The Bluestone wrestling team is gearing up for their 2019-2020 campaign and a state champion is returning to the mat for them as well. Neil Clayton Jr. returns for his senior season as the Virginia State Champion in the 220 pound division. Clayton will be looking to defend that title in Salem in February. Head wrestling coach Troy Moore was very optimistic that Clayton will be able to make it back to Salem for the state tournament and Moore is also hoping to add another Bluestone wrestler to that list this year as well. Junior Landon Lyles, who has been in the program is looking to take the next step this season. Moore spoke very highly of Lyles and his work ethic and how he feels that Lyles has what it takes to make it to the state tournament.
Last season Neil Clayton along with Alex “Tank” Hardy were the two Bluestone wrestlers to make it to the state tournament. Hardy lost early in the tournament and was unable to compete for the title after he lost. Hardy has since graduated, leaving Clayton as the lone returning wrestler who has been to the state tournament. Clayton was the first wrestler in Bluestone history to win a state championship, and he will be looking to add to the trophy case again this season. Lyles will be working hard to make it to Salem and represent Bluestone as well.
Coach Moore said that they have a lot of young talent this year with several eighth graders joining the team for the first time. Moore hopes that these young men will work hard and stick with the program throughout the year. Moore says that it is hard for a first time wrestler to endure the training that they go through every day. Moore says that his team practices each day for two hours, and most of that time is very physical. If the younger men stick with the program and work hard every day, they will have a good shot at being rewarded like the ones that have been putting in the work have.
Joining the staff this season is Jason Cody who wrestled at Southern Virginia University for four years. Cody brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team and will be an immediate asset. While speaking with Coach Moore, Cody was on the mat teaching a younger wrestler moves and techniques the entire time. The wrestling program is still young at Bluestone, and Moore is hoping that interest in the program will continue to rise. The sport is new to the county as well, and many people may not know about it or understand it, but they will have the chance to come out and support the team on December 7 when Bluestone will host the Lake Country Classic. The teams that will be competing are Appomattox, Amelia, Bluestone, Cave Spring, Dan River, Fishburne Military Academy, Halifax, Maggie Walker, Marion Senior, Nandua, Nottoway and Tunstall. Coach Moore says there will be a total of 5 state champions competing at the even including Clayton so there will be plenty of great action on December 7 at Bluestone High School for the Lake Country Classic so make sure and come out to support the Bluestone wrestling team.