The NOVA MatDogs are a Centreville based travel wrestling team which feeds several area high schools. The MatDogs, in their fourth season, have proven to be one of the best travel teams in the state. The team is coached by head coach, Tim Ryan and assistant coaches, Harry VanTrees and Derek Donahue.
On Jan. 21, the MatDogs entered the Elementary Division and the Middle School Division of the Virginia State Championship, held at Old Dominion University in Virginia Beach. The team came away with a third-place finish in the Elementary Division. Several members placed in the event:
Louis Ives — 8th place, 55 pounds
Stephen Aiello — 1st place, 75 pounds — 2006 Virginia State Champion
Tommy Weston — 3rd place, 80 pounds
Beau Donahue — 1st place 90 pounds — 2006 Virginia State Champion
Beau was also selected as Outstanding Wrestler in the Elementary Division
Frank Aiello — 2nd place, 90 pounds
MIDDLE SCHOOL DIVISION:
Ryan Forrest — 4th place, 85 pounds
Tanner Karl — 8th Place, 90 pounds
Thomas Philbrick — 7th place, 95 pounds
Nick Grinups — 5th place, 126 pounds
Kevin Koch — 4th place, 135 pounds
Of the 18 wrestlers entered, 10 placed in the top-eight, receiving all-American status. Many of the weight classes had 40-plus wrestlers in their brackets representing the top wrestling teams across the state of Virginia.
The MatDogs have qualified for the Ohio Tournament of Championships, which is one of the major national level tournaments held in Columbus, Ohio on April 29.
After placing in the Virginia State Championship, Stephen Aiello, Beau Donahue and Frank Aiello were selected to join the Virginia Elementary National wrestling team, "The Virginia Challenge." The Virginia National team wrestlers are selected from the best in the state for their weight class. The team represented Virginia in the National Duals held in Wildwood, N.J., on Feb. 9-11. "The Virginia Challenge" took third place, winning against some of the best teams on the East Coast.
Stephen Aiello came away with the Gold after winning seven out of seven matches and Beau Donahue came away with the silver after winning six out of seven matches.
The next stop for "The Virginia Challenge" is the National Duals in Kingsport, Tenn., on April 7-9.