Sunday, February 17, 2013
Dean brothers inspired by mom's cancer fight
Timesland on Twitter
- All-Timesland 2011-12: Celebrating the year's best high school athletes
- Photo gallery: Check out the top athletes from All-Timesland 2011-12
For two days at Salem Civic Center, brothers Colby and Logan Dean have had their mother in their corner.
Now they are in hers.
The two wrestlers from J.I. Burton High School in Norton were on the same mission Saturday in the VHSL Group A championships.
Colby Dean became the third VHSL wrestler to win four Group A titles, edging Parry McCluer's Nathan Tomlin 5-4 in the 152-pound division, while Logan Dean fell short of his first championship against Clarke County's Ben Wallace in the 170-pound final.
While the brothers have battled muscular opponents on the mat, their mother has been fighting an unseen foe. Shelly Dean was diagnosed with leukemia a year ago.
The disease hasn't stopped her from serving as the boys' assistant coach. From her wheelchair at matside, Shelly Dean assists her husband, Burton head coach Shawn Dean.
The Dean brothers gave her some help Saturday. Both sported warmup t-shirts with "Shellystrong" printed in orange, one of Burton's school colors.
"I went behind everybody's back," Colby Dean said. "Me and my dad, we had these made. We broke them out today. She had no idea. Anything to help to awareness for cancer, we're all on board."
Shawn Dean won a pair of Group A championships as a wrestler at Castlewood High School. Colby Dean topped that feat. The Burton senior knows he's not the toughest person in his family.
His mom is.
"So far she's beating it, knock on wood," Dean said. "She's stronger-willed than any of us. If anyone can make it, she can."
James River wrestler recovers from surgery
James River senior Kyle King pictured himself standing atop the podium as the 170-pound Group A champion.
Now King is waiting to stand up.
King was a serious contender for a state title until he suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee that forced him to default in last week's Region C final against Parry McCluer's Ben Gibson.
King underwent surgery Thursday and hopes to be ready for his freshman football season next fall at Bridgewater College.
"I was taking a shot and it was a freak accident," said King, who has been supporting his james River teammates this weekend from a wheelchair. "I knew it was injured right away, but I didn't think it was this bad."
King's 2012 football season was interrupted by an injury to his left leg. Initially believed to be a sprained ankle, it turned out to be a broken fibula.
James River wrestlers took the mat with King in mind. Owen Deacon reached the 182-pound final, while Luke Arney placed fifth at 126.
"You hear about these things happening, people's legs or arms getting hurt and not being able to wrestle, but it's unbelievable that it happened to him," Arney said. "I would have never guessed it."
Former Tech lineman coaching in tournament
Virginia Tech football fans might have recognized the head coach of Central High School in Wise County, former starting offensive guard for the Hokies Luke Owens.
Owens was the head coach at J.J. Kelly High in Wise for two years and has been the coach at Central since the consolidated school was formed in 2011-12.
Owens was a three-time Group AA champion at 275 pounds for Grundy from 1996-98 under current Tech coach wrestling coach Kevin Dresser. He was redshirt freshman on the Virginia Tech football team that played Florida State in the BCS championship game.
Central-Wise, a combination of J.J. Kelly and Pound High Schools, placed 10th in the Group A team standings.
"I love it," Owens said. "I'm really happy where I am. It feels good, especially when kids do well here. With Dresser, the same things he taught us in high school is what I'm teaching my kids."