Scottie Obendorfer won his fourth straight Montgomery County tournament crown at Gaithersburg High School on Saturday and improved to 41-0, but the 132-pound senior’s victory in the event was more difficult than ever.
Obendorfer won finals back-to-back over Richard Montgomery’s David Silverberg by technical fall as a freshman, and then by 9-3 decision as a sophomore before routing Churchill’s Jack Connolly 13-4 as a junior.
But not only was that Obendorfer’s second time wrestling Walter Johnson senior J.D. FitzPatrick – having won 8-4 in an earlier dual meet – but he faced a veteran who dropped from 138 pounds, where he’s placed third at counties after being second as a sophomore, second are regions after being third a year earlier, and third at states after having finished sixth.
The Penn State-bound Obendorfer escaped yet again with a 7-5 decision over FitzPatrick, but only after his rival had closed distance on a 7-2 deficit.
“Both times, I was up by enough so I didn’t have to worry,” said Obendorfer, who has placed first and second in the past two state tournaments, and pursues his fourth consecutive regional crown next week.
“As long as I didn’t give up a big move, I knew I’d be fine. He’s definitely a good wrestler, and it’s going to help in the long run. It’s good to have tough competition in the finals to prepare you for what really counts, which is states.”
Obendorfer was among five individual champions along with juniors Ryan Lawrence (145), John Allan Furgeson (152) and Paul Purkey (182) and freshman Tim Furgeson (160) as the for the Swarmin’ Hornets (232 points) captured their 15th tournament title. Sophomore Johnny McLaughlin (120) was second, with freshman Silas Patton (106), senior Mikey Bradshaw (220) and juniors Josh Creegan (138) and Elijah Baisden (195) finishing third.
The event happened a week after the Swarmin’ Hornets ran their consecutive dual meet wins streak to 127 for their program’s unprecedented fifth Class 4A-3A state duals crown, keeping them on pace to earn their third straight and sixth overall Class 4A-3A state tournament championship on March 3-4.
Obendorfer wants to prevent what happened a year ago, when he entered the 126-pound state final with only Westminster senior Ryan Eckenbarger between him and a second crown.
Having won his semifinal 5-1 against Oakdale’s Cameron DeLuca, Obendorfer vanquished a wrestler who owned a 3-1 triumph over Eckenbarger from a week earlier. But Obendorfer lost 6-3 to Eckenbarger, a returning fifth-place finisher.
FitzPatrick wants to do what Eckenbarger did, and has two more weeks to come up with a winning strategy.
“I feel like I just need to wrestle a little bit better,” said FitzPatrick, who is 34-3. “This was a good experience. I’m just glad it’s not the end of the season because I still have two more opportunities.”