KINGSPORT — Seventeen years ago, the Indian Classic began with 16 teams. Since that time, the field has grown to include as many as 32 wrestling squads and the tournament currently is in the second year of being sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.
When the 2013 tournament wrapped up Saturday, 29 schools had taken part and grapplers from as far away as Pennsylvania had left their sweat and efforts on the mat.
One of those leaving his mark was Coy Ozias out of Christiansburg High School in Virginia.
The résumé Ozias brought with him is quite impressive. He is a three-time state champion and a national champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, and has been ranked as high as 16th nationally. Top that off with the fact that he has already signed scholarship papers with Princeton.
“This isn’t like a team sport like basketball where you might lose because somebody else messes up,” Ozias said. “It’s all up to you, how hard you work and the decisions you make.”
Ozias kept his early-season mark unblemished at 10-0 by claiming the 132-pound tournament title Saturday.
Christiansburg was well represented in the finals with first-place finishes in five events. The school also garnered the overall team title after outdistancing Bremen High School, from Bremen, Ga.
Christiansburg’s Blue Demons are the 12-time defending AA state champion, but with VHSL redistricting moved up to AAA this year.
Dobyns-Bennett had several wrestlers medal, with Palmer Begley (160 pounds) and Tyler Dean (170) garnering third-place finishes.
The Indians placed eighth in the overall standings.
“The competition is really tough this year with the top 15 teams being really good,” said D-B coach Buzzy Mann. “The tournament has gone really well and I couldn’t do this without great assistant coaches, boosters and parents that help.
“I also have to give kudos to the Junior Air Force ROTC program. We are sponsored by the U.S. Air Force and the program members have been our table workers all weekend.”
Southwest Virginia was well represented by Grundy High School. The Golden Wave are known for a topnotch program and have won the A state championship the past two seasons, The school moved to AA this season.
The team had four members in the finals and finished fourth overall — a follow-up to last year when they placed sixth overall.
“We’ve got a pretty good crew for this season and we should be ranked No. 1 in the state, but with the VHSL reclassification it is going to be harder to get there to the finals,” said Grundy coach Travis Fiser. “They are not taking as many so we are going to have to have our second-tier guys step up.”
Complete team and individual results can be found online at trackwrestling.com.