When Franklin County's varsity wrestling team returns to its home mats inside Samuel M. Hawkins-Central Gymnasium Saturday, the circumstances will be vastly different from its last visit to the venue.
A week ago, the Eagles entered Hawkins Gym as a reigning champion. This week, they'll be chasing one, albeit one that is guided by a head coach with FCHS roots.
The Eagles, the two-time reigning Piedmont District champion, seeks their first Group 6A South Region Conference 3 title and if they are successful, they'll end Patrick Henry's one-year term as king of the conference's mats.
Action begins at 10 a.m.
Patrick Henry, lead by head coach Jesse Anderson, a former FCHS wrestler and assistant coach, is the reigning Conference 3 champion. The Patriots bested the Eagles in last year's inaugural tournament in Richmond by 11 points, 224.5 - 213.5.
Also competing are Richmond area schools Cosby, James River-Midlothian, Thomas Dale and Varina.
Saturday's tournament will be the last one for the foreseeable future for PH and Varina, both of which are leaving Conference 3 for Group 5A conferences at the end of the academic year. Richmond area schools Manchester and Clover Hill are moving to Conference 3.
The top four place winners in each of 14 weight classes earn berths in next week's Group 6A South Region tournament at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake.
FCHS seniors Drew Holden and Jared Mills are returning Conference 3 champions.
FCHS is not entering wrestlers in three weight classes: 106, 138 and 145. Mills (from 145 to 152) and Justin Shelton (from 152 to 160) each is advancing one weight class for the rest of postseason, first-year FCHS head coach Scott Fike said.
FRANKLIN COUNTY WRESTLING RECORDS
David Fisher (113) 40-10
Drew Holden (120) 36-11
Jonathan Altice (126) 18-15
Justin Motley (132) 9-9
Jared Mills (145) 41-8
Justin Shelton (152) 18-23
Chance Herbert (170) 26-15
Will Robertson (182) 23-10
Toby White (195) 27-18
Malik Craighead (220) 5-5
Marquis Cobbs (285) 33-12
(Weight class in parenthesis)
MAT NOTES: Mills and Shelton are scheduled to compete in the 152-pound and 160-pound weight classes for Saturday's Group 6A South Region Conference 3 tournament. Franklin County is not entering a wrestler in the following classes on Saturday: 106, 138 and 145 according to information provided by Eagles head coach Scott Fike.