DAMASCUS – Damascus freshman John McLaughlin (120) won by pin, major decision and through season-opening wins over Clarksburg, Springbrook and Bethesda-Chevy Chase as the Swarmin’ Hornets’ dual meet winning streak rose to 28 consecutive matches.
McLaughlin (3-0) began the run with a 10-1 victory against fourth place regional finisher Ryan Crosby, during a 66-6 triumph against Clarksburg Dec. 9.
“I didn’t know that he was a state qualifier until after the match,” said McLaughlin. “It made me proud that I beat him, but I want to continue to be challenged by some even better guys.”
During Saturday’s victories over Bethesda Chevy Chase, 54-18, and Springbrook, 51-21, McLaughlin pinned Ryan Reynolds in 3:49 and edged Letrell Harris 15-8.
“Wrestling at Damascus, it’s what’s expected of him,” said older brother, Colin (160), a senior who placed third at last year’s state tournament. “I was proud of him. I think that it was amazing and that I think he’s going to be better than me when he’s older. It’s a lot of pressure, but I think he’s ready for it.”
Colin was among seven Swarmin’ Hornets (3-0) who won all three matches, earning a pin, a technical fall and a decision.
Ryan Lawrence (138) pinned all three of his opponents; state champion Scottie Obendorfer (132) had a 40-second pin among two falls and a 19-2 technical fall; Eli Baisden (195) and Michael Bradshaw (220) both pinned twice and won decisions; and Ben Lokos (182) earned a pin and two decisions.
John Allan Ferguson and Colin Gallagher split time at 145 pounds. Ferguson earned a pin against Springbrook and a decision against B-CC, and Gallagher a pin against Clarksburg. County champion Branden Parent (160) also decked his Clarksburg rival.
John McLaughlin’s was among a pair of upsets by freshmen against Clarksburg, with and Dyllan Ramirez (126) edging fifth-place regional finisher Nick Gonzalez, 5-4.
The start is an auspicious one for a Damascus program that last year won its fourth overall Class 4A-3A tournament championship.
It also put up a perfect 25-0 record for its third straight Class 4A-3A dual meet title, its fourth consecutive Montgomery County tournament crown and its third straight Class 4A-3A Regional tournament plaque.
“We had a lot of guys who just started to get back into the room a week ago,” said Colin McLaughlin of the Swarmin’ Hornets’ 4A state title winning football team. “I think that last year, we had the best junior varsity team in the state by far, so we have some depth again this year and we’re just sifting through.”
Pinning twice for B-CC, a 47-27 winner over Springbrook, were Sam Loebig (285) and Alec Cohen (170), with Eli Guttentag (106) taking a pin and a technical fall.
Double-winners for the Battlin’ Barons were Aki Kondilis (113) and Nick Kilby (126) each with a pin and a decision.
Meanwhile last weekend, sixth-place Kevin Budock was the lone Good Counsel wrestler to finish within the top eight of his weight class as the Falcons finished 21st out of 30 teams at the Iron Man Invitational Tournament at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
“Kevin battled all weekend and wrestled very well. We left some points on the table as a team and lost too many one-point matches,” said 12th-year Falcons’ coach Skylar Saar of an event won by Wyoming Seminary of Kingston, Pa. “We’re right there with some of the nation’s best teams, but we need to learn how to win the close ones. I’m looking forward to next weekend to see how we improve at the Beast [Of The East Tournament.]”
Also Saturday, James Bamberger (138) edged Mount Hebron’s sixth-place state finisher, Jimmy Hayden, 9-8, as he became one of Walt Whitman’s three champions and eight top four place-winners during the Vikings’ runner-up finish at the 15-team Lloyd Keaser Classic at North County of Anne Arundel County.
The Vikings (466.43 points) placed second behind St. Paul’s (537.53), a program ranked fourth among Baltimore area teams during the preseason.
Also winning titles were Clark Boinis (113) and Mitch Fenton (152), with runners-up in Chris Habibian (106), Marcos Solloso (170) and John Luke Iglesias (195), a third place finish from Ezra Alexander (182) and a fourth from Hamoon Shokoohinia (160).
Jessie Turicios (285) pinned Eastern Tech’s Alex Vasylyshyn in 2:27 of their title bout as Springbrook won the overall title at the season-opening 18-team Parkville Tournament on December 4-5.
Nick Kilby (126), Letrell Harris (120), and Christian Villeda (152) finished second, Christian Balmoris (106) and Aaron Robertson (170) were third, and Aki Kondilis (113), fourth, as the Blue Devils (214) points overcame runner-up Loyola (171.5), a program that was the Baltimore area’s preseason No. 5-ranked team.
The Blue Devils of coach Rob Whittles followed their tournament success with a 42-27 victory over previously unbeaten Northwest on December 9 that was highlighted by Kilby’s 27-second pin.