Damascus crowned three champions and qualified 11 wrestlers for Friday and Saturday’s Class 4A-3A state tournament, winning last Saturday’s Class 4A-3A West Regional Tournament at Sherwood during an event that featured several upsets for and against the Swarmin’ Hornets among other surprises.
The Swarmin’ Hornets received titles from sophomore Johnny McLaughlin (120) and county champion juniors Ryan Lawrence (145) and Paul Purkey (182), with runners-up in the county champion Furgeson siblings, junior John Allan (152) and freshman Tim (160), as well as Penn State-bound senior four-time county titlist Scottie Obendorfer (132) and county runners-up Elijah Baisden (195) and Mike Bradshaw (220), a sophomore and senior.
Freshman Silas Patton (106) and juniors Dylan Ramirez (126) and Josh Creegan (138) finished fourth for the Swarmin’ Hornets (25-0), doing so a week after winning their 15th County tournament.
The effort comes two weeks after running their win streak to 127 consecutive matches and earning an unprecedented fifth straight Class 4A-3A state dual-meet championship with wins over North Hagerstown of Washington County and Glenelg of Howard County in the semifinal and title matches.
Lawrence’s 10-3 victory against Nolan Smith represented his third over the Paint Branch wrestler following an 8-0 shutout for his second straight county title, and Purkey’s 91-second pin of Smith’s teammate, Abu Abdillah, was his second in a row following their county championship match.
While McLaughlin avenged his county title loss 8-2 over Churchill’s Lucas Young, the Swarmin’ Hornets’ remaining finalists did not fare as well.
“I thought we showed up ready to battle, which showed by our having eight guys in the finals,” said Swarmin’ Hornets’ coach John Furgeson. “We got three champs, and we’re happy for those guys, but we did expect to have a few more.”
A state champion as a sophomore who was runner-up last year, Obendorfer lost 6-1 to Walter Johnson’s J.D. FitzPatrick after having beaten him in both the county finals and an earlier dual meet.
John Allan Furgeson lost 4-2 to Seamus Selmi, a week after his 10-3 county championship win represented his third over the Bethesda-Chevy Chase wrestler.
“Furgeson’s a very good scrambler, but I knew if I got on top I could ride him,” said Selmi, a fourth-place county and regional finisher last year at 132 pounds who is known for his leg-riding skills.
“I lost to Furgeson in the dual meets, regional duals and then at counties last year, but I give all credit to coach (Sam) Arnone. I couldn’t have done this without him, and this feels good going into states.”
Tim Furgeson suffered a knee injury 82 seconds into his match with Quince Orchard senior Brett Williams, whose 7-3 semifinal victory reversed last weekend’s 7-2 county semifinal loss to Northwest’s Luke Patterson – the man Furgeson beat 7-1 in the county finals.
Watching from the stands was Williams’ brother Dake, a state champion at 285 pounds in 2009.
“It’s definitely awesome because both of us came back from injuries,” said Dake Williams. “Brett had shoulder surgery a month ago and came back from it, and I was injured in October in football and had to come back after four months on crutches and with no work.”
Although Baisden and Bradshaw improved on their third-place county finishes, they lost 4-2 and,6-5 to B-CC’s Gabe McAndrew (195) and Whitman’s John Luke Iglesias (220), who followed up their county championship efforts.
Baisden beat last week’s runner-up, Rockville’s Cameron Hoppman, in the semifinals. An 11-6 loser to McAndrew last week, Hoppman finished third at regions.
“This win feels great. I wanted to prove that I could be a dominant wrestler and show that last weekend wasn’t a fluke,” said McAndrew, who defeated Baisden 7-3 in the county semifinals.
“The finals match wasn’t my best wrestling, and I still have a lot of work to do, but at the end of the day, a win is a win, and I’m excited to be regional champ and to represent my school at the state tournament.”
Bradshaw also won his semifinal over a County runner-up from Rockville, his fall in 3:03 coming against Junior Pimentel, whom Iglesias decked in overtime of the county finals. Iglesias had an equally difficult time with Bradshaw, who led 2-0 before succumbing 6-5.
“I was surprised to get taken down. That’s pretty much the first time I’ve been taken down all season,” said Iglesias, a junior. “But I kept wrestling and looking for a reversal. Once I got a reversal, I went back to work and stayed with my game plan up on my feet.”
A county champion as a freshman, McLaughlin, like Lawrence, placed third at last year’s states, while Purkey is making his first appearance after having won a private schools state title last year at Good Counsel.
“We had a lot of kids make it to the finals, so we had a good tournament,” said Purkey. “We’ll go back and work hard to prepare for states.”
The same can’t be said for B-CC’s Eli Guttentag (120) or Daniel Oh (285) of Clarksburg, past county champions whose weight classes were so difficult that they failed to qualify for the state tournament.
Guttentag placed first at counties and regions and finished third at states last year at 106 pounds, his 44-1 record including a state semifinal loss to eventual champion Brent Lorin of Bel Air.
But after losing his county semifinal 4-2 to Young and finishing third in that tournament, Guttentag lost his regional semifinal to Young 5-0 and then, his consolation semifinal 6-4 in overtime to Poolesville’s Brian Truppo, whom he had beaten earlier this year.
Truppo was fifth at counties but fourth at regions following a 4-3 loss to Clarksburg’s Ryan Crosby, whose 2-1 loss to Guttentag relegated him to fourth at counties a week earlier.
“There are a lot of good guys in this weight class,” said McLaughlin. “That’s why I worked hard to come back and take this win. I’m pretty happy right now after losing last week.”
The 285-pound County tournament results were turned upside down at regions, where champion Delante Henderson-Feist of Wheaton pinned Churchill’s Alex Velikanov, who pinned Henderson-Feist a week earlier to earn fifth to his sixth at counties.
County champion Daniel Oh of Clarksburg went 0-2, being pinned by Henderson-Feist and then eliminated following a 6-3 loss to Springbrook’s Jesse Turcios.
In addition, county runner-up Leo Saucedo of Walter Johnson finished third at regions, Sherwood’s Greg Claver was fourth after going 1-2 at counties, Oluwatosin Aroyewun of Bethesda-Chevy Chase went from third at counties to fifth at regions, and Turcios from fourth at counties to sixth at regions.
There was another surprise at 126 pounds, where Churchill’s County champion Jack Connolly was a heavy favorite. A junior who was County and regional runner-up and fourth at states last year, Connolly was called for an illegal slam in his quarterfinal against Wootton’s Jacob Luterman, who did not return to the tournament for medical reasons.
While Connolly (41-2) finished third, his previous lone being against FitzPatrick, 12-10, at 132 pounds, Poolesville freshman Colin Savage blanked Wheaton’s Clark Glory 7-0 for the title.
Also winning crowns were Northwest’s Yonas Harris (106), Magruder’s C.J. Cramma (113), Clarksburg’s Nick Gonzalez (138) and Churchill’s Andrew Welch (170), each of them following up their county championships.
Harris required overtime to defeat Alex Carbonell for the second straight week, evening his series record to 2-2 against the Poolesville wrestler. Harris tied the match at 3-3 with a late takedown to send the regional bout into overtime, where he bear-hugged Carbonell to his back for an 8-5 decision.
“The bear hug is something we work on every day,” said Cramma. “It’s pummeling in, and then, as soon as I saw the opportunity, I took advantage of it.”
At counties, Harris (39-4) trailed by as much as 6-3 in the second period of an eventual 9-7 overtime victory over Carbonell.
Cramma used a pin, a technical fall and an 18-6 major decision over Northwest’s Siavash Sarvestani, and Gonzalez, a 42-second pin and a pair of major decisions, the latter by 11-2 over Quince Orchard’s Alec Falconer in the title bout.
The 6-foot, 3-inch tall Welch improved his series record to 2-1 against Khalil Owens of Northwest, winning 3-2 after having beaten him 3-1 in overtime of their county title bout.
“It felt good to turn the tide for Churchill when (Connolly) didn’t make the finals,” said Welch, who lost 5-4,to Owens during the regular season. “I’m glad I could come back to beat him twice after losing to him earlier in the season.”