State Tournament: Fenton Injured, He and Bamberger Medal

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Four Walt Whitman High School senior wrestlers competed in the 2016 3A/4A Maryland State Wrestling Tournament at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro on March 4 and 5: James Bamberger at 132 pounds, Mitch Fenton at 152 pounds, Marcos Solloso at 170 pounds and Ezra Alexander at 182 pounds. They all had earned the right to compete by finishing in the top four of their weight classes at the 3A/4A West Region Tournament a week earlier. While experiencing some of the team’s toughest competition of the season, they were supported by a vocal contingent of present and former Whitman wrestlers and their families.

The State Tournament is a double elimination event in which only those wrestlers who stay undefeated can remain in the championship bracket and contend for first or second place, while wrestlers experiencing a loss go into a “consolation” bracket and contend for places three through six. There is a sixteen wrestler championship bracket for each of the fourteen weight classes, comprised of the four top finishers in each of the four Maryland regional tournaments, and organized so that each of four groupings within the sixteen person bracket consists of a first, a second, a third and a fourth place finisher from the four different regions, with firsts initially pitted against fourths and seconds initially pitted against thirds.

Theretofore undefeated Mitch Fenton, the top seed from the West Region, pinned his first opponent in the second period. He had a tight second bout with the ultimate third place finisher in his weight class, Huntingtown’s Gino Sita, but prevailed 4-3. Then came a match with the undefeated Robert Doetsch of Dundalk (32-0), first seed from the North Region, in which Mitch went down with an injury to his side. After an injury delay, he persevered but came up short by a score of 6-5, for his first loss of the season. Mitch tried to go forward in the consolation bracket against Damascus’ Brendon Parent, versus whom he had a 2-0 record this season, but was in too much pain to do so, and the match was stopped before the first period was over. Even after forfeiting, Mitch was entitled to sixth place.

James Bamberger won his first match against the second seed from the East Region but then lost a bout with Stephen Decatur’s Andy McKahan, the first seed from the South Region, who ultimately finished second in the 132 pound weight class. In the consolation bracket, James decisioned B-CC’s Seamus Selmi; benefited from a forfeit by the injured Kyle McDonald of Oakdale; lost to Damascus’ Ryan Lawrence, the West Region’s top seed; and then went into the match to decide the fifth and sixth places, decisively beating Eleanor Roosevelt High School’s Ricky Bryant (second seed from the South Region) by 9-4 to capture the fifth place medal.

Marcos Solloso opened with a 7-2 win over Wyatt Thompson of Broadneck , but then lost 5-3 to the first seed from the North Region, Oakdale’s Ryan Shubert. In the consolation bracket Marcos lost another close match, 6-5, to Blake Evans of North Point High School, eliminating him from competition.

Ezra Alexander lost his first match to the North Region’s second seed, Urbana’s Kevin Makosy, and went into the consolation bracket, where he won his first match over Northwest High School’s Ike Ogwegbu. But then Ezra lost to the East Region second seed, Tom Gomez of Bel Air (40-4), and he too was eliminated from competition.

To celebrate the end of a successful wrestling season, the Whitman Wrestling Team, coaches and families will gather at the River Falls Clubhouse at 5 p.m. next Sunday, March 13, for the Team’s annual banquet.

By Craig Bamberger

Fenton Wins Fourth Regional Championship; Whitman Sends Four Wrestlers to State Tournament

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Four senior Whitman wrestlers placed in the top three of their respective weight classes at the Regional Tournament held at Sherwood High School February 26-27:  Mitch Fenton took first place in the 152 pound class, his FOURTH Regional championship;  Marcos Solloso finished second at 170 pounds; and 132 pound James Bamberger and 182 pound Ezra Alexander each captured third place.

Mitch Fenton won first place by decking all of his three opponents in a combined total of about seven minutes.  In the championship match he pinned the number two seed, Damascus’ Brendan Parent, in just over one minute, extending his undefeated season record to 38-0.  Mitch is the first wrestler in the long history of the Whitman wrestling program to earn four regional championships!

In total, nine Whitman wrestlers competed in the Regional Tournament; 145 pound senior wrestler Hamoon Shokoohinia qualified to participate but was unable to do so because of injury. In the overall team scoring, Whitman came in fourth among the twenty-five schools competing. In addition to the aforementioned region place winners and state qualifiers, Whitman also had four additional wrestlers who qualified for the region tournament by earning a top 8 amount of points within our 25 team region. They include sophomore Clark Boinis (113 lbs), Senior Braedan McKee(160 lbs), Sophomore John Luke Iglesias (195 pounds), and Senior Jacob Winch (220 lbs).  Senior Chris Habibian (106 lbs) had also been named as an alternate.

Marcos Solloso had a scrambling, back and forth championship bout with Poolesville’s Justin Budd, whom Marcos had pinned at the very end of an equally fierce match during Whitman’s dual with Poolesville earlier in the season.  Tron Carter, who does the Montgomery County blog for the Maryland State Wrestling Association, wrote that this “might have been the match of the tourney.”  But this time it was Budd who came out on top, with a close 9-7 decision.

James Bamberger had dropped a match to Damascus’ Ryan Lawrence, the ultimate 132 pound champion, but James fought his way back through the consolation brackets to a third place finish, pinning, in fifty seconds, B-CC’s Seamus Selmi, who already had upset the number two seed in this tournament and the number one seed in the Montgomery County Tournament a week earlier

In like manner, Ezra Alexander had lost a decision early on to Paint Branch’s Austin Smith, but he successfully wrestled back, pinning Damascus’ Elijah Baisden in the first period of their match and then avenging his earlier loss to Smith by decisioning him 5-2 in the consolation final, to capture third place in the tournament.

All four wrestlers thereby qualified to compete in the State of Maryland 3A/4A public school tournament to be held at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro on March 4 and 5.  The brackets for the State Tournament have been seeded and can be accessed via the article, “State Wrestling Tournament Seeded and Ready to Roll on Friday and Saturday!!”, at http://www.mpssaa.org/news/.

By Derek Manon

 

Fenton is County Champion, Three Other Whitman Wrestlers Medal at County Tournament

 

Four Whitman senior wrestlers placed at the 2016 Montgomery County Tournament held at Gaithersburg High School on February 20. Mitch Fenton took first place in the 152 pound class, defeating Damascus’ Brendon Parent 8-1 in the championship match, and in the process extending his unbeaten season record to 34-0. Marcos Solloso at 170 pounds captured a medal for second place, losing in the final round to Damascus’ Ben Lokos. Whitman’s other medalists were 132 pound James Bamberger and 182 pound Ezra Alexander, both of whom took fourth place in their weight classes. In the overall team scores for the tournament Whitman, which entered only nine wrestlers in the competition, came sixth among the twenty-five competing high schools.

Eight Whitman wrestlers have qualified to participate in the 3A/4A Regional Tournament to be held at Sherwood High School February 26-27. The top four finishers in that tournament for each weight class will go forward to compete in the Maryland State Tournament March 4-5.

At the County JV Tournament on February 13, two Whitman wrestlers medaled. Sophomore James Mackall, wrestling at 126 pounds, won second place, and senior Tony Rangel placed third at 220 pounds.

The Whitman varsity squad finished the regular season with a record of 11-2. Their match with Clarksburg, rescheduled for February 12 after snow conditions had compelled postponement from the original date, ultimately had to be cancelled when weather conditions forced the closure of Montgomery County Schools on that day. In the most recent (February 19) rankings by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, Walt Whitman is ranked as the 12th best public or private high school wrestling team in the State of Maryland (in a tie with Glenelg).

By Craig Bamberger

Whitman Loses to Damascus in Regional Tournament

Defending State Champion Damascus won the 3A/4A Dual Tournament on February 10, defeating Whitman 63-18 and Bethesda-Chevy Chase 54-18. Damascus therefore will advance to the State Dual Tournament.

Whitman, already weakened by earlier injuries to some of its wrestlers, came into the match without 145 pound senior wrestler Hamoon Shokoohinia, who was injured in its February 6 match with B-CC. In its match with Damascus, Whitman forfeited at three weight levels and bumped up most of its wrestlers to weight classes above their actual weights; Damascus forfeited at one weight level and several Damascus wrestlers likewise were bumped up to higher weight levels. Whitman won two matches actually wrestled (as distinguished from a forfeit) and in each case did so with a pin, but it lost seven such matches, six of them by pins.

The match began encouragingly, at the 195 pound level. Senior Ezra Alexander, despite falling behind 7-1 through two periods, suddenly pinned his adversary in the third period. But the next match was something of a mirror image, with sophomore John Luke-Iglesias being pinned in the second period while holding a 4-0 lead. Then Damascus’ heavyweight Michael Bradshaw, whom Whitman senior Jacob Winch had defeated in the two teams’ February 3 match, turned the tables, pinning Jacob in the second period. Damascus led 12-6.

Damascus forfeited to senior Chris Habibian at the 106 pound level, and Whitman reciprocated by forfeiting at 113 pounds. Sophomore Clark Boinis, wrestling up to 120 pounds against T.J. Macklin, ranked 19th in the State at 120 pounds, was pinned in the first round, and sophomore James Mackall was pinned in the second period by Damascus’ 126 pound wrestler. At 132 pounds, Whitman forfeited to former State Champion Scott Obendorfer, ranked 3d in the State at 126 pounds. Senior James Bamberger, wrestling at 138 pounds, was pinned in the second period by Damascus’ Ryan Lawrence, ranked 9th in the State at that weight level. Whitman forfeited again at the 145 pound level. The score was Damascus 44, Whitman 12.

Whitman’s 152 pound senior wrestler Mitch Fenton pinned his Damascus opponent in the third period to remain undefeated on the season. Then, at the 160 pound level, Whitman made its third forfeit. Next, senior Braedan McKee, wrestling up at 170 pounds against Damascus’ Colin McLaughlin, 6th ranked in the State at 160 pounds, was pinned in the first round. In the final match senior Marcos Solloso, wrestling at the 182 pound level against Ben Lokos, ranked 9th at 170 pounds, had a close match, losing 7-5. Final score: Damascus 63, Whitman 18.

Whitman will close out its 2015-2016 dual meet wrestling competition on Friday, February 12, when it will go to Clarksburg for a 6:15 p.m. meet that was postponed from January 27 because of snow conditions. After that, the individual wrestler competition will commence, with the Montgomery County junior varsity tournament on February 13 and the Montgomery County varsity tournament on February 19-20, both at Gaithersburg High School.

By Craig Bamberger

February 6 Tri-Meet: Whitman Beats Walter Johnson, Loses to B-CC

It was the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Barons who emerged the victors from the so-called “Battle of Bethesda”, as they defeated both Walter Johnson High School and the Whitman Vikings at the tri-meet held at Whitman on February 6.

Walter Johnson Match

This was the second match, after B-CC had beaten WJ 40-26; it commenced at the 195 pound weight level. Coach Manon bumped up senior Ezra Alexander, sophomore John-Luke Iglesias, and senior Jacob Winch to the 195, 220 and 285 pound categories respectively, and all three delivered pins in the second period of their matches. Senior Chris Habibian lost 9-3 to the 18th ranked wrestler in the State at 106 pounds; when a defeat seemed likely, Chris succeeded with extra effort in avoiding an 8 point major decision. In the 113 pound bout, sophomore Clark Boinis pinned his man in the second period, but then freshman Colby Fong was pinned by a WJ senior in the first period of his 120 pound match, and sophomore James Mackall at 126 pounds lost 11-2 to another WJ senior. Whitman led 24-13.

In the 132 pound match, senior James Bamberger pinned his opponent in the first period. Next, in his first varsity match, freshman Sang Hanna faced off against WJ junior J.D. Fitzpatrick, ranked 14th in the State at 138 pounds, and was pinned in the first round. Whitman forfeited at 145 pounds to WJ senior Logan Wilson, the 10th ranked wrestler in the State at that weight. Whitman’s lead now was just 30-25.

Coach Manon also bumped up seniors Hamoon Shokoohinia and Mitch Fenton to higher weight classes. Hamoon, wrestling at 152 pounds, gained a pin in the third round, and Mitch earned a 13-3 major decision over WJ’s Jacob Kielb, ranked 13th in the State at 160 pounds. Senior Marcos Solloso pinned his 170 pound adversary in the first round, and in the final bout at 182 pounds, junior Chris Greenberg went up against the 9th ranked wrestler at that weight, senior Patrick Okocha, and was pinned in the first round. Final score, Whitman 46, Walter Johnson 31.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase Match

The Vikings disappointingly won only five of fourteen matches, and only one of them by a fall. They also were dealt a cruel blow when, early in his 145 pound contest, senior Hamoon Shokoohinia was hit hard under his chin by the top of his opponent’s head, necessitating an injury forfeit.

The match began promisingly at 220 pounds with senior Jacob Winch earning a 5-0 decision. But at 285 pounds, senior Tony Rangel was pinned in the first period; and senior Chris Habibian, taking on B-CC’s 106 pounder Eli Guttentag, 19th ranked in the State, likewise was pinned in the first period. Sophomore Clark Boinis at 113 pounds won a 4-1 decision, but then freshman Colby Fong suffered a 15-0 technical fall and sophomore James Mackall lost a hard fought battle at 126 pounds, 9-8. B-CC led 20-6.

James Bamberger decisioned his 132 pound opponent 4-0, following which, at 138 pounds, freshman Jackson Blanchard was pinned by his B-CC junior counterpart. It was then, with the match already starting to slip away by a score of 26-9, that Hamoon experienced his injury forfeit, growing the Barons’ lead to 32-9. Senior Mitch Fenton responded with a one minute pin of his 152 pound opponent, but 160 pound senior Braedan McKee was pinned in the first round by B-CC’s Alec Cohen, ranked 16th in the State at 170 pounds. With the score 38-15 and only three matches to go, B-CC had effectively won the match.

Wrestling at 170 pounds, senior Marcos Solloso won an 8-2 decision. Finishing up for B-CC were the McAndrew brothers, senior Marcelo at 182, who is 17th ranked in the State, and sophomore Gabriel at 195, 24th ranked in the State. In two hard-fought battles, senior Ezra Alexander lost 10-6 to Marcelo, and sophomore John-Luke Iglesias, tied 2-2 after the first period, was pinned by Gabriel in the second period. Final score, B-CC 47, Whitman 18.

Whitman will compete again in the Dual Meet Wrestling Class 3A/4A Tournament, to be held at Damascus High School starting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10. The four teams participating in the tournament will be Damascus (13-0), Bethesda-Chevy Chase (13-1), Springbrook (11-2), and Whitman (11-2). Because Whitman and Springbrook have identical win-loss records and have not gone head to head this season, seeding for the tournament has been determined on the basis of other specified tie-breaking criteria, and the decisive criterion in this case, which is the point differential between the two teams against common opponents, results in Springbrook being the third seed and Whitman the fourth seed. Whitman therefore will be wrestling the first seed, Damascus, in the semi-finals, starting at 5:30 p.m.

 

By Craig Bamberger

February 3 Tri-Meet: Whitman Beats Wootton, Loses to Damascus

The tri-meet at Wootton High School with Wootton and Damascus, originally scheduled for January 23 but postponed because of snow conditions, was held February 3. Whitman defeated Wootton 50-21 but lost 58-14 to defending State Champion Damascus, which now is undefeated in its last 97 dual matches.

The Wootton Match

The first dual match was between Whitman and Wootton. The match began at the 120 pound level, with freshman Colby Fong being pinned in the first period by a Wootton junior. Sophomore James Mackall followed at 126 pounds, pinning his Wootton adversary in the first round. Senior James Bamberger, against 19th ranked Jack Cohen in the 132 pound class, had a tight match but prevailed 3-2. Whitman forfeited at 138 pounds to 21st ranked Wootton wrestler Riley Smart, and trailed 9-12.

At 145 pounds, senior Hamoon Shokoohinia decisioned his opponent 10-7, tying the score; senior Mitch Fenton scored an 18-3 technical fall; and there followed a series of first round pins by Whitman seniors Braedan McKee, Marcos Solloso and Ezra Alexander at the 160, 170 and 182 pound levels respectively. Wootton forfeited to sophomore John-Luke Iglesias at 195 pounds, giving Whitman a 41-12 advantage.

Senior Tony Rangel, up against Wootton’s Pat Bernardo, 4th ranked in the State at 220 pounds, wrestled aggressively but was pinned in the first round. Wootton forfeited to senior Jacob Winch, wrestling up to the 285 pound level. Reverting to the top of the order, senior Chris Habibian controlled his opponent and won 8-1. In the last match, sophomore Clark Boinis put up a good fight but lost 4-2. Final score, Whitman 50, Wootton 21.

The Damascus Match

This match followed immediately after Whitman’s match with Wootton. Damascus dominated it from the outset. The high points for Whitman included the first period pin of Damascus’ Davey Creegan by undefeated Whitman 152 pound wrestler Mitch Fenton; an impressive 3-1 victory by senior Jacob Winch over Damascus’ 285 pound wrestler Michael Bradshaw; a near-win by Marcos Solloso at 170 pounds against Damascus’ Colin McLaughlin, 5th ranked in the State at 160 pounds; and the determined, albeit unsuccessful, efforts by 220 pound Tony Rangel, that had his teammates appreciatively cheering.

The match began at 126 pounds, with James Mackall being pinned in the first period. Next, senior James Bamberger was pinned in the third period by the 2015 State Champion at 126 pounds, Scott Obendorfer. Whitman again forfeited at the 138 pound level, this time to Damascus’ Ryan Lawrence, 9th ranked in the State. At 145 pounds senior Hamoon Shokoohinia lost to Allan Furgeson, son of Damascus’ head coach, 9-0. Whitman was behind 22-0, and it was here that Mitch Fenton got his quick pin, narrowing the gap to 22-6.

Senior Braedan McKee at 160 pounds was pinned in the second period by Damascus’ Brendon Parent, 10th ranked at 152 pounds. Next up at 170 pounds was the Solloso-McLaughlin bout, which Marcos lost 5-4, and seemed to be on the verge of winning as the clock ran out. Senior Ezra Alexander fought hard against Damascus’ 182 pounder Ben Lokos, 9th ranked in the State, but was pinned in the third period. John-Luke Iglesias got off to a lead against Damascus’ 195 pound Elijah Baisden, who just a couple of

days earlier had beaten the 9th ranked wrestler in the State at that weight level, but ultimately John-Luke lost 9-5. Then came Jacob Winch’s exciting victory over Michael Bradshaw, making the score 46-9.

Damascus forfeited to senior Chris Habibian at 106 pounds. Closing out the match, sophomore Clark Boinis was pinned in the first round by John McLaughlin, 7th ranked in the State, and freshman Colby Fong was pinned in the first round by T.J.Macklin, 21st ranked in the State. Final score, Damascus 58, Whitman 14.

An article about the tri-meet in the Sentinel Newspaper can be found at: http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/sports/item/3061-damascus-winning-streak-reaches-97-straight

The match originally scheduled for February 4 at Clarksburg has been cancelled because, due to the rescheduling that resulted from the snow emergency, it would have resulted in Whitman’s exceeding the maximum number of matches allowed to be wrestled in one week.

Whitman’s final regular season wrestling is scheduled for February 6 at 2:30 pm, when Whitman, now 10-1, will be at home to 11-1 Bethesda-Chevy Chase and 6-3 Walter Johnson High Schools for a tri-meet.

 

By Craig Bamberger

Vikings Vanquish Trojans 70-12

 

Whitman Wrestling cut a wide swath through the Gaithersburg Trojans on February 2, winning twelve of fourteen matches with nine pins, one major decision, and two forfeits, to go 9-0 on the season. This dual meet, like the previous one with Wheaton, began at the 182 pound level, and senior Ezra Alexander again led off by putting his opponent away with a pin, this time in the second period. Sophomore John-Luke Iglesias followed at 195 pounds, achieving his pin in the exact same 41 seconds that it had taken him to pin his Wheaton counterpart. Senior Jacob Winch pinned his 220 pound adversary in the first period, and senior Tony Rangel enjoyed the benefit of a forfeit at 285 pounds. Whitman led 24-0.

At 106 pounds, senior Chris Habibian had a first period pin; 113 pound sophomore Clark Boinis overcame an early deficit to obtain a major decision, 14-5; and freshman Colby Fong won by forfeit at the 120 pound level. Freshman Max Gersch at 126 pounds was up against Gaithersburg senior Corey Scholl, fifth placer at the Grapple at the Brook tournament, and was pinned in the first round. The score was 40-6 in Whitman’s favor.

Sophomore James Mackall, wrestling in the 132 pound bracket, came from trailing on points to pin his adversary in the second period, and senior James Bamberger, wrestling at 138 pounds, pinned his opponent in the first period. Freshman Jackson Blanchard, competing at the 145 pound level, was pinned in the first round by a Gaithersburg junior. Whitman was ahead 52-12, and did not give up any more points.

Senior Mitch Fenton got a pin in the second period and senior Braedan McKee got his in the first period. Closing out the meet at 170 pounds, senior Marcos Solloso faced Gaithersburg’s Austin Stith, their most highly ranked wrestler. The match was tight through two periods, but Marcos broke it open, went ahead 5-1, and then pinned Stith in the third period. Final score, 70-12.

By Craig Bamberger