Baltimore teams shut out of championships
South River, Glenelg, Sparrows Point make it through semifinal round
For the second straight season, Baltimorearea wrestling teams left North Point High School in Waldorf without a state dual meet championship.
No. 3 Glenelg (2A) and No. 10 Sparrows Point (1A) fell in their championship matches for the third straight year, while No. 11 South River (4A) lost in its first trip to the finals.
The Gladiators (23-1) lost to Damascus, 45-16, the Pointers (33-2) fell to Southern Garrett, 36-30, and the Seahawks (30-4) battled Springbrook until the second to last bout but fell, 36-18.
No. 8 Bel Air (3A), No. 9 Owings Mills (2A) and Patterson Mill (1A) lost their semifinal matches.
The Gladiators, who beat Parkside, 57-12, in the semifinals, thought this was their year to take down Damascus and end one of the longest winning streaks the country has ever seen and their run at six straight state dual meet state championships.
The Swarmin’ Hornets heard the noise and watched Glenelg win its tournament in December and then place ahead of them at War on the Shore in January. They felt like underdogs all season, coach John Furgeson said, but didn’t wrestle like it with the title on the line.
“Everyone thought we were done after the first year, the second year, the third year, the fourth year and those guys graduated, then the fifth year, the sixth year,” Damascus coach John Furgeson said. “Every year it seemed like it could be the year and at some point it’s going to be the year, but not this year.”
The Swarmin’ Hornets took down the Gladiators, 45-16, for the third straight season in the 2A state championship to capture their seventh straight state title while extending their dual meet winning streak to 178, the third-longest streak all-time. Only Brandon of Florida (459 straight, 1974-2008) and Weaver of Alabama (221, 1991-99) had longer winning streaks, according to the National Federation of High School’s wrestling record book.
“They beat us at our tournament, they beat us at War on the Shore in the team points stuff,” Furgeson said, “but this was our time tonight. They answered the bell and it’s just an amazing thing.”
Glenelg, the No. 2 seed, started on the wrong foot, as Kevin Hansberger bumped up from 126 pounds to 132 but lost to Nick Biava, 3-2. Reigning state champion Jared Thomas (138) got a pin but the Gladiators lost two more swing matches at 145 and 152 pounds and trailed 11-6 after four bouts.
They expected to take a commanding lead in the heavier weight classes but it didn’t come to fruition. Jacob Jones (160) managed just a one-point victory, and although Drew Sotka (170) did his part with a technical fall, Damascus’ Timothy Furgeson (182) secured a major decision to make it 15-14 in favor of the top-seeded Swarmin’ Hornets. Glenelg reclaimed the lead after another one-point victory from Sam Alsheimer (195), but it would turn out to be its last win of the dual meet.
Elijah Baisden (220) earned a quick fall and the Gladiators were deducted a team point for misconduct, and the Damascus bench erupted when Michael Harris (285) pinned Massimo Conti in 56 seconds. Two more pins from Silas Patton (106) and Joe McKneely (113), as well as decisions from Colton DeValle (120) and Michael Emerick (126) turned it into yet another lopsided victory.
Glenelg coach Matt Bichner put the blame squarely on his shoulders after the loss.
“I didn’t get them ready. Damascus wrestled a heck of a match, they’re competitors,” he said. “We knew they were always going to step up and they shine in these big moments. It’s on me; I didn’t get the guys ready enough for it. Unfortunately it didn’t go our way today.”
In 1A, the second-seeded Pointers won half the bouts against the No. 1 Rams in a rematch of last year’s final, which Southern Garrett won handily, 47-20, but couldn’t match them in bonus point-victories.
The Rams’ Cole Sweitzer (285) and Aiden Schwab (106) started the dual with firstperiod falls to take a 12-0 advantage, but Sparrows Point, which beat Lackey, 51-26, in the semifinals, answered with five consecutive wins.
Wayne Brooks (113) earned a hard-fought 17-2 technical fall, Gage Carr (132) won by fall and Mike Fouts (138) controlled the match and won a 9-0 major decision, while Matt Fouts (120) and Richard Davis (126) earned decisions.
“We battled back,” Sparrows Point Mike Whisner said. “We’ve battled back all year. We knew once we got to 113 we could go on a little run there.”