More than two weeks into practice, long-time Madison head coach Mike Sacra was pleased to report that 25 names appear on this year’s wrestling roster.
Of the 25, only six are familiar. They include Jacob Sacra, Jack Bourdon, Christian Corbin, Jacob Sikora, David Barringer and Zac Pollina. And of those, Bourdon, Corbin and Barringer are seniors, while Sacra, Sikora and Pollina are only sophomores.
The other 19 names are those of newcomers, including eight eighth graders, who can compete only in exhibition matches.
Never one to dwell on anything beyond his control, the savvy Sacra summed it up this way: “We’ll roll with what we’ve got.”
And the wrestler who “rolled” the farthest last year and is expected to “roll” on again this season is heavyweight Jacob Sacra.
Last year, the younger Sacra steamrolled his way to an overall record of 45 wins against just three losses capped by a third-place finish at the 2A state tournament in Salem. He also took first place at both the Region 2B and Bull Run District Tournaments. Of his 45 victories, 22 came by way of fall.
Corbin sat out last season due to an injury but returns his senior year with a career record of 52 wins and 19 losses. He will represent the Mountaineers at 220 pounds.
Bourdon competed a year ago at both the 138 and 145-pound weight classes and is the projected starter this season at 138 pounds. A quick study, Bourdon made valuable contributions to the team and recorded 19 victories last year, 14 of those by fall.
Barringer competed in just five bouts last year at 160 pounds and finished at 1-4. He returns to the same weight class this season.
Sikora competed as the team’s 120 pounder last season and claimed 15 victories. He bumps up two weight classes to 132 pounds this season.
Pollina found the going rough last year at 220 pounds and will be the backup to Sacra at heavyweight.
The Mountaineers have three freshmen who will compete for the start at 106 pounds: Da’Quan Ravenal, Joe Johnson and Aubrey Shifflett.
The projected starter at 113 pounds is Sam Pequignot, a junior, and his challenger is Evan Sabine, a freshman.
Hunter Dallas, another freshman, is listed as the team’s 120-pound entry, while Dillon Wilson, a junior, is the team’s wrestler at 126 pounds.
Sikora (132) and Bourdon (138) are next in the lineup, but then the team has current vacancies in the next two weight classes at 145 and 152 pounds.
Coach Sacra, and first-year assistant coach Michael Foster, hope to eventually have those two voids filled.
Foster is a 2005 graduate of Madison County High School where he wrestled under Sacra all four years. His best finish was his senior year when he placed fifth at the state tournament in the 140-pound weight class. Foster is the school’s resource officer, a veteran of active duty with the Navy, and a current member of the Naval Reserve.
Back to this year’s lineup, after the projected forfeits at 145 and 152 pounds, Barringer is up next at 160 followed by sophomore Corey Helmick (170), seniors Ben Woodward (182), Maleek Butler (195) and Corbin (220), and the sophomore Sacra (285).
The eighth graders include Josh Lamb and Evan Pack (106), Kylie Burch (113), Ryan Meredith (120), Silas Carter (132), Wesley Woodward and Matthew Sacra (138) and Lucas Woodward (220).
The regular season gets underway Dec. 4 with a quad at Fluvanna County High School with Fork Union Military Academy and Grace Christian School in the mix. Two days later, the Mountaineers are scheduled to compete in an eight-team invitational at Monticello High. The other six teams include Charlottesville, Cumberland, Massaponax, Orange, Woodberry Forest and West Springfield.
“We’ve got a pretty good group of kids who are working hard,” said Sacra. “We’ll see where the chips fall.”