By Lem Satterfield @satterfield_lem
Damascus’ 132-pound sophomore Michael Emerick was told by wrestling coach John Furgeson “in Friday’s practice that I would have a tough match” on Saturday against visiting Bethesda-Chevy Chase as part of a tri-meet with Churchill.
Emerick was unaware Furgeson referred to Barons senior Eli Guttentag, whose resume includes having earned county and regional titles as a freshman and placed third at states as a freshman and junior. During each occasion at states, Guttentag’s semifinal loss was by decision to the eventual champion – Bel Air’s Brent Lorin in the first instance, and Linganore’s Earl Blake last March.
“All I knew was that it was gonna be a hard match. Other than that, I had never heard of him before,” said Emerick, a regional champion and Class 2A-1A state runner-up last year at 106 pounds. “It wasn’t until after the match when our coaches were congratulating me that they told me about all of that.”
Emerick used a third-period escape for a 1-0 victory over Guttentag and pinned his Churchill opponent as the host Swarmin’ Hornets (2-0) swept their season-opening tri-meet and their program’s 153rd and 154th consecutive wins.
“First period we stayed neutral to end, and in the second period, I rode him out. Third period, I was able to get the escape,” said Emerick, whose Swarmin’ Hornets won, 56-15, over the Bulldogs (0-2), and, 48-19, over the Barons (1-1), who overcame Churchill, 39-30.
“With about a minute and 30 seconds left, I was just attacking, staying aggressive, looking for shots, pushing him out of bounds. I felt pretty confident in my neutral position, so this is a great way to start the season and it feels really good.”
Furgeson’s squad won the Class 2A dual meet championship in February 2018, completing their second consecutive 25-0 dual meet season for their program’s unprecedented sixth straight state duals crown, and is after its eighth consecutive and 17th overall county tournament championship.
Emerick has risen to 132 pounds from 106 last year, yet appears to have handled the increased weight with relative ease.
“Thanksgiving at my house is a big deal because my grandparents come over, so my grandma really likes it when I eat all of her food,” said Emerick, who will compete in the Swarmin’ Hornets’ Dec. 27 and 28 Holiday Invitational.
“After Thanksgiving I was probably around 136, but on Christmas, I’ll eat right – maybe having a couple of pieces of fudge and some cookies. But I weighed in for [Saturday’s] match at around 128 pounds because I’ve been eating right, so I feel pretty good.”
Emerick was among nine Swarmin’ Hornets wrestlers to win both matches on Saturday, including senior Elijah Baisden (285) and juniors Silas Patton (113), Timothy Furgeson (182) and Aidan Beall (220). Also winning twice for the Swarmin’ Hornets were Colton DeValle (120), Sam O’Brian (160), Andrew Creedon (170) and Jack Hembrough (195).
Patton received a forfeit from Churchill but registered a mild upset victory with a pin against Barons’ junior Christian Simpson, who was a county runner-up and fourth-place regional finisher at 106 pounds last season.
O’Brian, Hembrough, Furgeson, Beall and Baisden all pinned twice, DeValle had a pin and a major decision, and Creedon, a pair of decisions, including one in overtime.
A two-time county champion, Furgeson improved on his freshman season’s regional runner-up finish with a crown in last year’s event as did Baisden, a 195-pounder as a sophomore and winner of his first county title as a junior.
Furgeson and Baisden were both runners-up at 2A-1A states last year, Beall placed third at counties and regions, and Creedon was a junior varsity tournament county champion.
Coached by Tim Lowe and Tony Howard, who are former two- and three-time state champions at Einstein and Magruder, the Bulldogs went 16-2 overall and 8-0 in their division last season, winning the 4A West Regional Duals and being runners-up in the Class 4A state dual meet. B-CC coach Nick Arnone’s Barons were 4A West region runners-up to the Bulldogs, going 24-8 overall and 10-4 in the county.
Eli’s younger siblings, freshman Isaac (106) and sophomore Drew (145), were among the Barons’ double-winners. Isaac won by technical fall and forfeit, and Drew, by a pair of decisions, including an 8-2 victory over the Bulldogs’ fourth-place regional finishing senior Carlos Villamar.
Also winning twice for the Barons were Fabian Martinez (138) with a pin and a decision, Aidan Moffit (126) with a major decision and a decision, and Jeovannie Martinez (152) with a major decision and a decision.