Wrestlers reach regality in regionals

Two wrestlers advance to states


Nathan Fishman and Brigham DeVore stand together after earning a spot to states. Fishman dominated the 182-pound bracket. (Photo courtesy of McLean Wrestling).

Nicky Varela, Managing Editor

McLean wrestling has had their fair share of talent grace the mat. Among those stands several state qualifiers, and even champions. This year, senior Nathan Fishman and junior Brigham DeVore stand a chance at adding onto that historic list.

The regional tournament for VHSL Region D began on Feb. 10 and concluded on Feb. 12 at Centreville High School. The team had high expectations for themselves coming into the tournament, as they anticipated to assert their position of power back into the district, which serves as a subset of Region D.

“Our goal as a team was to be aggressive in our matches and give it our all,” DeVore said. “Another one of our goals was to retain our place of second in the district, which we accomplished.”

DeVore had high aspirations for himself heading in, as he worked hard over the offseason to ensure improvement on the mat and overcome a torn ACL sustained last season. In addition, DeVore had never qualified for states prior to this year, unlike Fishman, so the state tournament was something that stuck out to DeVore as a driving factor.

“The main goal was to qualify for the state tournament. The other was to win the region,” DeVore said.

Like most athletics across the northern Virginia region, the pandemic has severely changed how wrestling events have been executed. Compared to last year, the general school atmosphere stood as a mental challenge for the wrestlers.The emptiness of the gym in particular was a drastic change from years past.

“It was quite a bit different than last year because there are usually a lot more guys on the team there,” DeVore said. “Only people wrestling were allowed to come to the tournament. There also weren’t any spectators.”

Along with the mental challenges of regionals, several wrestlers like  DeVore had to fight through physical obstacles and injuries that provided an extra challenge throughout the tournament.

“I have had issues with my shoulder and elbow in my left arm for most of the season, and it usually acts up after matches, so dealing with that was a struggle,” DeVore said.

In the finals for the 182-pound weight class, Fishman was matched up against John Kustra from Madison, while DeVore was pitted against Chur-Yong Mun from Langley in the 220-pound weight class. Fishman cruised to a victory, with DeVore settling for second place. DeVore noted several reasons why he fell short of defeating Mun.

“The way Langley coaches their kids to wrestle is incredibly defensive with almost no attacks. Because I’m light for my weight class, wrestling someone like this is difficult and my style of wrestling doesn’t make it any easier,” DeVore said. “I usually rack up lots of points on people and bring a ton of offense, but when they don’t do anything, it makes it more difficult to score.”

At the end of the day, both wrestlers are very optimistic towards the imminent and always-demanding state tournament that will begin on Feb. 19. Their expectations for themselves reflects the confidence they have heading in.

“The goal at states is to place,” DeVore said.

For DeVore in particular, who ended last season with a torn ACL, states serve as the ultimate redemption.

“If I can go from a freshman who didn’t make regionals to a state-placing junior, I’ll be happy with that,” DeVore said.