By Lem Satterfield @satterfield_lem
Whitman’s wrestling team had waited a year for vengeance against Quince Orchard, and the Vikings got it with Monday night’s 53-21 non-divisional dual meet victory over the visiting Cougars.
Pins by Perter Li (106), Caleb Brenner (126), Charlie Imperial (152), Issac Besrot (113), Max Gersch (160), Yussef Zaki (195) and Tom Willmarth (285) paced the Vikings, who also received a technical fall from Joseph Aron (120) and decisions from Colby Fong (145) and John Mackall (170).
It’s a good start for Vikings (1-0) with coach Derek Manon, who returned 12 starters from a 10-4 season during which they barely missed the regional duals competition.
“Knowing that they beat us up pretty good last year, that provided a little bit of incentive for us,” said Manon. “They’ve got some tough kids in their lineup, so it’s obviously great to start off with a good ‘in’ like this.”
Zaki, a senior, was a regional runner-up who won 28 matches and placed fourth at counties, junior Mackall was fifth at counties and sixth at regions, senior Gersch, fifth at counties.
“We had a couple of freshman pull of some good wins tonight,” said Zaki. “And with a few of our guys missing due to being sick, it was great to see our team pull together and power through the way we did.”
Coming off last weekend’s eight-team dual meet tournament at North Hagerstown High, coach Rob Wolf’s Cougars (5-5) were led by senior Jose Echeonoa (132), a county runner-up who was third at regions and fourth at states.
Echeona’s major decision represented his 107th career victory, improving his record on the year to 8-2 with five pins.
Cougars’ junior Marquez Cooper (182) won by technical fall to improve to 10-0 with six pins and a technical fall, and junior teammate Rico Cornejo (132), by pin to rise to 8-2.
The Vikings forfeited to junior Ryan Jones (220), who won 28 matches last year and was fifth at counties before finishing fourth at both regions and states. Jones is 9-1 with four pins on the year.
A potential match between Zaki and Jones never materialized, but Zaki’s up for the challenge should the opportunity arise.
“I wrestled at 195 where I feel most comfortable, but I know there will be random moments where I may have the opportunity to test myself against one of their better guys,” said Zaki, who pinned Cougars’ senior Jay Bollinger, who entered their bout at 7-1.
“But if it ever comes down to facing a challenge against one of their guys in a tournament or sometime in the future, then I’m happy to wrestle them. In the end, it’s great competition, and you both learn something about yourselves and each other.”