Carroll County will send at least six wrestlers to the Region 4-A West Tournament Feb. 11 at Amherst County High School, including a pair of Conference 24 champions.
Brothers Brennan “Pokey” Vaught and Caxton Vaught both won conference championships Saturday at the Conference 24 Wrestling Championships at Carroll County High School in Hillsville. They will be joined at the regional tournament by teammates Eli Busick, who finished second in his weight class, and Carroll’s Trenton Burnette, Brock Burnette and Ryan Sitterly, who all placed third.
Carroll County could send as many as three more wrestlers that placed fourth in their weight classes Saturday – Jaden Poe, Elijah Caviness and Jackson Shumate. Due to a complicated VHSL rule this year, some conference fourth-place finishers will advance to the regionals, while some others won’t. The fourth-place finishers that will advance were not available as of press time Monday.
The Vaught brothers made no doubt about their qualifications for the region tournament as both went undefeated Saturday. Pokey Vaught, a senior, went 2-0 in the 120-pound weight class to punch his ticket to Amherst. Vaught pinned Pulaski County’s Cade Compton in 31 seconds in the semifinals and then defeated William Fleming’s Hunter Huddleston by a 15-0 technical fall in the championship match. Pokey Vaught is now 27-7 for the season.
Caxton Vaught, a sophomore, made quick work of Bassett’s Blake Eames, pinning him in 27 seconds in the 145-pound semifinals. Vaught claimed his conference title by pinning William Fleming’s Early Ivey in 3:02 in the championship match. Caxton Vaught now has a 23-6 record this season.
Carroll senior Eli Busick reached the championship match at 152 pounds by pinning Salem’s Preston Saunders in 3:27. Busick lost by pinfall in the conference final, but not before finishing second and earning a spot in the regionals. Busick has compiled a 27-7 mark this year.
Brock Burnette, another Cavalier senior, won two matches to place third at 132 pounds and advance to regional action. Burnette dropped a 6-2 decision in the semifinals, but worked his way back by pinning William Byrd’s Braydon Wilhem in 27 seconds in the consolation semifinals and beating Salem’s Allan Hodges 2-0 in the third-place match. Burnette is 13-12 this season.
Carroll senior Ryan Sitterly earned his way to the Region 4-A West Championships by finishing third at 285 pounds. Sitterly was pinned in 5:09 in the semifinals by Salem’s David Bebout, but made a quick recovery, pinning Bassett’s Trae Hooker in just 19 seconds in the third-place match to improve to 13-16 on the year.
Carroll sophomore Trenton Burnette will also move on to the regionals after placing third at 106 pounds. Jaden Poe at 113 pounds, Elijah Caviness at 138 pounds, and Jackson Shumate at 160 pounds all still have a chance to make it to regionals depending on how the seeding plays out for fourth-place conference finishers.
William Fleming claimed the Conference 24 team championship with 177 points. Bassett was second with 148 points, while Carroll placed third as a team with 107.5 points. William Byrd (105 points), Pulaski County (98 points) and Salem (88.5 points) rounded out the top six.
Allen Worrell an be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN