Clarksburg’s Nick Gonzalez (138) pinned eight of nine opponents at last week’s South River Duals. The Coyote senior’s lone defeat came by 9-5 decision to McDonogh of Baltimore’s Caden Mareno, a runner-up in last year’s Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools state tournaments.
That’s an impressive effort for Gonzalez, a returning county and regional champion who was third at states. But when your freshman brother, Alex (106), goes 9-0 and wins Outstanding Wrestler honors in the same tournament to equal your overall record of 16-1, the experience can be humbling.
“Alex pinned four guys and beat a South Carroll wrestler at 113,” said Nick Gonzalez, who pinned all three opponents at last month’s Boonsboro Tournament, earning Outstanding Lower Weight Wrestler honors where Alex finished second.
“Every year in the past I’ve gone 8-1 in South River’s tournament, and in his first year, he wins it. Having the same record as my younger brother is a little funny. But in the end, he’s probably going to wind up being better than me.”
Nick dominated last year’s county tournament, with two each in pins and major decisions (the latter by 10-2 over Quince Orchard’s Alec Falconer in the title bout) after two consecutive years placing fifth.
“I was at 113 and 120 the previous two years,” said Nick Gonzalez. “Maybe he’s learning from all of the mistakes I made, and he’s gotten better for it.”
Blair seniors Rudy Ngougni (220) and Pelumi Akinpelu (170) each went 8-1 at South River’s Duals to improve to 16-1 and 15-2 entering 2018. Ngougni has pinned 15 of his opponents.
A fourth-place finisher at counties who was third at regions, Ngougni pinned eight opponents before rising to 285 pounds, where he lost an overtime bout to South River’s Kiron Lewis. Lewis has lost 2-1 in overtime to Damascus’ unbeaten county and regional runner-up Elijah Baisden (285).
“Kiron weighed in at 288, and I weighed 221. We were about the same height. Coach wanted me to get more competition,” said Ngougni, a 6-3 loser to Lewis.
“Right at the end, he got a single-leg takedown and got me on my back. Since I’m predominantly a 220, this will help me against the guys in my own weight class.”
Blazers’ senior Ryan Holland (145-152), who was fourth at counties and states and third at regions, is 14-3 on the year as are freshman Brian McCaw (106) and sophomore Mervin Mancia (285).
Blair senior Bryan Huynh (132), who is 13-4, scored an upset victory over Sparrow’s Point’s fifth-place state finisher Mike Fouts. Also at 13-4 is senior Leo West (182), with senior Ryan Handel (113-120) being at 12-5.
Senior Gabe McAndrew (195) and junior Eli Guttentag (126) lead the Bethesda-Chevy Chase wrestling team with identical records of 14-1, and senior Rhys Cohen (182) is 13-2 entering 2018 under coach Nick Arnone.
A county and regional champion who was fifth at states, McAndrew has pinned eight of his opponents and won 6-4 in overtime against Churchill’s Andrew Welch, also a county and regional champion who was fifth at states.
McAndrew’s lone loss was by fall against a third-place state finisher from West Virginia, and Guttentag’s, to 14th-ranked Bryce Palamar of Williamsport.
“Considering the quality of our schedule and the number of underclassmen in our lineup, I’m content with where we’re at,” said Arnone. “Right now we’re just focusing on improving each and every practice. If we can accomplish that, then good things will occur.”
Northwest’s state qualifiers senior Yonas Harris (106) and sophomore Siavash Sarvestani (113) went 10-0 and 9-1 respectively at the Dec. 27 and 28 Westminster Duals.
Harris (13-0) earned county and regional titles with consecutive overtime victories against Alex Carbonell of Poolesville to avenge an earlier 6-4 loss. Harris went 41-6 on the year, ending with losses to the first- and third-place finishers at Class 4A-3A states.
Sarvestani (12-1) was sixth at counties and second at regions, and Yoann Olympio (182) went 8-2 at Westminster for the Jaguars.
Landon junior Axel Giron (120) finished seventh in last week’s ultra-tough Mount Mat Madness Tournament. A transfer from Parkdale High of Prince George’s County, Giron was a Class 4A-3A state runner-up at 113 pounds a sophomore, losing his title bout 3-2 to repeat champion Brent Lorin of Harford County’s Bel Air High.
Landon senior Brendon Gallagher (152), an Interstate Athletic Conference champion, private schools state runner-up and eighth-place finisher at National Preps, and sophomore IAC champ Lorenzo Lopez (126) did not participate due to illnesses.