By Lem Satterfield @satterfield_lem
Sherwood junior Adam Pfeifer (195) and seniors Paul Christenson (132) and went Chris Sanchez (145-152) 9-0, senior Sam Ewing (138) won eight of nine bouts along with a 10-7 upset of Quince Orchard’s Jose Echeona, and the junior Holda twins, Brandon (113) and Brady (120), also went 8-1 during Sherwood’s runner-up finish at the Dec. 7 and 8 Armed Forces Duals at North Hagerstown High in Washington County.
Finishing at 7-1 was junior Yusuf Higazi (182), and at 7-2 were sophomore Ethan Onslow (106) and juniors Jacob Grossman (170) and Buck Rogers (220). Antonio Hicks (145) won three of four bouts for the Warriors, who only had one wrestler finish below .500.
“I’m very happy with the whole team performance this weekend. Everyone wrestled hard and no one quit on the mat,” said Warriors wrestling coach Pete Siarkis, who returned nine starters from a team that went 9-5 overall and 5-3 in the conference, and 10 JV tournament place-winners, including two champs and three runners-up.
“Paul Christenson, Chris Sanchez and Adam looked they went undefeated and really dominated at times. I felt like we were in good shape and I’m proud of our coaching staff for making sure we did not lose any matches because our guys ran out of steam. We made a few mistakes, but we come to dual meet tournaments to get mat time and to learn from those mistakes.”
Pfeifer appears primed to improve on his resume of the past two seasons, having placed fourth and fourth at counties and regions as a freshman, and fourth and third last year.
“I think going undefeated is a testament to the work that I put in during the offseason, practicing and competing from March until July. I really committed myself to taking the next step as a wrestler and it’s starting to pay off,” said Pfeifer, who pinned five opponents during the tournament.
“As a team, we went into the tournament expecting to do well, returning guys like Sam Ewing, Paul Christenson and Yusuf Higazi, who have all worked extremely hard throughout high school and they’re being rewarded for it.”
Among the Warriors’ victories were those over Quince Orchard (60-12), Northwood (78-6), Georgetown Prep (68-12) and DeMatha (66-12). The Warriors also vanquished Anne Arundel County powers Arundel (54-17) and Old Mill (45-28), Carroll County’s Century (72-10) and host North Hagerstown (42-32).
Sanchez was a county and regional champion and Class 4A state runner-up with a 24-1 mark at 138. Higazi was a regional champion after finishing third at counties at 170, and Ewing was fourth at counties and third at regions.
Ewing was an upset winner against Echeona, a county runner-up who was third at regions and fourth at states. Echeonoa went 7-2 with five pins on the weekend, with three of his falls taking only seven, 15 and 21 seconds.
“The start of the tournament was great with Paul and Sam getting off to great wins,” said Siarkis. “It shows how hard Sam has worked in the offseason to come up with that big win, first match of the year.”
Christianson was fifth at counties and third at regions at 126, Brandon Holda, fifth and fourth at 113, and Onslow won 16 matches at 106.
Brandon’s twin, Brady, is up from the junior varsity, where he was a 120-pound runner-up to junior teammate Armon Nettey (126), who went 5-4 on the weekend. Other junior varsity runners-up were Grossman and senior Marc Kemgang (152), who went 4-3. Senior Jake Stern (160) went 2-2.
The Warriors lost one match in North Hagerstown, 39-36, to St. John’s, whose coach is 2005 Magruder graduate Cam Watkins, who earned a Class 4A-3A state title as a senior.
Watkins captured Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles as a freshman and sophomore at DeMatha, also being first and second at the private schools state tournament as well as third and second at National Preps.
As a junior at McDonogh of Owings Mills, Watkins won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament, finished second at private school states and third at National Preps.
The Warriors play host on Wednesday to Class 4A East conference rival Whitman (1-0), which is coming off Monday’s 53-21 non-divisional victory over Quince Orchard.
“I’m very excited for this team,” said Siarkis. “But we’ve got some big matches coming, and that’s starting with Whitman on Wednesday.”