DAMASCUS – With just two years of high school experience to his name, Scottie Obendorfer is already making waves at Damascus.
“(He) ranks up there with some of the best that I’ve ever coached,” said former Damascus wrestling coach Dave Hopkins of the Swarmin’ Hornets’ junior. “All of the kids who won state titles with me, I consider them the best.”
Hopkins retired in 2009 after guiding 13 individual state champions, winning three tournament titles and two dual meet crowns in 31 seasons at Damascus.
“Scottie’s in the same company with the Randy Pickett, Brandon Yorks, the Bobby Manns, the Mike Bromleys, the Kendall Lloyds. Scottie is in that class of people. Scottie is mentally tough and he’s seen it all. He’s won some and lost some, so nothing phases him. He doesn’t fear anybody.”
Obendorfer put that fearlessness on display at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House last March, when the then-sophomore faced a draw and trailed during his respective 120-pound Class 4A-3A semifinal and title bouts.
Obendorfer had his rivals right where he wanted them.
“I’m good on my feet, so I’m fine being just a takedown or two away,” says Obendorfer of the neutral position. “I’m fine being down a couple of points at the end of the match.”
Late takedowns secured victories by 3-1 in overtime over Perry Hall’s Brent Newcomer, and, 5-4, over Huntingtown’s Gino Sita as Obendorfer completed a 42-2 season (14 pins, eight technical falls) by becoming the Swarmin’ Hornets’ second-ever sophomore state champion.
Obendorfer was among eight state place winners, pacing the Swarmin’ Hornets to their fourth overall tournament title following a 25-0 dual meet record toward earning the program’s third straight dual meet championship.
There was state runner-up Owen Brooks (170), third place two-time state champ Mikey Macklin (113), Michael Wilkerson (132), Cory Obendorfer (138) and Colin McGlaughlin (160), as well as fourth place Ari Cacopardo (182) for Damascus, which also earned its fourth consecutive Montgomery County tournament crown before taking the Class 4A-3A Regional crown four the third straight season.
“I may have met Scottie once, but I haven’t seen him wrestle, but I hear that he’s really good,” said York, a two-time state champion and four-time Atlantic Coast Conference title winner at the University of Maryland. “I wish him the best to become Damascus’ first three-time state champion. I wished Mikey Macklin the same last year. Unfortunately, he fell short.”
Wrestling bloodlines run deep for Obendorfer, the youngest of seven and the third boy of former Eddie Sr., a 51-year-old former County champion and regional runner-up who graduated from Wootton in 1982.
Eddie Jr.’s senior season was Hopkins’ final year, brother Cory graduated last season, cousin Keith Obendorfer was a Swarmin Hornet through 2007, and cousins Frankie and Eddie Baughan earned state titles at Quince Orchard in the early 2000s.
“Scottie’s the last one here, so he understands tradition as far as Damascus and family goes,” said Eddie Jr., an assistant with his father to John Ferguson. “It’s our job to keep him centered and focused since the bar is set at a state championship, but he’s already exceeded most of our expectations.”
A two-time county champion who lost in regional finals to the state runner-up during his freshman year, Scottie Obendorfer discussed family legacy, among other things, next to Eddie Sr. in Ferguson’s office following a recent practice.
“It’s cool to keep the name alive and carry on the legacy, my cousins coming to my matches, my brother [assistant Eddie Jr.] helping me out,” said Obendorfer, a red-haired, 17-year-old junior who can become the program’s first-ever three-time state champion. “It would be really cool to be the first three-timer. That motivates me a little bit. But I can’t get ahead of myself. That’s when you get upset.”
Obendorfer’s lone defeats came during last year’s fourth-place finish at The War on the Shore by decisions to private schools runner-up Michael Doetsch of Severn and third-place private schools finisher Kyle Trybus of Mount St. Joseph.
“The two matches at War on the Shore were awesome, back and forth competition,” said Ferguson of Obendorfer, who was 42-4 with 22 pins as a freshman. “I think that he learned from that and was better prepared from the intensity, which got him ready for states.”
Obendorfer secured another tight victory during the Swarmin’ Hornets’ 30-29 dual meet title-winning effort against North Hagerstown, edging eventual state champ Brian Stuart 5-4. Stuart also narrowly defeated Macklin 6-4 in the state quarterfinals.
“Scott had to win for us to win, and he knew it at the time,” recalled Eddie Sr. of his son, who carries a weighted 4.26 grade average. “At that point, we knew we were sort of out of it unless Scott won. Eddie [Jr.] slapped Scott’s hand and was about to explain that to him when Scott said, ‘I got this.’”
Returning from last year with Obendorfer (126 or 132) are County champions McGlaughlin (152-170) and Brendan Parent (152-170) and County runner-up TJ Macklin (113-126).
A senior, McGlaughlin was a region title winner. The juniors Macklin and Parent placed second and third.
Johnny McGlaughlin (120) and Elijah Baisden (195) “are two incoming freshmen who are ready contribute this year,” said Ferguson, who will also have and sophomores Ryan Lawrence (138), Luke Carls (145) and his own son, John Allan Ferguson Jr. (138-145) at his disposal.
Other wrestlers include senior Davey Creegan (145-152), junior Mikey Bradshaw (220) and sophomore Ben Lokos (170-182).
“There is no pressure for Scottie to be a repeat state champ. He’s just one of the guys,” said Ferguson. “But we do look to him as a leader. It’s just going out there and doing something that you’ve been doing since you’ve been walking.”