COEBURN — Eastside High School hosted the Aubrey Ward Classic wrestling tournament on Saturday, January 19. Teams from Virginia and Kentucky attended the annual competition.

Coach Aubrey Ward was in attendance this year. Sporting his Coeburn Blue Knights jacket from his days of being the team’s wrestling coach, he was pleased to see the number of people in attendance.

“It’s wonderful. I didn’t expect what it turned out to be. I’m grateful,” coach Ward said. “This is the most I have ever seen here for a wrestling match and I had wrestling out here for a long time. I’m glad to see it.”

The Eastside and J.I. Burton teams were not large enough to compete on their own, so they combined forces to take on the competition.

Eastside head coach Chandler Cole was thrilled with his team’s persistence when so many others had quit the sport.

“We’re doing pretty good. We have had a lot of kids just drop out, so we’re not as big as we were at the beginning of the year, “ Cole said. “We don’t have the numbers to compete as a team, but our wrestlers are still wrestling. We won all the matches our first round. We went 5-0. I was really impressed.”

Spartan wrestler Ethan Marshall went 2-2 on the day in the 126-pound division. Bryson Shepherd posted a 3-1 record at 152 pounds. J.J. Marshall was undefeated at 195 pounds as he went 5-0. Robert Backherms was 2-2 in the heavy weight division for the day.

Burton head coach Christian Caudill has suffered heavy losses this season, entering the contest with only two high school wrestlers.

“We started out with six wrestlers, but now we’re down to two: Owen Lindsey and Naomi Torres. They are both juniors. They are both improving. I am a first year coach so I am doing everything in my power to help them improve. We’re working on focus and learning our moves. Next year, we have got some real talent coming up from eighth grade. I look forward to it,” coach Caudill said.

Despite great effort both Torres at 126 pounds and Lindsey at 152 pounds lost both of their matches on the day.

The overall team winners for the day were McCreary High School for Kentucky and Graham for the Virginia state winner.

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