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BURTONSVILLE – Paint Branch senior Austin Smith (195) decked all three opponents in his host school’s gym to win the January 18-19 Panther Invitational Tournament.
In victory, Smith improved his stellar record to 28-0 with 27 pins, pacing the Panthers to a sixth-place finish in the 20-team event. South River won the team title with 230 points followed by its Anne Arundel County neighbor, Old Mill, with 165.
Finishing second for the Panthers were seniors Kyle Isolato (182) and Wafeu Fuondjing (285), with senior Sidiki Keita (120) being third, and Tyler Przygocki (152) ending up in fifth.
“It was a great tournament to wrestle in because it gave us the chance to get some good competition and have some fun in our home gym,” said Smith. “We wrestled tough and were able to use this weekend to fine-tune some things so we can head into the end of the season at our best.”
Smith went 39-5 last year – composed of being third at counties, second at regions and fourth at states, Fuondjing won 36 matches and was fourth at both counties and regions.
“It was a good tournament,” said Panthers’ coach Rick Smith, Austin’s father. “There were some studs, and also, you had some smaller teams perform well.”
For Georgetown Prep (seventh), Grant Maynard (195) and Kyonte Hamilton (220) finished second, Tim Kirlin (170), third, and Carter Tinsley (113) ending in fourth.
Placewinners for Blair (eighth) were Biruk Tona (132) and Brandon Ntankeu (182), both third; Brian McCaw (106) and Mervin Mancia (285), both fourth; and Junior Kim (138), sixth.
Champions for ninth-place Wootton were the sophomore Liau twins, Eric (106) and Jason (113), with junior teammate Henry Woolley (160) finishing third. Jason Liau won 30 matches last season and was a regional runner-up a week after being third at counties.
Einstein’s Allan Vasquez (126) finished fourth, and is coming off last year’s 36-victory season in which he finished third at both counties and regions.
For Wheaton, Toma Kamara (145) was third, and fourth-place county finisher Yoseph Yilma (126) was fifth.