Shoot­ing for More

Colonel takes aim at first re­gional du­als berth; Bent­ley, Bauer, Gabriel, Blan­chard eye state ti­tles

Dorchester Star - - SPORTS - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE [email protected]­

Stephen De­catur High’s wrestling team may not be touched this sea­son.

The loaded Sea­hawks fig­ure to go un­beaten against its Bay­side Con­fer­ence brethren, and, bar­ring in­jury, look to be a heavy fa­vorite to win their sec­ond Bay­side tour­na­ment ti­tle in three years.

That’s not to say the con­fer­ence’s north­ern half plans on qui­etly go­ing through the mo­tions this win­ter.

North Caro­line’s Ryan Bauer, Eas­ton’s Max­imus Bent­ley, Kent Is­land’s Ha­dyn Blan­chard and Colonel Richard­son’s Jor­dan Gabriel should again make strong bids for state ti­tles come March. And North Caro­line, Kent Is­land and Queen Anne’s County should again push for berths in the Class 2A East Re­gion Dual-Meet tour­na­ment.

Then there’s Colonel Richard­son.

In ad­di­tion to Gabriel vy­ing to im­prove on his fourth-place fin­ish at states last sea­son, Bryan Hall en­ters his sev­enth sea­son as head coach with a team that has the goods to chal­lenge for the school’s first trip to the 1A East Dual-Meet tour­na­ment.

“We should have qual­i­fied for it last year,” said Hall of a team that for­feited two wins be­cause of a pa­per­work snafu that left Colonel’s record at 7-7, one spot shy of qual­i­fy­ing for the 1A East du­als. “Last year we wanted to get in. And I’m fairly cer­tain that if we got in we would have won it.”

Op­ti­mism on the mats ap­pears higher than ever be­fore in Amer­i­can Cor­ner this sea­son. The Colonels won the an­nual sea­son-open­ing Andy Perez Memo­rial Tour­na­ment for the first time two weeks ago, with Bran­don Draper (126 pounds) and Gabriel

(195) go­ing un­beaten to win their re­spec­tive weight classes.

“I think it’s go­ing to give our kids a lot of con­fi­dence,” Hall said of the tour­ney win. “The big thing with the tour­na­ment was we had all 13 peo­ple in the lineup. I think ev­ery­body else was for­feit­ing four to six spots.”

The Colonels should fill every weight class, though they may not have a set lineup un­til af­ter the Christ­mas break. Over the past three sea­sons, Hall has watched his pro­gram steadily im­prove, go­ing from three wins, to five, to last sea­son’s 7-7 slate.

Hall isn’t pre­dict­ing an upset of De­catur, or some of the con­fer­ence’s other peren­nial heavy­weights. But Jor­dan Gabriel and Bran­don Draper, to­gether with Zach Draper, Bran­don Jester, Sam­son Opher — who each went 7-2 at the Perez tour­na­ment — Ma­son Lam­bert, Troy Rose, Jorse­len Gabriel, Austin Spies and Ryan Stan­ton give Colonel a solid core, which could gain added strength as a group of promis­ing-look­ing fresh­men de­velop.

“We wres­tled re­ally well,” Hall said of his team’s per­for­mance at the Perez tour­na­ment. “I think our younger guys grew a lot. We had four fresh­men in the lineup and each one of them got bet­ter as the tour­na­ment went on. So we’re ex­cited.”

That ex­cite­ment could re­main in Colonel’s cor­ner through the reg­u­lar and post­sea­son.

Here’s a look at this sea­son’s teams:

Cam­bridge-SD Head Coach: Jesse Mor­ris, 3rd sea­son.

Who’s Where: 106: Dazheem Emory (Jr.); 113: David Wil­lis (Fr.); 120: Nick Corkran (Jr.); 126: Tre­jan King (Jr.); 132: Daw­son Betts (Sr.); 138: Max Mar­shall (Fr.); 152: Javont Rolle (So.); 160: Cam­ren Lake (Jr.); 170: Tyler Ste­wart (Jr.); 182: Dy­lan Cameron (Jr.); 195: Joe Pike (Sr.); 285: De­van Lank­ford (Sr.).

Out­look: “I don’t think we’re go­ing to be a huge com­peti­tor in the dual-meet sea­son,” Mor­ris said. “But I think on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis, we’ll do rather well into the post­sea­son.”

That group of in­di­vid­u­als in­cludes Ste­wart, who won the 170-pound weight class at the Perez tour­na­ment, Emory — a re­turn­ing state qual­i­fier — Betts, and Lake, who each went 8-1 at Perez.

“We have a sig­nif­i­cantly larger amount of kids, but only one re­turn­ing se­nior,” Mor­ris said. “It’s go­ing to be tough. My ju­niors are ba­si­cally lead­ing the team right now.”

Colonel Richard­son Head Coach: Bryan Hall, 7th sea­son.

Who’s Where: 106: Jorse­len Gabriel (Fr.); 113: Mar­clee Du­vel­cint (Fr.); 120: Sam Souil (Fr.); 126: Bran­don Draper (Sr.); 132: Zach Draper (So.); 138: Daniel McKer­nan (Jr.); 145: Ryan Stan­ton (Sr.); 152: Bran­don Jester (Sr.); 160: Ma­son Lam­bert (Jr.); Austin Spies (So.); 170: Troy Rose (Jr.); 182: Sam­son Opher (Sr.); 195: Jor­dan Gabriel (195); 220: Lesly Fleuris­saint (Fr.); 285: Matt Bar­row (Jr.).

Out­look: Jor­dan Gabriel set a school sin­gle-sea­son record for vic­to­ries with his 41-4 mark last sea­son, be­came Colonel’s first re­gional cham­pion, and went where no Colonel had ever gone be­fore with his fourth­place fin­ish at states.

The Colonels could add to that list of firsts this sea­son with a lineup that has the po­ten­tial to earn the pro­gram its first berth in the re­gional du­als. In ad­di­tion to a solid core and a full lineup, Hall likes the ath­leti­cism from a fresh­men cast that with con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment could pro­vided an added boost.

Eas­ton Head Coach: Ja­son Biringer, 13th sea­son.

Who’s Where: 106: Jon Bo­lainez (So.); 113: Steven Broad (So.); 120: Zack Gon­za­lez (Fr.); 126: El­iz­a­beth Wilmer (Fr.); 132: Max Bent­ley (Jr.); 138: E.J. Mil­hol­lan (So.); 145: Mike Beak­ley (Fr.); 152: Ma­son Oden­wald (Jr.); 160: Seth Feldman (Sr.); 170: Char­lie Mueller (So.); 182: Jeremiah Gard­ner (Sr.); 195: David Lud­wig (Fr.); 220: Luis Bo­jorquez (Fr.); 285: Dar­ius Sar vis (Sr.).

Out­look: Bent­ley went 28-3 last sea­son and has the look of a wrestler de­ter­mined to im­prove on a six­th­place fin­ish at states.

“Bent­ley def­i­nitely has his sights set for plac­ing higher than he did last year,” Biringer said of his two-time re­gional cham­pion. “He’s very fo­cused and has been prac­tic­ing a lot off­sea­son as well.”

State-qual­i­fier Cam­den Har­ri­son trans­ferred back to St. Michaels, but Gard­ner could con­tend for a state berth. That may be it though in terms of state qual­i­fiers, con­sid­er­ing this is the youngest team Biringer has fielded in his 13 sea­sons as head coach.

“We do have a lot of ath­letic kids, but we’re def­i­nitely very young,” Biringer said.

Kent County Head Coach: Chris Yian­nakis, 1st sea­son.

Who’s Where: 113: Aron Ash­ley-Pin­der (Fr.); 126: Hanna Beat­tie (Fr.); 132: Gabe Yian­nakis (So.); 138: Kevin Mal­lory (So.); 145: Shane Moore (So.); 152: Will Ash­more (So.); 160: Jon Con­ner (So.); 171: Kregg Wal­ton (Jr.); 182: Kolby Wal­ters (Jr.); 195: Bran­don Crouch (Jr.); 220: Kyle Martinez (So.); 285: Rick Townsend (Fr.).

Out­look: A 1998 grad­u­ate of Kent County, Yian­nakis be­gins his first sea­son as head coach on the high school level, and ar­rives with 11 years un­der his belt coach­ing Kent County’s ju­nior pro­gram. Plagued by for­feits in re­cent sea­sons, the Tro­jans ap­pear to have some­one in all 14 weight classes, in­clud­ing Ash­more, who won the 160-pound ti­tle at the Perez tour­na­ment.

One of Coach Yian­nakis’ ob­jec­tives is to de­velop, and “not get stomped every time we step on the mat.” With vic­to­ries over Snow Hill and North Dorch­ester, the Tro­jans have al­ready sur­passed their win to­tal from last sea­son.

Kent Is­land

Head Coach: Tommy Si­tar, 4th sea­son.

Who’s Where: 106: Collin Edds (Fr.); 113: Ja­cob Bow­man (Fr.); 120: Jack Mul­li­gan (Fr.); 126: Cameron Faulkner (Fr.); 132: Gar­rett Griebel (Fr.); 138: Matthew Miller (Jr.); 145: Dou­glas Al­varez (Jr.); 152: Pe­ter Con­nor (Sr.); 160: Jared Silva (Sr.); 170: Randy Main (So.); 182: Joey Bunce (Sr.); 195: Max Tate (Sr.); 220: Ha­dyn Blan­chard (Jr.); 285: Grayson Colchagoff (Sr.).

Out­look: State-qual­i­fiers Dy­lan Fin­lay, Nick Leisen­ring and Jake Hipps are gone, but ap­par­ently so are the for­feits that plagued the Bucs, who sur­ren­dered as many as 18 to 24 points be­tween 106 and 126 last sea­son. That doesn’t ap­pear to be a prob­lem this early sea­son, with a strong look­ing fresh­man class fill­ing the light­weight ranks.

“They work hard; they keep the in­ten­sity up in prac­tice,” Si­tar said. “I’m sure they’ll keep their nose to the grind­stone and keep work­ing hard.”

Blan­chard (15-6) came back from an early sea­son in­jury to place fourth at states at 220 and hopes to go a few steps fur­ther this sea­son. Bunce (31-11) is also back with plans for a re­turn trip to states, while help­ing the Bucs qual­ify for the 2A East du­als.

“We’re look­ing at qual­i­fy­ing for re­gional du­als and those are kind of our goals,” said Si­tar, who’s is hop­ing trips to the South River Du­als, the New Year’s Brawl at Eas­ton, and the al­ways chal­leng­ing War on the Shore at De­catur ready his team for the post­sea­son.

“It’s awe­some to go to a tour­na­ment that’s harder than your state tour­na­ment,” Si­tar said of War of the Shore.

North Caro­line Head Coach: Tim Frey, 33rd sea­son.

Who’s Where: 120: Car­los Fuentes (Jr.); 126: Wes­ley Brock­son (Fr.); 132: Reilly McIntyre (Jr.); 138: Ryan Bauer (Sr.); 145: Rhian Sil­s­ley (Jr.); 152: Cam­den Con­stan­tine (So.); Dakota Wal­ton (So.); 160: T.J. Bunce (Fr.); 170: Tren­ton Hil­lard (Jr.); 182: Lewis Stutz­man (Jr.); 195: Mar­tin Rivera (Sr.); 220: Nas­sir Ross (Jr.); Chris Clarke (Fr.); Jar­rett Cooper (Sr.).

Out­look: Tyler Bauer, the school’s only two-time state cham­pion, and state qual­i­fiers Seth Lay­ton, Cody Holder, Noah Schall and Alex Gra­bel grad­u­ated from a team that went 16-1 last sea­son be­fore fall­ing in the semi­fi­nals of the 2A state dual-meet tour­na­ment. Also gone is Tyler Ri­ley, who logged over 100 ca­reer wins, but missed states.

The Bull­dogs do re­turn five state qual­i­fiers — McIntyre (40-8), Ryan Bauer (43-5) — the state run­nerup at 120 and a three-time re­gional cham­pion — Sil­s­ley (39-11), Hil­lard (32-13) and Rivera (26-19), but a po­ten­tial sixth con­sec­u­tive 2A East Dual-Meet ti­tle has not even been dis­cussed.

“I have ex­pe­ri­ence and I have youth. I have the two ex­tremes,” said Frey, who reached the 400-win mile­stone last sea­son. “It’s al­most like we’re do­ing two prac­tices some­times; well, at the be­gin­ning we were. We’re go­ing to get bet­ter as the year goes on, but it’s go­ing to be tough here at the be­gin­ning; just learn­ing how to do any­thing.”

De­spite a fifth-place fin­ish and hav­ing only a 10-man lineup, Frey was pleased with what he saw at the Perez tour­na­ment. But for­feits in the lower weights fig­ure to have Frey and as­sis­tants Robin Ea­ton, Daryl Sil­s­ley, Keith Bauer and Wayne Brock­son spend­ing a lot of time plot­ting matchups.

North Dorch­ester Head Coach: Justin Hoff­man, 2nd sea­son.

Who’s Where: 103: Ledger Bates (So.); 152-60: Hunter Cale (So.); Cody Ol­son (Sr.).

Out­look: Mizell Cooper, the re­gional cham­pion at 152 who suf­fered a bro­ken leg at states last year, has grad­u­ated.

Hoff­man thinks he should be able to fill most of the weight classes, and sees Bates po­ten­tially chal­leng­ing for a re­gional and state berth, along with pos­si­bly Cale, a trans­fer from Cam­bridge-SD.

Queen Anne’s Coach: David Stricker, 4th sea­son.

Who’s Where: 106: Lo­gan Unkart (Fr.); 113: Michael Corder (So.); 120: Pete Lem­mons (So.); 126: Aaron Pick­ett (So.); 132: Hunter Charles (Jr.); 138: Eric Smith (Jr.); 145: Isaac Mur­doch (Sr.); 152: Ja­cob West­fall (Jr.); 160: Chase Woodall (Fr.); 170: Ian Wein­gaert­ner (So.); 22: Sean Black­well (So.); 285: An­gelo Moore (Sr.).

Out­look: With re­gion cham­pi­ons Lem­mons (364) and Smith (30-6) back, along with fel­low state qual­i­fiers Moore (25-9) and Charles (in 2017), Stricker thought the Lions had a chance to im­prove on last sea­son’s 12-4 slate, which ended in the fi­nals of the 2A East du­als. But po­ten­tial for­feits could spoil those plans.

“I was re­ally look­ing to kind of take the next step since we’ve got a lot of kids re­turn­ing,” Stricker said. “But with­out fill­ing the full lineup we’re kind of in the same boat we were last year. I think we’ll beat the teams we’re sup­posed to beat, but we hit like a Park­side and Caro­line, solid, full line­ups, and it’s go­ing to be pretty tough for us.”

Queen Anne’s learned that with last Wed­nes­day’s sea­son-open­ing loss to North Caro­line, which Stricker hoped proved some­thing else to his team.

“We’ve been preach­ing prac­tic­ing right,” Stricker said. “Be­ing a good prac­tice part­ner and drilling the cor­rect way and I think (the Caro­line match) kind of helped turn on the light­bulb for some of our new guys be­cause we’re so young. We’ve got to drill hard and do it right in prac­tice so that way it shows up in the match. You can’t just tr y and flip the switch in a match.”

St. Michaels Head Coach: Sean McCrea, 1st sea­son.

Who’s Where: 113: Tae Gowe (So.); 120: An­dre Set­ter (So.); 126: Chris Guiter­rez (Sr.); 132: Cole John­son (Sr.); 138: Cam­den Har­ri­son (Sr.); 145: Keenan As­san (So.); 152: Nick Ball (Jr.); 160: Chan­dler Dy­ott (Fr.); 170: C.J. How­land (Jr.); 195: Michael Disil­ve­stro (Jr.); Jeremy Patch­ett (So.).

Out­look: A 1994 grad­u­ate of St. Michaels, McCrea goes from three-year as­sis­tant to first-year head coach, tak­ing over for King Hill, who stepped down af­ter last sea­son.

State-qual­i­fier Har­ri­son (24-14) is back from Eas­ton and should again con­tend for an­other state berth. For­feits will hurt, but McCrea and as­sis­tants Beau Har­ri­son — Cam­den’s older brother — Ste­vie Mis­ter and Chris Fish, all for­mer wrestlers, will fo­cus on re­build­ing.

“We’ve got a lot of fresh­men in, first-year wrestlers,” McCrea said. “We’re just look­ing for­ward to build­ing that up.”


Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester’s Tyler Ste­wart, left, sizes up North Dorch­ester’s Cody Ol­son in amatch last sea­son.

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