Following a tough, five-win regular season, the Herndon High wrestling team is looking for better results at the Concorde District Championships this weekend at Chantilly High School.
The six-team tournament will get underway this Friday evening, Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. with preliminary round action throughout the night. It will resume again on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. The finals are expected to begin between 1 and 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Herndon, which has been hit hard by injuries this winter, has had a hard time filling out its entire line-up. But head coach Mike Gonzales has several wrestlers who he believes can put things together at districts and qualify for the following weekend’s Northern Region Championships. The top four finishers in each weight class at districts will earn medals and advance to regionals.
“Right now we only have six guys in the line-up who are healthy,” said Gonzales. “We would like to see them make regionals.”
Senior Josh Pike (125 weight class) is likely to be a No. 1 seed at districts. Pike, who began the season in fine form by finishing second at the pre-season Northern Virginia Classic, missed most of the district season as a result of injuries. But he will be rested, healthy and ready to go at districts this weekend.
“He’s cleared to wrestle and he has kept in shape,” said Gonzales.
Senior Jimmy Thomas (heavyweight) is also expected to be a top seed for Herndon. Thomas, a seasoned wrestler, has been competing in the sport for seven years or so. Herndon practice sessions are almost always tough, but they are especially so for Thomas, who has to face his head coach on the mat almost daily.
“I usually work out with him,” said Gonzales, with a chuckle. “I’m a pretty big guy and I’m pretty tough on him in practice, so he goes into matches ready.”
Thomas won 20-plus matches last year before his season ended in disappointment at districts where he barely missed the region cut.
“He had started to put it all together last year but just missed placing at districts,” said Gonzales, of Thomas. “This year he’s been pinning everybody and is undefeated in the district.”
Gabe Pike, a sophomore, will likely enter districts as a No. 3 seed. Highlights for Pike this season include a fifth place finish at the Northern Virginia Classic, a championship at West Potomac’s Christmas Tournament and a third place finish at the Patriot Classic in Maryland.
“He works hard every day,” said Gonzales, of the 10th grader. “He’s a quick learner and doesn’t make the same mistake twice.”
Other Herndon wrestlers to keep an eye on this weekend include senior Justin Magerer (145) and Ramon Reyes (112).