Senior state champion Tim Furgeson (195) and junior state runner-up Michael Emerick (138) felt incentivized to perform by partisan Damascus High School fans from Dec. 27-28. They responded by improving their records to 21-0 and 19-1 and winning titles at the 29th annual Swarmin’ Hornets’ Holiday Wrestling Tournament.
Furgeson and Emerick each pinned their first two opponents before dominating their championship bouts by decision and major decision, respectively, 8-1 and 12-1.
The duo represented the lone champions for the fifth-place Swarmin’ Hornets (102 points), who received third-place finishes from senior third-place state finisher Aiden Beall (182) and juniors Joe McKneely(132) and Sam O’Brian (220). Damascus also had a fourth-place effort from Shyler Clark (120) in the 15-team event.
“We have a young team, and I feel as though I have to set the example being that other wrestlers are looking up to me, Michael Emerick and Aiden Beall,” said Furgeson, winner of the invitational for the second straight year.
“The guy I beat in the finals (Lexx Carr, Sparrows Point) placed fifth at states last year. He’s ranked No. 1 in the state at Class 2A-1A. We’ve moved up to Class 3A, so I won’t see him at states.”
Georgia power Cambridge High School (134 points) was the overall tournament winner followed by South Carroll (130) of Carroll County, Williamsport (118) of Washington County and Sparrows Point (112) of Baltimore County.
Cambridge’s 182-pounder Gavin Kane was among the Bears two title winners, pinning twice before dominating Glenelg of Howard County’s High School Class 2A-12A state champion Drew Sotka for the crown by 24-9 technical fall. Sophomore state runner-up Ryan Athey (113), Michael Pizzuto (106), Gage Owen (120) and A.J. Rodrigues (126) were South Carroll’s champions.
“The team from Georgia’s 182-pounder (Kane) is ranked fourth in the country. He won Outstanding Wrestler for the upper weights, and AJ Rodrigues won (Outstanding Wrestler) for the lower weights,” said Damascus Head Coach John Furgeson, who is also Tim’s father.
“This is seriously one of the best tournaments around. People stated that it was run very smoothly with some highly-ranked and skilled wrestlers from Virginia, Maryland, Georgia and Texas.”
Tim Furgeson went 45-0 last season after being a state runner-up as a sophomore, earning his third straight county title and improving on his sophomore season’s regional runner-up finish with a crown in that event.
A member of two football state title-winning teams, one wrestling tournament champion and three state dual title squads, Furgeson aims to close out his career with the individual county, region and state crowns and the same for his team in the county tournament and Class 2A state duals.
Furgeson must also lead a defending Class 2A state duals champion squad, which lost twice in one day on Dec. 14 at The Warriors Duals at La Plata High School in Charles County, ending Maryland’s longest-ever winning streak – and the third-longest all-time – at 182.
The 17-time county champion Swarmin’ Hornets went 26-0 last year to win their seventh straight state duals crown following two consecutive 25-0 seasons. They were 4-0 before losing, 40-33, to Virginia power Great Bridge High School and falling 37-30, to South River.
“My goal is to be dominant every time I step on the mat,” said Furgeson, an outside linebacker who is bound for Villanova University to play football. “I believe that our team will step up again and that we’ll be ready for the county competition and the rest of the season.”
Emerick improved on last year’s runner-up finish at the event, along the way earning his 100th career victory for a career mark of 103-13.
Emerick has placed second at each of the past two county and regional meets, and second and third, respectively, at the previous two state tournaments.
“It felt great to win it in front of our home crowd,” said Emerick. “There’s definitely a bigger role to play this year, having to encourage my teammates. I’m just taking this day by day and one event at a time.”
In other tournament results, Good Counsel 285-pounder Brandon Roberts was pinned twice before edging Terrell Jackson of Bullis, 5-3, for his crown, joined by Falcons’ teammate Connor Ott (160), who finished fourth.
Joining Jackson were Bulldogs’ teammates Enzo Bell (106, second), Issac Ruderman (160, third) and Thomas Bentivoglio (132, fourth).