People lined up and down North Franklin and Roanoke streets Sunday afternoon to honor the Christiansburg High School wrestling team after winning its 17th straight state title a day earlier.
The team rode on the top of a fire truck with sirens blaring headed to a celebratory reception at Hawkeye Wrestling Hall. Police cars escorted them to their destination as people along the path held up signs congratulating the team on its latest triumph.
Local leaders took to the stage and paid their respects to the student-athletes. Christiansburg Mayor Michael Barber told the team, they had done a lot for the town and community.
“You have made us all proud,” he said.
Barber pointed to the young wrestlers sitting nearby.
“They are the future wrestlers for this team.”
Christiansburg has not lost a state title dating back to 2001 and has been one of the top ranked high school teams in the country for a number of years.
This season, they beat second place Warren County by over 100 points, and brought home seven state individual championships (Brandon Crowder, Garrett Kuchan, Marshall Keller, Xander Whitehurst, Nick Giantonio, Erik Eva and Ty Kwak).
Andy Smith and Nathan Warden finished as runner ups in the state competition.
Coach Cliff Warden thanked school administrators and the parents who gave their time this season.
“Thank you for your time and your support,” he said.
This is Warden’s first year at Christiansburg and he was ecstatic with the result.
“We sent 11 kids to the state tournament, and all of them produced points for us,” he said.
This successful run began in 2001 when former Grundy Coach Kevin Dresser took over as head coach. Coaches Darryl Webber and Sonny Close also brought home state titles during the stretch.
The Blue Demons graduate four wrestlers but returns a nucleus that gives the school and coach some optimism for next season and beyond.
“I think we can win a lot more, and the youngsters in our recreation and elite program provide us a great outlook. I am excited about the future,” Warden said.
For more photos and information on the team’s win, see today’s sports page.