From staff reports
Kaine Morris was stuck on the bottom and in the defensive position for nearly the entire two minutes of the third period against Fauquier’s Kingsley Menifee.
Then a reversal at the right moment swung momentum and the state title in Morris’ direction.
The Amherst County High School senior reversed position and gained control over Menifee with 18 seconds remaining. That move gave Morris two key points and lifted him to a 4-3 victory in the 182-pound state title match Saturday in the Class 4 wrestling championships at the Virginia Beach Sports Center in Virginia Beach.
Morris became the fourth Amherst grappler to claim a state championship. Jeffery Allen won three Class 4 titles (2014 and ’16 at 195 and ’17 at 220), current Lancers coach Jason Cox won Group AA gold at 189 pounds in 2000, and Bill Evans claimed the 175-pound title in 1970.
Morris, who finished his season with a 10-0 record, took an early 2-0 lead thanks to a takedown and held that lead heading into the second period.
Menifee struck quickly in the second period. His escape netted him one point to cut the deficit to 2-1, and then the Fauquier sophomore delivered a takedown 20 seconds into the period to seize control with a 3-2 lead.
Menifee (14-3) maintained control for more than five minutes and didn’t allow Morris any opportunities to escape or reverse until Morris found a slim opening as time was ticking off the clock.
Morris, who transferred from Jefferson Forest to Amherst for his senior year, placed sixth in the 170-pound division for the Cavaliers in last season’s state championship.
Amherst’s Parker Hoden (170) and E.C. Glass’ William Lankford (182) posted third-place finishes in their respective weight classes.
The Lancers finished fourth in the Class 4 team standings with 81 points. Seth Justice (138), Kylee Martin (152), Austin Deanda (195) and Willie Jarvis (285) finished fifth in their respective weight classes, and Russell Gordon (120) and Ethan Busby (126) each placed sixth.
E.C. Glass’ Brain Honeycutt placed fifth at 160 pounds.
Morris’ win Saturday gave Amherst the title in the 182-pound weight class it barely missed out on last year. Josh Brooks nearly won the Class 4 title at 182 pounds last season, advancing to the title match before being pinned at the 1:08 mark by Fauquier’s Sam Fisher.