Walter Johnson senior J.D. FitzPatrick found the third time to be the charm against senior Scottie Obendorfer of Damascus, whom he dethroned 6-1 in last Saturday’s 132-pound Class 4A-3A West Region title match at Sherwood.
FitzPatrick led 1-0 entering third period after a scoreless first and a second-period escape, broke a 1-1 tie on a final seconds takedown and three nearfall points and gave the Penn State-bound Obendorfer (43-1) his first loss in advance of Friday and Saturday’s Class 4A-3A state tournament at The Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro.
“Obendorfer’s really strong, really good and brings good intensity,” said FitzPatrick, whose father Geary is his coach. “I just had to match it. That was the plan, and I knew I could. I was just focused on scoring, so I just kept on attacking.”
The victory was the first for FitzPatrick (37-3) in three meetings against Obendorfer, coming a week after a 7-5 loss for the County title and following an 8-4 setback in a 138-pound dual-meet match in January.“J.D. had to work for that takedown and finally got it,” said Geary FitzPatrick. “Obviously, they’re two good wrestlers who could seeg each other again, but J.D. was on the right side tonight.”
FitzPatrick is wrestling at 132 pounds for the first time in three years, having dropped from 138 where he placed third at counties after being second as a sophomore, second at regions after being third a year earlier, and third at states after having finished sixth.
“I felt I had the best opportunity to win states at this weight,” said FitzPatrick. “I feel strong, physically, along with a good diet, which has made a big difference.”
A four-time county and two-time regional champion who has placed first and second during each of the past two state tournaments, Obendorfer had built leads of 7-2 during each of the previous bouts only to have FitzPatrick close distance in the third period. “J.D. doesn’t get tired,” said Evan Silver, an assistant coach and former high school and collegiate All-American. “J.D. just goes and goes. We wanted that pace for six minutes this time, and J.D. delivered.”
FitzPatrick had parried several of Obendorfer’s first-period shots, and the duo traded a couple of second-period attempts. But FitzPatrick got in deep on a final attempt within the final 25 seconds, and Obendorfer’s unorthodox counter exposed his back to the mat, where the official awarded a five-point move.
“Scoreless after the first period, I felt pretty good. But then getting the 1-0 lead, that gave me some momentum,” said FitzPatrick. “I was trying to shoot the high-crotch and he was trying to funk. I knew if I just stepped over the leg, I’d be able to catch him on his back. That’s what happened.”
The Swarmin’ Hornets, nevertheless, won the overall title, remaining on track to add their sixth overall state tournament championship to the their 15th county and fifth state duals crowns.
There is also a good chance Obendorfer-FitzPatrick IV could happen at Showplace Arena.
Obendorfer wants to prevent a repeat of last season’s state title match setback, where he lost 6-3 to Westminster’s Ryan Eckenbarger.
It was considered an upset given that Obendorfer had won his semifinal 5-1 over Oakdale’s Cameron DeLuca, owner of a 3-1 decision against Eckenbarger in the previous week’s Class 43A-3A North Region final.
“This was a tough loss for Scottie,” said Damascus coach John Furgeson. “But it’s better this week than next week.”