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Wed., Dec. 5 - for-bd-wrestlers-moore-sets-hope-on-group-of-four
For BD wrestlers, Moore sets hope on group of four
© Gainesville TimesTalk about mixed signals.
Brentsville District wrestling coach Jess Moore laid out a set of contrasts for his varsity squad a day after his team finished second-to-last at Forest Park's season opening tournament.
The Tigers forfeited six weight classes for a host of reasons, ranging from discipline to weight to even skin issues.
In fact, out of his 32-member roster, Moore identified only four stand-outs at this point who he could definitely see having a shot of making it to states.
Yet, the three-time Group A state champion (1991, 1992 and 1994) still claimed his team as a whole could still a title of some sort this year.
Moore offered a blunt view about the Evergreen District, saying that "just because we're not good wrestlers doesn't mean we can't win the district."
"It's Northern Virginia," he said.
That's to say he didn't think the quality of competition is as fierce as it is downstate. Fauquier, of course, would contest that given that the school generally sends several kids to states each year.
Yet, since 1987, only three schools have won the Group AA state title and they're all from the southern part of the commonwealth.
The last 11 in a row belong to Christiansburg.
Grundy captured 14 of the prior 15 titles. Poquoson landed one over Christiansburg in 1999.
So while Moore is not setting his sights on Brentsville capturing its 10 state team championship (the nine it does have came at the Group A level), some individuals could be contenders.
Senior Zach Roseberry came in third at states this past season as a 182 pounder and finished second in 2011.
Now, he's wrestling at 195 pounds.
Even though Brentsville isn't officially naming team captains, "Zach would be our captain," said Moore, touting Roseberry's perfect record against Forest Park.
He pinned a state-ranked opponent from Ocean Lakes "in a minute" and defeated another state qualifier from Lake Braddock.
They both represent Group AAA schools.
"He's a fast kid, he's a quick kid, and he tries to attack from a number of different angles," said Moore. "He's pretty much got the same game plan at 195."
On the other end of the weight scale, Jeffrey Walker is competing in his junior year as a 106 pounder one season after finishing second in the district at 113.
Like Roseberry, he recorded a flawless tournament at Forest Park.
Walker is relentless as a top wrestler, known for running arm bars and being someone who "just hammers" his opponents, according to Moore.
"He's great on the mat both on top and underneath," added the coach. "He's really good at scramble situations on the mat."
Brenden Velez swapped with Walker after battling in the 106-pound weight class last season, taking on 113 pounders this time.
Velez brought home fifth place from states as one of only four Tigers to qualify for the tournament.
After dropping his first match this weekend, Velez went on to sweep his next five.
"He's a little bit of a rope-a-dope wrestler. He'll hang out, wait for you to over-commit and then wrestle you," said Moore, describing Velez's technique as "unorthodox."
"Like Walker, he's really good on the mat, on top and on bottom. He likes to roll around."
Sophomore Robert Theimer is back as another Tiger to watch this season, competing at 120 pounds instead of the 126 he fought in the prior season.
"He bought into what we teach in the room. We ask him to perform a certain way," said Moore. "He does his best to try it and he had success with it and he's going to keep having success with it. He's aggressive; he doesn't back down."
That helped him pin opponents from Lake Braddock and Woodbridge during the Forest Park tournament and keep up with other tough AAA competition from Osbourn Park, Mountain View and Ocean Lakes, even if he didn't win.
As a state-qualifying cross country runner though, Theimer is built more for speed and endurance than brute strength.
"He just has to get stronger. It's something he'll probably get better at throughout the season," said Moore. "There's a different strength that's needed for cross country than for wrestling, that's for sure."
Helping out the team this year is Velez's older brother Tucker, who graduated in 2007.
The assistant coach previously wrestled under Moore and still possesses the same willingness to be a "student of the sport" who is "constantly trying to learn new stuff" when it comes to tactics and strategies.
"Bringing him back into the room, he's sort of doing the same thing now," said Moore.
Overall, the head coach is hoping for big things from Roseberry, Walker, the younger Velez and Theimer.
After that, it's an open guess about who will step up.
"I don't think it's going to be a struggle for the four kids I just mentioned," said Moore. "(They're) beating people that they're not supposed to beat.
"But the people that don't want to get on board, they might have a tough year," he added, claiming that he has enough wrestlers to fill every hole in the line-up. "If they win, the door's open: they can step in and pick up where the other kids left off. Or they can't."