Hunter Manley wanted nothing to do with a repeat performance.
One year after finishing Northern Region runner-up, the South County sophomore captured the 106-pound title by beating Westfield’s Gabe Ryan in the finals of the Northern Region wrestling championships on Feb. 11 at Hayfield Secondary School. Manley earned a 9-1 major decision, helping the Stallions to a seventh-place finish.
"I definitely didn’t want to give up [and] get second again," Manley said. "Pretty much form the start of the season, I’ve been training [and], truthfully, I want states, but [this is one of the] stepping stones."
Teammate Brett Stein took home the 160-pound championship with a 5-3 decision against South Lakes’ Ryan Forrest. South County’s Keegan Sullivan pinned Mount Vernon’s Xavier Craig to finish third in the 182-pound bracket.
The Stallions posted a team score of 79.5, good for the third-best total from the Patriot District behind Annandale and Lake Braddock. Westfield won the team title with a score of 193, followed by Robinson
(174.5), Annandale (129.5), Mount Vernon (126.5), Lake Braddock (105) and Marshall (81).
The state championships will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18 at Robinson Secondary School.
--- Jon Roetman