By Lem Satterfield
Junior Adam Pfeiffer pinned all four opponents in the first period of his 182-pound debut, and senior teammate Chris Sanchez (145) had a major decision and three falls – including one in 39-seconds for the crown – as each won his individual weight class to lead the Sherwood Warriors to a runner-up finish at last weekend’s 21-team Patriot Classic at Northern High in Calvert County.
Finishing second were juniors Armon Nettey (126) and Brandon (113) and Brady (120) Holda; the latter two are identical twins.
There were also third-place finishes from junior Yusuf Higazi (170) and seniors Paul Christenson (132) and Sam Ewing (138), as the Warriors placed 11 wrestlers within the top six of their weight classes.
Pfeffer decked regional runner-up Jesse Ubah of Flowers in Prince George’s County in 1:55 of their championship bout.
“I’m excited. This is some of the best wrestling I’ve done in quite a while, just going out there and not really giving my opponents a chance. This was my first time at 182, and when I was cutting, it wasn’t that bad,” said Pfeiffer, who placed fourth and fourth at counties and regions as a freshman, and fourth and third last year.
“I felt really comfortable. I was taking what my opponents were giving me, whether that was a high crotch or snapping them down,” Pfeffer said. “I was just able to apply what was working. Putting five guys in the finals is pretty good. There are probably a couple of guys who would have done a couple of things a little better, but, overall, I think we wrestled pretty well.”
Sanchez is coming off a year that ended with a 24-1 record, including county and regional championships and a runner-up finish at states.
Sanchez had falls in 27 seconds and in 2:57 to go, with a 17-7 semifinal major decision over Earl Shepherd of Frederick Douglass in Prince George’s County. In his title bout, Sanchez decked regional runner-up Kaleb Dolina of the host Patriots.
“I was able to be dominant for pretty much every match,” said Sanchez. “I hurt my foot in the semifinals, but unless my arm is dangling off, I’m going to wrestle through adversity and I’m gonna do it with pride.”
Although Nettey was pinned in his title bout by returning state champion Blake Jury of St. Mary’s Ryken, he reached the finals in impressive fashion, registering a quarterfinal first-period pin over Bowie’s third-place regional finisher Brian Commock and a 10-2 major decision in his semifinal over regional runner-up Fynn Yankanich of the host Patriots.
“Armon stepped up, getting to the finals and wrestling that tough state champ,” said Warriors’ coach Pete Siarkas of Nettey, who had two pins. “Armon scrambled with Blake, and that guy came out on top, but Armon didn’t back down at all. He was all upset, but I’m like, ‘Dude, you lost to the state champ, relax.'”
A year ago, Brandon placed fifth at counties and fourth at regions and finished with a 30-15 varsity record. Nettey met Brady in the 120-pound junior varsity county finals, where they finished first and second, respectively.
Ewing was fourth at counties and third at regions, Higazi was a regional champion who finished third at counties, and Christenson, was fifth at counties and third at regions last year.
“We placed 11 kids and only lost to St. Mary’s Ryken by six or eight points, so I feel pretty good about that,” said Siarkas. “Adam and Yusuf dropped in weight, and I think they looked better. We wrestled well through some tough sees, and we caught some tough guys in the semifinals, but, overall, I’m happy with the direction we’re headed.”
For fifth-place Walt Whitman, Tom Wilmarth (285) was third, and Peyton Casamento (120) and Thomas Santora (182) finished in fourth.