Fauquier’s Ariola and Raines aim for state titles
VIDEO: Click to watch interviews with Daniel Ariola and Matt Raines.
Two years ago, the teammates wrested in the same weight class.
Fauquier junior 113-pounder Daniel Ariola (L) focuses on teammate and fellow regional champion Kyle Roche (126 pounds) in practice.
Matt Raines grapples with Garrett Tingen in preparation for this weekend's state tournament. Raines took the 4A-North regional title in the 138-pound class. Tingen won the 145 division.
It’s really a sport for a different breed of kid. . . .It’s a fraternity. They train all year together, they battle together. It’s not an easy thing.
— Fauquier Coach Doug Fisher
This weekend, each has a top seed in the Group 4A state championships.
As freshmen, Fauquier’s Daniel Ariola and Matt Raines competed as 113-pounders. Raines earned honors as one of the area’s best en route to a third-place state finish.
Raines’ success taught his teammate a lesson.
Sparring with his counterpart in workouts, Ariola realized, “Holy crap, I need to practice more.”
The diminutive 5-foot-3 Warrenton native hit the weights and took refuge on the mat. Coach Doug Fisher remembered a “pudgy” kid who now “looks like a wrestler.”
In his 6-1 regional championship win, Ariola lifted opponent Ryan Meushaw several times. He displayed his aggressiveness to the full-capacity crowd in Eastern View High’s gym.
That attitude pushed Ariola towards the sport in second grade.
“My soccer coach was also a wrestling coach and he saw I was too aggressive. So he said I should get into wrestling,” he recalled.
Fisher described the junior as a “rabid Chihuahua.”
Ariola laughed at the description. His size helps when he makes weight.
“I’m the lucky one because I get to be short,” he said. “Dynamite comes in small packages.”
He climbed the ranks in two years at 113 pounds. Raines took a more circuitous route to this year’s finals in Salem.
On the heels of his state-meet bronze medal, Raines moved up to the 132-pound class as a sophomore. He won the Region II championship.
But, the title came after his opponent’s disqualification for a head-butt.
Raines sustained a concussion from the move. He couldn’t compete in the state title bout.
He decided to wrestle at 138 pounds in his junior campaign. For the first time in his life, Raines became dedicated to the weight room.
“I started taking it seriously,” he said. “I never really lifted hard until this year.”
His regiment added strength. Fisher’s guidance helped his “technician” gain power.
“He was always asking questions and considering his previous matches, but he had a tendency to overthink,” Fisher said. “He’s gained the ability to pin people this year.
“Often times, it just requires forcefulness and it’s not until you’re a senior when you develop that. Now, he’s always looking for the pin.”
Fisher’s lessons paid off Monday. In little longer than 80 seconds, Raines pinned his fellow regional finalist.
Few around the Falcon wrestling program expected anything less from the kid who has grappled since early childhood.
“I love wrestling,” Raines said. “It’s 1-on-1, so you don’t have to rely on anyone or worry about anyone else’s mistakes. I don’t mind being in an unsung sport, I’m not one to bask in publicity.”
Long hours on the mats, endless weightlifting and steady diets appeal to few teenagers.
Relatively light media coverage doesn’t bother the duo who worked tirelessly for this weekend’s opportunity.
“It’s really a sport for a different breed of kid,” said Fisher, who has coached at Fauquier since 2007. “The kids I’ve seen in other more conventional sports that get into wrestling, they quit those other sports.
“It’s a fraternity. They train all year together, they battle together. It’s not an easy thing.”
Raines and Ariola call this year’s team the closest-knit of their high school careers.
Three other Falcons will join the juniors in Salem for the state championships:
• Freshman Kyle Roche earned a top seed in the 126-pound class with his regional title.
• Sophomore Garrett Tingen also took home top honors on Monday. He will wrestle in the 145-pound division.
• Clifford Harris placed third in regionals as a 152-pounder.
“I don’t think nervous is the word,” Raines said. “I’m more eager than anything.”
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oldcoach · February 22, 2014 at 8:03 pm
I am very proud to be that "soccer coach". Daniel has dedicated himself to the toughest sport. He is an outstanding young man and always represents his community, school, family and friends with class and dignity. I have followed his career closely and I am not surprised to see him in the finals tonight.
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