Senior Sahid Antar (160) improved on last year’s runner-up finish and was joined on the victory podium by junior Pierre Jean (106) and senior Aimrick Nya (285) among nine Springbrook High School wrestlers who placed fourth or higher at the Feb. 23 Class 4A/3A North Regionals at Paint Branch High School. The effort qualified their contingent for Class 4A/3A state tournament at The Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro.
Springbrook were successful in several weight classes including junior Sayfore Sieh (132) with his second-place finish; third-place results for freshman Grayson Wendel (120), sophomore Matt Kilby (113) and senior Jean Mehul (145); and juniors Edwin Peralta (152) and Matt Bauer (220) ending the day in fourth.
Sherwood seniors Chris Sanchez (145) and Yusuf Higazi (170) earned their second straight regional crowns for a Warriors’ squad that will send eight wrestlers who placed fourth or higher at the regionals to the states for the second consecutive year.
Warriors’ seniors Paul Christenson (132) and Sam Ewing (138) earned their first crowns after finishing second and third a year ago. Junior Adam Pfeiffer (182) was a runner-up after being third last season; junior and senior Armon Nettey (126) and Jacob Grossman (160) were third; and junior Brandon Holda (113), fourth.
Antar (36-2) and Nya (37-3) were victorious, yet again, two weeks removed from leading the Blue Devils (25-1) to the Class 4A state duals crown, and one week from earning individual county titles.
Antar used a pin and consecutive 7-1 decisions to improve on last year’s regional runner-up finish — his title-bout victory being against fourth-place Baltimore County finisher Noah Dow of Dulaney.
“There’s some improve left for states, but I feel like I’m doing the right things to win last week and again, this weekend’s championships,” said Antar, a fourth-year wrestler who placed third at counties last season. “I thank all of my coaches and my teammates, because if not for them, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Nya pinned fourth place Baltimore County finisher Brian Nguyen of Lansdowne in 62 seconds, defeated fourth-place state finisher Davlyon Johnson of Edgewood, 3-1, in their overtime semifinal, and blanked fifth-place state placer, Sawyer Sturla of C. Milton Wright, 5-0, in the finals.
Nya’s performance came a week after defeating Class 4A-3A West Region champion, Austin Smith, of Clarksburg, 8-3, in the county finals and two weeks following his 4-2 loss to defending state champion Karon Lewis of South River.
“Constant movement and my coaches telling me what to do are the key,” said Nya, a third-year wrestler who failed to place in last year’s regionals. “I believe there are some guys at states who are better than me, so I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
After a third-place regional finish last season, Jean dominated with a technical fall, a 10-5 semifinal victory over McCaw, and a 79-second-title bout pin of Baltimore County runner-up Riley Bozeman of Lansdowne.
” I had wrestled [Bozeman] before, and I was able to pin him once again,” said a tearful Jean, a third-year wrestler who was third at counties. “Last year, I came out here and got third at regionals, so winning it [was] so awesome that words can’t describe it. Going back to states, I think I can win it.”
A returning state runner-up who went 24-1 last year, Sanchez (32-0) followed up his second-straight county title-winning effort with an 80-second pin and a semifinal technical fall before Howard High’s Shayan Kassiri elected to forfeit his title match due to injury.
“It is what it is; I’m grateful for this opportunity,” said Sanchez, whose county finals’ opponent also forfeited their match. “No harm, no foul.”
Higazi improved on his third- and second- place finishes at the past two county tournaments, pinning third-place Baltimore County finisher Zavion Woodward at 4:52 of their title match.
“A lot of people thought that there was too much hype around our team,” said Higazi. “We’ve had some tough losses, but we’ve overcome those, and it feels good to prove people wrong.”
A county runner-up last weekend, Christenson won three bouts by a combined 20-2, including an 8-2 semifinal victory over Baltimore County runner-up, Jacob Lipscomb of Lansdowne, and the 1-0 victory over Sieh in their title match.
“This was a goal I set for myself since losing regional finals last year, and it feels surreal,” said Christenson, an earlier, 5-2, winner over Sieh, a third-place regional finisher last season. “Sieh is really [a] good, tough opponent, but I’m definitely confident and in my element in close matches. I’m confident of riding a guy; I’m confident on bottom and I’m confident on my feet.”
Ewing rebounded from a mid-season ankle injury and a fifth-place finish at counties, winning his quarterfinal, 9-4, over fourth-place Baltimore County finisher Peyton Collinsl his semifinal, 7-6, over third-place regional finisher Jake Blanchard of C. Milton Wright; and his title match, 8-2, over Baltimore County runner-up Jabias Barr.
“This is my second time in a tournament final but my first title ever in high school,” said Ewing, a fourth-place finisher at counties last season. “I felt like I was wrestling well until I hurt my ankle, which forced me to take some weeks off. But I dedicated every hour of this week to conditioning, which I credit for my win.”
Paint Branch and Blair each had three wrestlers place within the top four of their divisions, with Panthers’ seniors Austin Smith (195) and Wafeu Fuondjing (220) being second, and senior Kyle Isolato (182), fourth. For the Blazers, junior Mervin Mancia (220) and senior Brandon Ntankeu (182) placed third, with sophomore Brian McCaw (106) being fourth.
In the Class 2A/1A West Regionals at Winters Mill High School of Carroll County, Damascus junior Tim Furgeson (182) and senior Elijah Baisden (220) were each crown regional champions for the second straight year, with junior Aiden Beall (195) winning his first-ever high school title of any kind among the six Swarmin’ Hornets, who placed within the top four of their weight classes.
Damascus sophomore Michael Emerick (126) finished second with junior Andrew Creedon (160) ending up in third while junior Michael Harris (285) ended in fourth.
Also in Class 2A/1A West, Poolesville crowned county champion junior Xavier Kresslein (170) to improve on his third-place finish of a year ago among its six top four Class 2A-1A state qualifiers, with Falcons’ teammate Alex Carbonell (126) being second; senior Sam Hull (145), third; and freshman Kevin Fultz (132), senior Kieran Barney (195) and sophomore Jacob Zeranski (220), all fourth.
Furgeson (41-0), Beall and Baisden (45-1) guided the Swarmin’ Hornets (26-0) to the Class 2A state dual-meet championship two weeks ago, representing their program’s 178th consecutive win and seventh straight state duals crown following a back-to-back 25-0 seasons under coach John Furgeson. Baisden dominated with consecutive pins in 1:54, 3:01 and 2:15, the last over Nick Harden of Mountain Ridge.
“I feel like I’m where I need to be over these last couple of weeks,” said Baisden. “I’m exhibiting crisp technique and not doing anything sloppy.”
Beall used a 31-second pin; an overtime semifinal 5-3 decision over fifth-place state finisher Hunter Park of Southern-Garrett; and a 7-5 title bout win over third-place state finisher Brandon Oyster of Williamsport, who had pinned Beall earlier this month.
It was the first time Beall has won a high school tournament of any kind, having placed third at counties and regions as a sophomore and finished second at counties two weeks ago.
“[Oyster] caught me in a scramble and pinned me the first time,” said Beall. “But pushing him away, and then my re-shot and my general patience in looking for the right opportunities worked for me.”
The son of the coach, Ferguson used a pin, a 16-0 semifinal technical fall and a 7-2 championship win over Mountain Ridge’s Dustin MacDonald.
“They started our finals at 285, so I watched Elijah win and then Aden, and I just kept it going,” said Ferguson, a three-time county champion. “I’m really excited for Aiden to come back and wrestle as well as he did.”
Kresslein (39-2) won his initial bout, 15-2, his semifinal, 6-3, over third-place finisher Jay Miller of Mountain Ridge, and overcame Liberty’s McClain Butler, 6-5, for his crown.
“I didn’t win by a lot, but it was a solid win,” said Kresslein, a county runner-up last season. “I’m feeling pretty confident going into states.”
Carbonell (43-3) lost his title bout, 1-0, to state runner-up Shane Hovermale (33-3) of Smithsburg High, and county champion teammate Colin Savage (152) suffered a season-ending leg injury during his semifinal bout and defaulted consolation semifinal, according to Savage.
Carbonell and Savage were coming off their second- and first-county tournament title-winning efforts, and were each third at states and third and second at regions last season.
A fourth-place county finisher as a sophomore, Savage, as a freshman, was third at counties and a regional champ and placed fifth at states. Carbonell was second at counties as a sophomore, when he was also a regional runner-up and sixth-place finisher at states.
Elsewhere, at the National Preps at Lehigh University in Lehigh, Pennsylvania, sophomore private schools state runner-up Kyonte Hamilton (220) of Georgetown Prep finished in fourth-place. Avery Miller (170) of Good Counsel won seventh and Bullis’ Celeb Tomlin (220) ended in seventh.