Bal­ti­more teams shut out of cham­pi­onships

South River, Glenelg, Spar­rows Point make it through semi­fi­nal round

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - VARSITY - By Tim Schwartz tim­[email protected]­sun.com twit­ter.com/TimSchwartz13

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.”

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