GAITHERSBURG– Damascus crowned four champions among seven finalists and placed eight wrestlers in the top three of their weight classes and 10 in the top four toward winning its fifth consecutive and 14th overall Montgomery County Tournament title in the 54th annual event at Gaithersburg High.
Defending county and regional state champion junior Scottie Obendorfer (126) earned his third straight crown, and freshman Johnny McLaughlin (113), sophomore Ryan Lawrence (132) and sophomore Ben Lokos (170) all earned their first crowns as the Swarmin’ Hornets (272.5 points) easily out-distanced runner-up Bethesda-Chevy Chase (169 points) and the rest of the 25-team field.
Finishing second were sophomore John Allan Furgeson (138), junior Brendan Parent (152) and senior Colin McLaughlin (160), with freshman Elijah Baisden (182) finishing third, and freshman Ethan Rendleman (106) and junior T.J. Macklin (120) each finishing fourth.
Parent and McLaughlin were county champions last year, with McLaughlin also winning regions and placing third at states. Macklin was a county and regional runner-up a year ago for the Swarmin’ Hornets, who will gear up for next weekend’s Class 4A-3A West Regionals in advance of the following weekend’s state tournament.
“This was a great victory for us,” said coach John Furgeson, whose Swarmin’ Hornets (22-0) won their unprecedented fourth straight Class 4A-3A state duals title and their 102nd consecutive match last Saturday, and are after their fifth overall state tournament title.
“Our young kids really stepped up to the plate, and I thought we learned a lot about ourselves today. Next week is a big week, and we really have to do this all over again. Hopefully, we’re rising to the top and we’ll be able to finish this season off strong.”
A returning state champion, Obendorfer rose to 30-2 with a 13-4 major decision over Jack Connolly of Churchill, whose 9-6 semifinal victory over Magruder’s Joe Sanchez avenged an earlier 8-7 loss. Sanchez finished third for the second straight year after finishing fourth at regions a year ago.
“I knew Sanchez and Connolly were just about equal, so I was ready for either one,” said Obendorfer, whose father and brother, Eddie Sr. and Eddie Jr., were his coaches for the match. “It happens every time that they can do it. It’s special having family in the corner. They know more about how you wrestle.”
Lawrence (33-1) built a 10-0 before pinning B-CC freshman Seamus Selmi in 1:40. Selmi had pulled a couple of upsets to reach the final, winning a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over top seeded senior Luis Orellana of Richard Montgomery, a fourth place county finisher last year, and then defeating Whitman’s James Bamberger 6-0 to avenge an earlier loss.
“I knew he was a good leg wrestler, so I didn’t want to go on bottom,” said Lawrence, whose lone defeat was by 7-6 to Class 2A-1A state champion Devin Hamrick of Southern Garrett.
“I wanted to go out there and get it over quickly if I could. Scottie’s a great workout partner, and we’re always going at it in the room. He pushes me to get better, and so far this year, I’m achieving my goals so far.
McLaughlin used a 98-second pin, a technical fall and a 9-0 decision over Clarksburg’s third place finisher Ryan Crosby to reach the finals, where he handled Magruder’s C.J. Cramma 13-3.
“It’s definitely been my goal from the outset to win counties, and then hopefully regions and states,” said McLaughlin. “After the initial takedown, I was looking to score and get bonus points for the team. I was going for the technical fall but didn’t get there.”
Lokos decked all four opponents, including three in the first period, with an 88-second fall against Whitman’s Marcos Solloso in the title bout.
“I knew what he was going to do and that I could hit the cement mixer,” said Lokos. “I came out and bided my time, waited for the moment until he opened up and stuck him.”
During an earlier meeting with Solloso, Lokos had to overcome a 5-4 deficit to secure a 7-5 decision, this on the same night when B-CC senior Marcelo McAndrew – Saturday’s county champion at 182 pounds – nearly pinned him before being decked himself in 2:49.
Meanwhile, McAndrew joined two other title-winning Battlin’ Barons in freshman Eli Guttentag (106, a 37-0 record) and senior Alec Cohen (160), with Sufyan Madyun (145) and Sam Loebig (285) finishing third.
McAndrew endured a spirited battle with Walter Johnson’s Patrick Okocha, winning 11-8 against a 14-2 winner of their earlier meeting. McAndrew trailed 7-6 before countering a takedown attempt for a five-point move against Okocha, a county and regional runner-up last year.
“I got his chin and an underhook. He had his hips low and I capitalized with a hip toss to his back,” said McAndrew, a third place finisher at last year’s county tournament. “He complained after landing on his shoulder and the referee stopped the move. I feel like if I had more time I would have pinned him.”
Guttentag registered a 64-second pin before outscoring his next three opponents by a combined 17-2, including a 4-0 decision over Walter Johnson’s Kemper Stearns in the title match.
“Going undefeated wasn’t necessarily a goal as much as being county champion was,” said Guttentag. “Every win was a step closer to having an undefeated season, but you have to remain focused, undistracted and just take one match at a time.”
Cohen (35-2) used two pins and a forfeit to reach the finals, where he earned his second victory of the year against Colin McLaughlin, adding Saturday’s 13-7 triumph to one by the score of 12-7 a couple of weeks ago.
“The score doesn’t indicate the effort that went into winning that match,” said Cohen, a county runner-up last year who was third at regions. “Coach and I went over a game plan off the first match, and we decided to let fly and wrestle hard, and that paid off.”
Walter Johnson senior Logan Wilson (145) won his second straight county title, 5-3, over J.J. Bravo of Churchill, rising to 39-0 as he looks to repeat as regional champion and improve on last year’s fifth place finish at states.
“I had never wrestled him before because I had to beat their 152-pounder in our dual meet,” said Wilson. “I did what I needed to do to win, but I may have to see him again next week at regions.”
Wilson’s teammates, J.D. Fitzpatrick (138) and Jakub Kielb (160) finished third, with Fitzpatrick having also placed third at regions and sixth at states.
Another repeat county champion was Whitman senior Mitch Fenton (152), who scored five near fall points in the third period of an 8-1 victory over Parent.
“I wasn’t offensive enough in the first part of the match,” said Fenton, a three-time regional champion who has placed third and fourth at the past two state tournaments. “Third period I went for the big moves. I’ve got to do more of that when it comes time for states.”
Paint Branch crowned seniors Gibbs Tinne (195) and Cornell Wilson (220), who improved to 35-0 and 34-2, respectively.
Tinne used two pins and a decision to reach the championship bout, where he flattened Miguel Correno of Watkins Mill in 87 seconds.
“I got the takedown, broke him down and took it from there,” said Tinne, who missed much of last season with a broken hand. “My goal this year is to be a state champion.”
Wilson pinned twice before overcoming rival Pat Bernardo (35-2) for the second time this year, this time winning 3-1.
Bernardo was a county and region runner-up last year, defeating Wilson 6-3 and 3-2 in the semifinals of each, as Wilson placed third both times. But Wilson won 5-2 in the consolation rounds of the state tournament, where he finished fourth and Bernardo did not place.
Earlier this year, however, Wilson pinned Bernardo toward earning Outstanding Wrestler in Walter Johnson’s Big Train Duals in January.
“I tried to push the pace and be more offensive, but if I had taken a shot, he would try to counter and go behind,” said Wilson. “I know his game, so I had to be smart rather than to just push the pace to entertain people.”
Repeating as county champion was Poolesville senior Kyle Wilkins (285), who improved to 37-0 with his 32nd, 33rd and 34th pins, the latter coming in a minute into his title bout against Rockville’s Andy Babay.
A regional champion who placed third at last year’s Class 2A-1A states, Wilkins has a 3.6 grade point average.
“I took him down, got my hands on his chest and they called the pin pretty quickly,” said Wilkins, who is headed for West Point. “I have to report on June 27, which is three weeks after graduation. I’m going spend the time after wrestling to get in shape and get ready for it.”
Quince Orchard senior Antonio Lopez (24-3) navigated a difficult path to the finals, pinning his first opponent in 82 seconds and routing his second by 15-0 technical fall before scoring a 5-1 victory over Poolesville’s Brian Truppo, who had placed third at both counties and regions last year.
In the title bout, Lopez escaped with 12 seconds left to secure a 7-6 victory over Springbrook’s Nick Kilby, who had placed fifth and fourth at last year’s counties and regionals.
In addition to winning his semifinal 5-1 over the Swarmin’ Hornets’ county and regional runner-up, Kilby had beaten Lopez 14-3 in last year’s regionals. Truppo edged Macklin 4-2 for third place.
“I didn’t know how much time was left, but I really didn’t have any energy left,” said Lopez, who beat Kilby 8-7 during a regular-season dual meet. “I just thought about my coach, my family and my friends I wasn’t going to stay down.”
Wheaton senior Xavier Howard (138) had finished second in last year’s counties, third at regions and fifth at states, and emerged victorious in a deep weight class.
Howard major decisioned his first two opponents before winning his semifinal 7-3 over Edgar Cruz of Richard Montgomery, a fourth place finisher at last year’s counties and regions.
Howard had expected to face returning county and region runner-up, J.D. Fitzpatrick of Walter Johnson, to whom he had lost two close decisions this season. But Fitzpatrick, a fifth place state finisher, dropped a 7-5 semifinal decision to the Swarmin’ Hornets’ John Allan Furgeson.
Fitzpatrick beat Cruz 12-6 for third place, and Howard edged Furgeson 6-4 for the title.
“I was focused on beating whoever was in front of me, but I lost in the finals to Michael Wilkerson from Damascus last year, so this feels really good,” said Howard, who benefitted from intense workouts with 2005 Wheaton graduate Alejandro Zea, a former county and regional champion who was fourth at states. “Going from second to first place took a lot of hard work. The losses to Fitzpatrick helped to make me the champion I am today.”