Damascus High School’s Tim Furgeson was in the midst of an undefeated junior season at 182 pounds last February when an injury forced him to miss the War On The Shore Tournament at Stephen Decatur High in Berlin, Maryland.
Despite missing the notable tournament on the wrestling calendar, Furgeson managed to win the Class 2A-1A state title a month later, earning his third straight county title and improving on his 10th-grade season’s regional runner-up finish.
Now, as a senior, Furgeson made up for the lost time in dominating fashion on Jan. 17-18 at the 24-team War On The Shore event. His first couple of falls finished in 15- and 57-seconds, decking his semifinal opponent in 2:47, and handling previously undefeated Joe Murray (19-1 record) of Virginia’s Lake Braddock High School, 8-2, in their championship bout.
“I had a hip problem that kept me out last year, which was disappointing. So it was really cool to come back and win it this year,” Furgeson said. “War On The Shore has a lot of good wrestlers in it, not just from Maryland, but from different states, so I think in a lot of ways it’s harder to win than it is to win our state tournament.”
Furgeson improved his record to 29-0, is among five top eight place-winners for the “Swarmin’ Hornets,” who finished in ninth place in an affair won for the fourth straight time by Baltimore County’s Mount St. Joseph (215 points).
Senior third-place state finisher Aiden Beall (182) was third, junior Sam O’Brian (220) finished fourth, junior state runner-up Michael Emerick (138) ended in seventh, and junior Joe McKneeley (132) captured eighth for the Hornets.
For Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (17th place), sophomore Ike Guttentag (113) finished second, junior Drew Guttentag (152), fifth, senior fourth-place state finisher Jeo Martinez (145), sixth, and senior county runner-up Christian Simpson (106), eighth. Our Lady of Good Counsel also participated in the tournament, ending the event in 22nd place as a team with senior Jakob Redman (145) becoming the highest finisher in seventh place.
For Furgeson, the tournament success improved his winning streak to 74 straight bouts after going 45-0 last season. The senior acknowledged his inability to participate in last year’s tournament and was “hungry” to win it this year. In his bout against Murray, Furgeson said the key was to keep scoring points opposed to earning an early advantage and holding on, a mistake he committed in a previous match during his junior year.
A member of two football state title-winning teams, one wrestling tournament champion and three state dual title squads, Furgeson has signed to play linebacker at Villanova after graduating. Even as he aims to close out his career with individual county, region and state crowns while leading his team look to win the county tournament and Class 3A state duals.
“Being that this is probably going to be my last year of wrestling ever, I’m just trying to have fun,” said Furgeson. “It’s going to be hard giving up the sport after all of these years, but it’s gonna be over after this year, and I’ve gotta move on.”
Villanova Defensive Coordinator Ola Adams expressed confidence that Furgeson’s wrestling abilities will easily translate into the college game.
“The beauty about Tim Furgeson and the thing that struck me is that he was actually a state champion in wrestling, and we had just brought in a state champion last year, so that struck a chord with us,” Adams said. “We know what wrestling brings. It brings an element of toughness that you really can’t teach.
“As you watch some of the plays he makes on his highlight tapes, some of the tackles kind of look like wrestling moves. The way the game is going and how it’s spreading out, you need guys who can play in space. I think Furgeson can play inside of the box if you need him to, he can play out in space, but what sets him apart is his pass-rush ability…We think he can make an instant impact for us.”
Damascus Head Coach John Furgeson, who happens to be Tim’s father, recalls the last time, as a 10-year-old, his son tried to give up wrestling only to return and achieve success. He said that he went to bed and slept “like a baby” until learning that his wife signed him back to wrestle again. Tim went on to win a junior league state title in his return, John Furgeson said.
“With a full scholarship in football, obviously, he’s gotta focus on other things,” John Furgeson said. “But there’s always going to be that love for the sport of wrestling that he’s going to have inside of him.”
Tim Furgeson’s focus, for now, is as the leader on a defending Class 2A state duals champion squad since being reclassified into the Class 3A division. The Hornets went 26-0 last year to win their seventh straight state duals crown following two consecutive 25-0 seasons.
However, this season, they 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.
While leading his teammates, by season’s end, Tim Furgeson will begin beefing up to become a bonafide college football player, having received his marching orders from the Villanova coaching staff. The goal is to have him build to 220 pounds before reaching the 230-240 range. However, before getting into football shape, he is focused on his next bout.
“I’ve been asked to wrestle in the Dapper Dan Classic after the season in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but I’ve gotta think about it,” Tim Furgeson said. “You’ll have to ask me again in about a month.”