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Not to be Denied – Donahue Claims State Title

Sophomore Bulldog wrestler scores late to win at 140 finals.

Westfield High’s Beau Donahue won all four of his matches to earn the 140-division title at last weekend’s Virginia State AAA wrestling championships, which took place on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 18-19) at Robinson Secondary.

Donahue, a sophomore, was the lone Westfield wrestler to win a state title. However, several other Bulldogs earned top eight medals within their respective weight brackets in boosting Westfield to a fourth place overall team finish.

Donahue, who two weeks ago captured his first Northern Region championship, defeated senior Jacob Kingett of Forest Park High (Woodbridge), 7-3, in Saturday night’s 140-division state title match.

“I don’t even know how to react,” said a joyful Donahue, moments after receiving his first place medal. “This is a feeling I can’t explain.”

Donahue (60-3) , a two-time Concorde District champion, scored a flurry of points late in the third period of the finals match to overcome a 3-2 deficit and defeat Kingett (51-8), a third place state finisher last year who concluded his high school career with 156 wins.

Kingett trailed Donahue 2-0 after one period. Late in the second period, he was down just 2-1 before earning a takedown to move in front of Donahue, 3-2. Later, with 40 seconds remaining in the third period, Donahue, in start-up action from the down position, turned the match in his favor for good with a two-point reversal with 25 seconds left to go ahead 4-3. He continued to maintain control of the match, working Kingett at the edge of the mat for more points as the final seconds went off the clock.

Donahue, when he trailed 3-2 in the third period, said he had a momentary thought of all the hard work he had put into his sport throughout the year. He did not want his season to end with a one-point loss in the state finals.

“I thought of all the hard work and training I did and that helped keep me in the right frame of mind,” said Donahue. “I tried to keep [Kingett] from doing what he wanted and I kept being aggressive.”

Donahue said he received good advice and encouragement from his coaches throughout the match.

The championship victory was a fantastic conclusion to a great year for the 10th grader.

“I peaked at the right time this season and wrestled to the best of my ability,” he said.

He expressed pride in his teammates and the successful season the Bulldogs had this winter.

“We all wrestled well and believed in each other as a team,” he said. “We came prepared every match.”

Donahue won his first match at states on Friday afternoon – a 5-1 winner over Dashon Eure of Cox High (Virginia Beach). That evening, he earned a third period pin win over Christian Garcia of Osbourn High (Manassas) in a quarterfinals match.

The following afternoon in the semifinals, the Wildcat standout bested junior Zach Kechter of Salem High (Virginia Beach), 6-4, to advance to that evening’s championship round versus Kingett, the top seed from the Northwestern Region.

<b>WESTFIELD HAD TWO</b> third place finishers at states in Derek Arnold (125-division) and Brett Campbell (112).

Arnold, a sophomore and the No. 3-seed from the Northern Region, came back to win the consolation finals despite losing his first round match – a pin loss to senior Buddy Scarborough of Salem High (Virginia Beach).

In the loser’s bracket, Arnold went on a tear, winning five straight matches to garner third place. He concluded his state tournament by defeating senior Zach Isenhour of Kempsville (Virginia Beach), 4-2, to claim third. To reach that consolation finals match Arnold had beaten Chase Colley of Hermitage (Richmond), 10-0; Donte Henderson of Stafford, 11-2; Taylor Misuna of Grassfield (Chesapeake), 3-2; and Scarborough, whom he had lost to earlier, by forfeit.

“It was disappointing losing my first match and working all the way back [in the loser’s bracket],” said Arnold. “But I’m very glad where I ended up. This is my first time at states.”

Arnold, in the match with Isenhour for third place, anticipated it would be a close score. “I knew he was a real tough opponent,” he said.

Arnold said he was not tired going into the consolation finals even after his long string of wins in the loser’s bracket.

“Honestly, I was so psyched to be in the state tournament,” he said. “It gives you more energy. It’s just awesome.”

Meanwhile, Campbell, at 112, was a 6-0 consolation finals (third place) winner over Michael Hayes of Colonial Forge (Stafford).

He opened with a first round 3-2 win over Michael Flora of Hanover (Mechanicsville). He then defeated Hayes in the quarterfinals, 3-1, before losing in the semifinals to Cody Stageber of Cox, 3-1. Campbell, this year’s Northern Region runner-up, bounced back strong with a loser’s bracket win over Dalton Henderson of Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach), 8-2, to earn his spot in the consolation finals.

Campbell, following the loss to Stageber in the semifinals, was plenty motivated to bounce back strong from the loss and excel in the loser’s bracket. He wanted to go further at states than he had last year when he finished sixth.

“I used the edge of having lost and tried to come back and get third place,” said Campbell. “My goal was to improve on last year.”

Westfield’s other place finishers at states were Tyler DeLeon (eighth at heavyweight) and Steven Aiello (eighth at 130). DeLeon’s tournament wins came over Jon Burgess of Brooke Point (Stafford) and David Lazo of Edison. Aiello’s state wins at 130, both in the loser’s bracket, came over Billy Martin of Battlefield (Haymarket) and Jonathan Gray of Hopewell.

<b>ROBINSON SECONDARY</b> captured the team championship on Saturday, marking the first time since 1985 – when Robinson also won it - that a team from the Northern Region has won a state title. The Rams also won the state crown back in 1981. Like this year, Robinson Secondary was the host site for the ’81 state tournament.

Robinson’s individual state champions last weekend were Brooks Martino (135-division) and Jake Smith (119). Rams who reached the finals before losing were Dallas Smith (112), Jack Bass (125), and Jake Pinkston (heavyweight).

Robinson won the team title with 155.5 points, besting runner-up Cox High (125) of Virginia Beach and third place Colonial Forge (98.5) of Stafford. Forest Park (76) of Woodbridge took fourth place and Westfield High (69) from the Northern Region was fifth. Annandale High, also from the Northern Region, finished 11th place at the 20-team meet.

Other individual state champions to come out of the Northern Region were Donahue (140-division) of Westfield and Dane Harlowe (125) of Annandale. Henry Majano (130) of Wakefield High finished second.

Other top eight place finishers from the Northern Region were: Joseph Vanderplas (third place at 215) of Fairfax; Ali Musa (fourth at 215) of Annandale; Scott Blackstone (eighth at 189) of South County; Dusty Floyd (fifth at 171) of Mount Vernon; Tim Fitzpatrick (eighth at 171) of Robinson; Wes Jones (third at 160) of Robinson; Christian Merino (seventh at 160) of South County; Kombeh Koroma (fifth place at 152) of Lee; Zaq Depasquale (eighth at 145) of Robinson; Rory Renzi (fifth at 135) of Lake Braddock; Omar Maknassi (seventh at 135) of T.C.Williams; Santiago Valdez (third at 130) of Robinson; Nathan Cobu (sixth at 130) of Hayfield; Robert Dooley (fifth at 119) of Madison; Jon Le (seventh at 112) of Annandale; and Hunter Manley (eighth at 103) of South County.