Heathwood Hall wrestling coach Hank Wall deemed the 2008-09 season a success, despite a 7-16 record.
“Though it was a rather marginal dual record, our problem was not qualitative but quantitative,” said Wall. “We usually gave up four to five forfeits in each dual and when you start the match 30-0 behind, it means you better win almost all of the other matches in order to have a chance to win the team score. I was real proud of the way our team wrestled despite the forfeits. In fact, if you take away the forfeits, there were only two occasions where teams actually beat us on the mat head to head, so that speaks well to the skill level of the kids we do have. Next year, if we can get more kids out for the team and fill in the lineup, we should have way more success as a team.”
The highlight of the season was senior Preston Busbee’s third straight SCISA state championship run that closed out an outstanding career on a very high note. Busbee claimed 112-pound honors for the second year in a row, finishing with a season record of 37-1 and a career mark of 92-12. Other highlights included titles at the Taco Bell Cardinal Newman tournaments in December. Busbee was the first SCISA entry to ever claim weight-class honors at the venerable Taco Bell event. He was voted the mlost outstanding SCISA wrestler in the lower weights this season.
“Preston, rightly, can claim to be one of the best wrestlers in the state, regardless of classification,” said Wall. “I can’t say enough good things about Preston as a leader on and off the mat. He’s a small guy, but he has a big heart.”
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Charles Gray (29-5 at 119) and and freshman Fripp Prioleau (21-5 at 125) were the Highlanders’ other SCISA champions this season. Gray and Prioleau are two of the nine veterans Wall expects to have back ion the fold next year. Freshman heavyweight Harrison Penndarves and junior Joseph Walker (145) returning after placing second and third, respectively, at the SCISA state tournament. Penndarves finished with a 17-12 record, while Walker checked in at 15-11.
The rest varsity cast this season featured eighth-graders Robert Summers and Will Lord (both at 103), sophomore Wes Summers (130), freshman Jacques Jean Gilles (119), sophomore Kyle Maitland (152), senior Jack Moorman (160), sophomore John Crosthwaite (171) and freshman Emerson Smith (152).