La Plata wrestling loses to Huntingtown
Hurricanes top Warriors to finish unbeaten in SMAC
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.”
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.