' coach for five years. He taught at Heritage High School.