La Plata wrestling loses to Hunt­ing­town

Hur­ri­canes top War­riors to fin­ish un­beaten in SMAC

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

Josh Stokes was just one of a large num­ber of fresh­men on a young Hunt­ing­town wrestling team when the sea­son started.

On Thurs­day night, fol- low­ing his 3-1 de­ci­sion in the 126-pound match in a dual meet at La Pla- ta, Stokes was one of 11 Hunt­ing­town wrestlers to walk off the mat vic­to­ri­ous in the team’s 61-13 win.

Stokes, who is ranked fifth in the state at his weight class, serves to il­lus­trate how the Hurri- canes have pro­gressed through­out the sea­son. Maybe the group was light on up­per­class­men to open the sea­son, but af­ter cap­ping an un­beat- en South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cam- paign with the win at La Plata, the group is far from in­ex­pe­ri­enced now.

“I thought we wres­tled re­ally well tonight. Our young kids aren’t young any­more,” Hunt­ing­town head coach Kevin Gilli-

gan said. “Josh wres­tled a great match at 126. I thought Kaleb [Dolina] did a fan­tas­tic job again at ‘32. I thought [Jack­son Cramer’s] third pe­riod was ex­cel­lent at 106. He’s just a lit­tle un­der­sized, but he fights and fights. Blake [Jury] wres­tled a real solid match. I’m pleased tonight.”

The dual started with the 152-pound bout and Hunt­ing­town (29-3, 13-0 SMAC) im­me­di­ately built a 36-0 lead with four pins as well as two wins by for­feit. La Plata (24-15, 11-2) man­aged three wins, but of­fered lit­tle re­sis­tance over­all as the Hur­ri­canes cruised to the win to cap their per­fect sea­son in con­fer­ence com­pe­ti­tion.

Hunt­ing­town won six matches by fall, with Nick Sul­hoff (152), Tristin Breen (160), Gino Sita (182), Jar- ed Bur­goyne (220), Alex Kephart (120) and Matt Wat­son (138) all do­ing the honors. In ad­di­tion to three for­feit vic­to­ries, the Hur­ri­canes also picked up win via Stokes’ de­ci­sion over La Plata’s Marco Fred­erico as well as Blake Jury’s ma­jor de­ci­sion at 113.

“I had to con­trol him on bot­tom. He was good on bot­tom,” Stokes said of his match, ar­guably the most com­pet­i­tive of the night. “I feel very con­fi­dent. I’m No. 5 in the state as a fresh­man so I’m do­ing well, and the team is do­ing well. We have a chance.”

As the top seed, Hunt­ing­town will host the Class 4A-3A South Re­gion du­als at 5:30 p.m. Wednes- day. The Hur­ri­canes will be look- ing to ad­vance to the state du­als for the fourth con­sec­u­tive sea- son. Hunt­ing­town will wres­tle No. 4 seed Stephen De­catur of Worces­ter County in the semifi- nals, while Eleanor Roo­sevelt of Prince Ge­orge’s County and Leon- ard­town will wres­tle in the other semi­fi­nal.

“We knocked out the first goal, which is the un­de­feated reg­u­lar sea­son and we get to host the du­als. Now we have some­thing big­ger to look for ward to,” Gilligan said. “We feel pretty good about our­selves right now. We still have work to do. We have a cou­ple of prac­tices left to keep get­ting bet­ter. It’s go­ing to be a tough re­gion. We have to come out ready to go.”

La Plata’s wins on Thurs­day came cour­tesy of Colton Sci­as­cia, Owen But­ler and Mike Bellerose. Sci­as­cia won the heavy­weight bout by fall, while But­ler won a 10-2 ma­jor de­ci­sion against Cramer at 106 and Bellerose took a 6-0 de­ci­sion over Dolina at 132.

The War­riors were left with holes in their lineup with ill­ness and in­juries deal­ing them some ad­ver­sity. La Plata head coach John Pankhurst was hop­ing to have the is­sues ad­dressed by Wed­nes­day night, when the War­riors host the 2A-1A South Re­gion du­als. The top-seeded War­riors are set to square off against fourth-seeded South­ern of Anne Arun­del County at 5:30. Kent Is­land of Queen Anne’s County and Oak­land Mills of Howard County will wres­tle in the other semi­fi­nal.

“Tues­day I felt dif­fer­ently than I feel to­day, but a lot has hap­pened since Tues­day,” Pankhurst said of the team’s prospects. “We had to deal with some ad­ver­sity and we’re go­ing to see if we can’t have that cor­rected by the time Wed­nes­day comes next week. To­day was what it was. [Hunt­ing­town] wres­tled very well and we did not, and we did not have all of the parts that make us whole.”

PHOTO BY DAR­NELL MAR­BURY

La Plata’s Owen But­ler con­trols the ac­tion in his 106-pound match against Hunt­ing­town’s Jack­son Cramer on Thurs­day night. But­ler won a 10-2 ma­jor de­ci­sion to ac­count for one of three matches the War­riors were able to win. Hunt­ing­town won the dual meet 61-13.

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