Qualifying for states
La Plata’s Chipps only SMAC wrestler to win 2A-1A South title
Getting up early to head south from Howard County to Waldorf may not be the optimal way the Oakland Mills wrestling team would like to start a Saturday, but the Scorpions made the trip well worth their while at the Class 2A-1A South Region tournament on Saturday at Thomas Stone High School.
Oakland Mills put eight wrestlers in their respective finals, winning six of them, and rolled up 203.5 points to claim the region champi- onship. La Plata finished second with 160 points, while Marriotts Ridge of Howard County was third with 144.
“We’ve just been focusing on get- ting better,” Oakland Mills head coach Brad Howell said. “We’re in our tournament phase, phase four, really focused on tightening up tough matches, staying busy get- ting after it when you’re winning, and just keep it rolling.
“I thought the boys came down here loose and excited. They’ve put the right work in starting way back in November and it’s really showing. There were some quality teams and some quality opponents. We definitely got tested. That’s what we were looking for.”
Daiquan Anderson (106 pounds), Kyle Farace (132), John Rynn (145), Paul Johnson (182), Aaron Smith (195) and Khalyl Abdul-Malik (220) all earned spots atop the podium to lead the Scorpions to the regional crown.
Marriotts Ridge boasted four champions, with Will Vaxmonsky (113), Chris Spano (120), Justin Hooper (152) and Austin Cestone (160) all doing the honors. Other champions were Southern’s Hunter Sharpe (126), Kent Island’s Brady Loveless (170), Largo’s
Joseph Monroe (285) and La Plata’s Jack Chipps (138).
Chipps was the only wrestler from the SMAC contingent at the tourna- ment to claim an individual crown. The La Plata grappler got behind early but came back to defeat Oakland Mills’ Ben Goldfein in a 10-7 decision.
“I felt like I was doing well throughout the tour- nament,” Chipps said. “The finals, it was kind of scary when he got the first points of the match. Then I was getting tired and could tell he was get- ting tired. It was a mental battle. When it was tied, that’s when I knew I could come back.”
Three other Warriors reached the finals but ultimately settled for run- ner-up finishes. Marco Frederico reached the 126-pound championship match, but was pinned by Sharpe in 57 seconds. Matt Embrey wrestled for the 152 title, losing to Hooper by a 15-10 deci- sion, while Ryan Latimer reached the final at 195 and was leading after two periods against Smith before getting stuck in the third.
Among other SMAC finalists, Lackey’s Brayon Farmer came up on the bottom end of a competi- tive championship match at 182, falling to Johnson by an 8-5 decision. Stone’s Adam Roberts earned a spot in the final at 113, los- ing by fall to Vaxmonsky.
Calvert had a pair of finalists in Devin Jones (120) and Jacob Davis (145). Jones lost by fall to Spano with six seconds left in the third period, while Davis lost by tech fall to Rynn.
The tournament was just another step in the building process for the youthful Cavaliers. Of the 11 Cavaliers who wrestled in the tournament, just three were seniors. Calvert finished sixth as a team with 104.5 points, while Lackey (46) and Stone (38) placed ninth and 10th, respectively.
“I’m proud of the kids. They wrestled well,” Calvert head coach Mike Free said. “We have four going to states and two alternates. They wrestled well, and overall as a team I think we did well. Again, we have underclassmen, so we’ll just keep building.”
Patuxent finished 12th with 24 points, Westlake tied for 14th with six and McDonough tied for 17th with 0.
The state wrestling tournament is scheduled for March 3 and 4 at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro.
PHOTO BY ROB WORMAN La Plata’s Jack Chipps wrestles against Ben Goldfein of Oakland Mills in the 138-pound final of the Class 2A-1A South Region tournament at Thomas Stone on Saturday. Chipps won the match 10-7 and was the only champion from SMAC in the region.