Published 11:12 am Monday, December 24, 2018
7-man lineup holds 5-4 record
Cumberland County High School’s varsity wrestling team is adjusting to a new head coach, has only half of a starting lineup and is frequently taking on teams from much larger schools, but the Dukes have been outstanding, holding a 5-4 overall record thus far.
New Head Coach Paul Dixon applauded his wrestlers for buying into the program he is helping to establish. He said they fought it a little at first, but then they realized what the expectations were and that they could get there.
“Once these guys got their first taste of real victory, it took off,” Dixon said.
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The varsity team is comprised of only eight wrestlers, one of whom is a backup heavyweight. There is one senior, six juniors and one freshman.
Because the Dukes can fill only seven weight classes, they must forfeit the other seven, giving up six points to the opposing team for each class. Nevertheless, they still have a winning record, claiming victories over Virginia High School League (VHSL) Class 6, 4 and 2 teams. They even defeated Appomattox County High School.
“That was the first time that Cumberland has beaten Appomattox in wrestling,” Dixon said.
Also possessing a winning record are each of the Dukes’ starters on the individual level.
Junior 120-pounder Lamard Jackson is 7-4, junior 138-pounder Trequan Trent is 10-2, freshman 145-pounder Sabian Luchynsky is 8-4, junior 152-pounder Trevor Dayton is 11-1, junior 170-pounder Tony Ingram is 9-3, junior 220-pounder Thomas Trowbridge is 2-1 and senior heavyweight Kaijhaun Trent is 10-2.
Junior Blake Barker backs up Kaijhaun Trent in the heavyweight class.
In one match, the Dukes took on elite Patrick Henry High School, of Ashland, a VHSL Class 4 team, and lost, but the individual level was no sweep.
“We had a couple important victories there that really helped pump the kids up, because Patrick Henry-Ashland is a very high-level program,” Dixon said. “And I told the kids, ‘Let’s work just as hard as they do to ascend to that level.’”
In listing his team’s leaders, Dixon started by highlighting Trequan Trent, who is now at the 132-pound level.
“He doesn’t play football, so he started in the fall doing two days a week with us for all (of) fall,” the coach said. “He never missed one practice. I mean, it’s optional, so he was there every day, and that translated to him being more comfortable when the winter came around. And he’s stepped up and been a leader.”
The other clear standout for Cumberland has been Dayton.
“He lost to Patrick Henry’s kid, but … instead of getting up and slamming his headgear and being upset, he comes right up, and he’s like, ‘How could I have won that? What did I do wrong?’” Dixon said. “That’s what I love about him. … He’s a leader from the beginning of practice to the very end. If his partner’s not working hard enough, he gets on him.”
The coach added, “Not that the rest of the team isn’t, but those two young men have really stood out as leaders, and their records reflect that.”
Dixon made it clear that the team’s focus is to make it to what they call “the show” — the state tournament. He said his expectation is that all seven starters will finish top-four in the region and the state.
“And that is very attainable,” he said. “I’m doubling down — I’d like to say all seven of them can win states, but Trevor and Tre can step up and do it without me thinking twice today.”
The other wrestlers also inspire his confidence.
“(A) first-year wrestler like Lamard having a winning record against (Class 3, 4, 5) teams is incredible,” Dixon said.
The Dukes are waiting to find out when they may face Amelia County High School next, and it could be their first match after the holiday break. They also host their second and final home match Jan. 8.