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Powhatan's Cade Van Buskirk (left) matches up against Goochland's Max Moreno from the neutral position in Wednesday's 138-pound match at Goochland High School.

Indians, Bulldogs meet for the first time on the mat

GOOCHLAND – He would not let go.

Keeping a grip on his Goochland opponent Max Moreno, Powhatan sophomore Cade Van Buskirk prevented him from escaping twice and from pulling off a reversal to protect his early 2-0 lead in Wednesday’s dual. From there, the 138-pounder added another reversal in the second period and parlayed a third-period takedown into a pin of Moreno with 33 seconds left in the match.

It was a strong showing from Van Buskirk, who built on his third-place finish in Saturday’s Arrowhead Invitational at Powhatan High School.

“He’s really coming along. He’s one of those kids – just tough as nails, man,” Powhatan head coach Jonathan Tanaka said. “Today, it was funny – in class, he was like: ‘You know, I had some bumps and bruises’ like we all do. But it’s never an issue of stopping him from wrestling. It’s always like: ‘Yeah, like I’m a little banged up,’ and if you ask him if he’s going to wrestle, he looks at you like you’re stupid, which is what I love about him, man. It’s like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about; we’ve got a match tonight, I’m gonna wrestle,’ which you never have to talk him into anything. He’s always ready to go. It’s what we love about him.”

Van Buskirk’s pin contributed to a dominant dual for Powhatan, who defeated Goochland on Wednesday 58-15. Van Buskirk seized the lead of his match with an early reversal, then stayed tough on top after blood time before building up to the pin.

Matthew Bales, wrestling at 160 pounds, also picked up a big win over senior Kieran McCaul, who the previous week placed third for Goochland in the James River District championships. Bales, a junior, overcame McCaul’s 2-1 lead with an escape and the go-ahead reversal, then turned him onto his back for the pin 35 seconds into the third period. With both Bales and Van Buskirk, Tanaka said it’s about getting them more mat time and experience.

“Just happy to get them another match before we roll into this postseason stretch,” Tanaka said.

Sean Hall (126) pinned Goochland’s Blake Smith in 35 seconds. Andrew Cheatham (145) jumped out to a 10-2 lead after two periods, then battled to pull off the pin against Corey Vincent with 49 seconds left in the match after he took Vincent down to the mat with a thud.

Hans Rehme (170) powered his way to a 10-0 win by major decision over Jon Daly. Hayden Fitzsimmons (182) pinned Goochland’s Alex Thompson with 44 seconds left in the first period, and Linwood Hill (195) battled to pin Ethan Ford with 26 seconds left in the second.

It was Powhatan’s first time wrestling Goochland, although last year the Bulldogs’ wrestlers came over to Powhatan a couple of times for joint practices. The young Goochland program has embraced tough schedules early on as a means of having their student-athletes take on seasoned wrestlers.

“Coach [Mike] Nadder and coach [Jeremy] Wampler, I think they’re doing a really good job; I’ve been in [the] position where you’ve got to build a program from scratch. It’s definitely hard. There’s definitely some patience there. I understand how it’s difficult to schedule as well,” Tanaka said. “When they approached me with this, I thought it was a good fit for us…so hopefully we keep that rivalry going year-to-year. I’d like to keep it as a home-and-home. I think the rivalry will be good for us over time.”

Powhatan has concluded its regular season and will next wrestle in the Class 4, Region B championships, which will be held the weekend of Feb. 14-15 at Spotsylvania High School. With the time in between, the Indians are looking forward to resting, recuperating and getting some of their wrestlers healthy for regionals.

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