2018 Viking Quest JV Tournament

JV Wrestlers ShowStrength in Season-Opening Viking Quest Tourney

            With the largest presence of 12 participating schools, 22 Vikings at Whitman’s annual Viking Quest JV tournament this weekend posted a record of 55 wins and 31 losses and took home six first-place medals.  First-year and returning Viking wrestlers alike gained valuable mat time and demonstrated impressive combinations of skill, grit, progress, and potential for growth.

            Unlike an elimination tournament, the round-robin format assures every wrestler multiple matches.  This year, 155 participating wrestlers were assigned to one of 30-some groups of 3-5 wrestlers and wrestled every other member of that group.  Four mats were busy simultaneously throughout the day.  The winners of each group received first place medals.

Five returning Viking wrestlers and one freshman won their groups:  Arthur Dehareng (4-0), Charlie Imperial (4-0), Danylo Hartzler (4-0), Ben Mickum (2-0), Sean Mitchell (4-0), and Freshman Henry Sowells (3-1).   Another five returners (Isaac Beserat, Will MacDonald, Jack Morris, Ryan O’Connor, and Stephanie Solloso) and two freshman (Peter Li and Kevin Zarin) won three of their four matches.  First-year wrestlers Joseph Aron, Mohammed Diallo, Logan Eure, Ahn Lee, and Jimmy Ostler posted 2-2 records.  Beck Amodeo, Steven Canfield, Patrick Fletcher, and Sam Mindell wrestled tough matches and gritted out some good wins among them.

In the well-managed chaos, two or more Whitman wrestlers may have matches on different mats at the same time, and two Vikings may go against each other.  The action never stops.  So the highlights that follow are not comprehensive, as no single observer is able to track each and every match that takes place through the day.  But there were indeed many highlights.

In at least three matches, Viking wrestlers were down by points but then pinned their opponents late in the match.  Steven Canfield was losing 0-7 to a Churchill opponent in the third period, when he flipped the switch, taking down his man and running a half into a pin.  Sean Mitchell was injured in the first period and down 4-12 with 4 seconds left in the third, when he secured a headlock from the neutral position and pulled his Rockville opponent into a pin.  Peter Li was losing 2-12 in the third, took down his Einstein opponent and pinned him with a half. 

In at least two other matches, Whitman wrestlers came from behind to win on points.  Ben Mickum wrestled an exciting match against a talented Springbrook opponent.  Ben took the lead 2-0 with a first-period takedown, but by the middle of the third period, Ben was down 4-3, and his opponent was in the up position.  Ben scored a reversal late in the round to go up 5-4 and win the match.  Charlie Imperial fell behind 2-0 to Sherwood after a takedown, then tied the match with his second escape, scored a takedown to go up 4-2, and never relinquished the lead.      

Two freshmen won matches in overtime.  Henry Sowells scored an escape late in the third period of his match against Springbrook to force a 4-4 tie after three periods.  In the sudden-death first overtime period, Henry shot for an opening and took down his opponent for a 6-4 victory.  In one of the last and most exciting matches of the day, Joseph Aron took a quick 9-0 lead over his Rockville foe, with three separate near falls.  His opponent fought back, however, tying the match at 14-14 after some scoring confusion in a fast and furious final 30 seconds.  In the overtime period, Joseph shot a double-leg takedown and won the match 16-14. 

No match is over until the final whistle, and the best wrestlers keep fighting hard until they hear it.  These wrestlers showed their commitment to this premise.  They also showed the value of next-level conditioning, for which Whitman wrestling under Coach Manon is known.  As grueling matches reach their end, or continue into overtime, superior conditioning pays off with fresher legs and clearer heads.  Determination and conditioning shone through for our wrestlers.  

On the flip-side of the long grueling matches and dramatic turnarounds, many Vikings scored first-period pins.  Arthur Dehareng and Danylo Hartzler were quick-pin machines, both winning all four matches by first-round pins.  Arthur shot a double leg takedown and moved immediately into a cradle for a pin at about 1:45 against Springbrook.  Danylo also used a cradle move for a pin at 1:38 against Quince Orchard.  Jack Morris and Stephanie Solloso each won three matches by first-round pin.  Jack’s included a headlock-to-pin vs. Rockville at 1:45 and a running-half-to-pin vs. Churchill.  Stephanie used a barbed-wire move in the first minute against Rockville, and dispensed with her Einstein opponent at 1:45.  Isaac Beserat showed strong development since last year with first-round pins against Northwest (half-to-pin) and Gaithersburg (1:04).  Charlie Imperial took a half to a pin at 1:31 vs. Rockville, and Will MacDonald pinned his Einstein opponent at about 1:30.  Logan Eure, a freshman, nailed his second win of the day with an aggressive take-down of his Quince Orchard opponent and a pin at 0:53.  Ryan O’Connor scored a takedown, then a 2-point near fall, before pinning his Churchill opponent at 0:17.  Joseph Aron scored a first-period pin with a half against a Churchill wrestler.

Some other notable wins included Mohammed Diallo’s cradle-to-pin win, Sean Mitchell’s pin of his Pallotti opponent after dominating the first period and his shutout win over Oakdale using “spladle” moves, Anh Lee’s second-period pin of his Churchill opponent, and Charlie Imperial’s 15-0 technical fall against Springbrook.

Of the 22 wrestlers yesterday, 16 are wrestling for their first or second year.  First-year wrestlers accumulated 21 wins among them.  Even in losses, our wrestlers showed tremendous promise.  Wins not mentioned above did not fall short of any standard, they just were not seen amid the splendid confusion of the day.  Every wrestler should be proud of his or her work and deserves a big congratulations. 

The JV tournament is an importantfund-raiser each year for the wrestling team. Many special kudos and thank you’s are in order for making this asuccess: Coach Manon and his staff for the logistical work they do to make thishappen each year; Piper Imperial for her leadership in organizing theincredible army of parent volunteers who staffed the event; all the parents whopitched in; the varsity wrestlers for their respectful and efficient managementof the tables and scoreboards through the day; and our trainer, Jenny Mabry,for her professional support.

By Tom Mackall

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Vikings Hold Memorable 2017-2018 Wrestling Awards Banquet

 

This year’s banquet was held at the Carderock Swim and Tennis Club.  We had a great turnout and the event was truly a memorable one.  A big shout out to Shannon Lindstrom is in order for organizing all the moving parts behind this event and ordering the delicious barbeque.  You have set the bar very high and I know we all appreciated it!

During the banquet the coaches talked about the spirit of this team and how they really came together and improved throughout the year. They also spent time speaking about each individual wrestler and how each one evolved and grew throughout the year.  While every story was unique, the themes were similar; each and every wrestler worked hard and made marked improvements this season.  Each wrestler also helped to make this team better and all  were part of the great turnaround to 10 and 4 that was achieved this year.

To make this year’s banquet even more memorable we were fortunate enough to be treated to two videos.  The first video was created by Shannon Turkewitz who put together an exciting montage of photos highlighting each wrestler on the mat this year.  Shannon, along with Chuck Canfield, were our two team photographers this season and supplied all of the action shots for this video.  Thank you Shannon and Chuck for a job well done!      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1wSl_EJl1A&feature=youtu.be

The second video was created by  a group of upperclassman who showcased some of the more memorable events that occurred this season.  I know that all of their coaches, teammates and parents enjoyed this first ever parody of their coaches and other whacky events that transpired this year.  This video was created by Seniors Clark Boinis, John Luke Iglesias and John Mackall as well as Juniors Max Gersch, Mathew Lindstrom, Thomas Santora, Tom Wilmarth and Yussef Zaki with cameo appearances by Colby Fong and Sean Mitchell.  Great job guys! Your impressions of the coaches and other wrestling stories were spot on and this video will be enjoyed for years to come! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLpRmv_76Y0&feature=youtu.be

As in past years Coach Manon took time at the end of the evening to recognize several grapplers with individual awards.  Coach Manon mentioned that some of these awardees were particularly difficult to select this year as we had so many deserving wrestlers.  Having said that, listed below are the eight individual awards that were presented at the 2017-2018 Awards Banquet.

  • Most Varsity Wins – This award goes to Clark Boinis who had 34 wins this season and sustained only one loss during regular season (non-tournament) competition throughout the entire year.  Clark was also only one of four grapplers this year who wrestled in every dual meet and every tournament, this is despite having his knee pop out a half dozen or so times throughout the year.  Great season Clark!
  • Most Varsity Pins – This goes to John Luke Iglesias who had 19 pins this season.  His total would have likely been higher if he was not forced to take a number of forfeits throughout the season as many opposing coaches did not want any of their wrestlers to face John Luke.  Well done John Luke!
  • Most Improved Varsity – This honor goes to Sebastian Turkewitz this season.  Seb went 21 and 10 this season in the varsity line up.  This was a tremendous improvement from only one varsity win last season and 5 and 5 at the JV level.  Seb was also able to qualify for Regions this year.  We are all excited to see what the next two years hold in store for you.  Great progress Seb!
  • Varsity Coaches Award – Sang Hanna received the Coaches Award this year.  Sang went 17 and 18 this year on the Varsity squad.  Sang also earned his second consecutive first place finish at the JV Viking Quest Tournament. This was a huge step forward from his 2 and 7 Varsity record and his 14 and 3 JV record last season.  Sang also won some very close Varsity matches this year that helped his team achieve victory in several key duals.  Great season Sang!
  • Varsity Mental Toughness Award – As most of you know Max Gersch sustained a serious elbow injury in his first match of the year. Through Max’s hard work and positive attitude he was able to come back ahead of schedule and wrestle the last few duals of the season.  Max was even able to wrestle his way into the Regions.  Great comeback Max!
  • Viking Sportsmanship Award – This is the only award that is actually voted on by all members of the Whitman Wrestling Team.  Formerly known as the Chichester Award, this accolade is given to the Senior wrestler who exemplifies “Dedication, Perseverance, Spirit, Kindness, and Leadership on and off the field”.  This year the team voted Clark Boinis as the recipient of the 2017-2018 Sportsmanship Award.  Clark was a four year varsity wrestler and befriended and mentored many of his younger teammates. His presence on and off the mat will be missed next year.  Great career Clark!
  • Junior Varsity Coaches Award – Luke Cullinane was the recipient of this year’s JV Coaches Award.  Luke wrestled both JV and Varsity this season and amassed a varsity record of 9 and 11 while going 12 and 3 at the JV level.   This is huge step forward from last year when Luke’s record was 5 and 10 at the Varsity level and 7 and 4 at the JV level.   Luke’s progression as a grappler was tremendous this season and we are looking forward to his continued growth and following in his three older brother’s wrestling footsteps.  Great progress Luke!
  • Junior Varsity Most Wins – Stephanie Solloso had 15 JV wins this season, up from 5 victories last year.  Stephanie also placed second at the first annual Maryland State High School Girls Tournament.   We are all very proud of our only female wrestler on the team and the accomplishments she was able to achieve this year.  Great season Stephanie and kudos to you for carrying on the Solloso family wrestling tradition!

Closing Thoughts:  It has been a pleasure being associated with this program over the years.  Cindy and I are very grateful for the discipline, maturity and values wrestling has instilled in our two sons, Christopher and Clark.  We have also been lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and get know such wonderful wrestling families and watch as their children have grown into fine young men and women.  Although next year will be the first in seven seasons that a Boinis will not be on the mat, we are sure the team will continue to thrive and succeed.  Walt Whitman Wrestling is a top notch program and one we have been proud to be a part of.  Go Vikes!

By George Boinis

Three Captains Perform Well at State Tournament

The Maryland State Wrestling Tournament was held on Saturday March 3rd and Monday the 5th at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.   The normal tournament format had to be modified this year as extremely high winds forced school closures on Friday, which pushed the start of the tournament until Saturday.  This meant that all rounds, except for the first through sixth place finals, had to be wrestled on day one.  This made for another very long day……which as Whitman wrestling fans we have all become accustomed to.  I know that our three State Qualifiers greatly appreciated the support of their teammates who made the effort to come out and cheer them on.  Many thanks to James Mackall, Thomas Santora, Sebastian Turkewitz, Matthew Lindstrom, Tom Wilmarth, Steven Canfield and former teammate Andrew Shiman as well as some devoted parents.

The Maryland State Tournament is a double elimination tournament with 16 elite wresters in each 3A/4A weight class.  Each of Maryland’s four regions (North, South, East & West) sent their four top Regional Tournament placers to compete in this capstone event.

All three Whitman Qualifiers made our program proud as they wrestled their way through this tournament.  Clark and Yussef each had two convincing wins and went 2 and 2 at the tournament.  These two wins earned both of them top eight finishes in their respective weight classes.

John Luke won three matches on his way to the finals.   His second match was against the number five ranked wrestler in the state from Franklin High School (Elijah Solomon), who he beat 11-5.  He then went on to beat the number three ranked wrestler in the state from Stephen Decatur High School (Caleb Bourne) who was 31-0 before losing to John Luke in a 10 to 8 decision.  John Luke then faced the number one ranked wrestler in the state from C. Milton Wright High School in Bel Air, Maryland in the finals who was 43-0 (Wyatt Graham).   Unfortunately John Luke had injured his knee in the previous match on Saturday and was not 100% going into the finals.  John Luke did however manage to tough it out and compete only to come up a bit short.  Nonetheless it was a fantastic achievement to make it to the finals and place 2nd, beating two higher ranked opponents along the way.

While the 2017-2018 season is now over for our three State Qualifiers, they each can look back and be proud of the performances they turned in, both for their team and individually.

  • Junior Captain Yussef Zaki had 5 wins at the Musselman Duals,  placed 1st at the Grapple at the Brook, 2nd at the Patriot Classic, 4th at the Counties, 2nd at Regionals and Top 8 at States
  • Senior Captain Clark Boinis had 7 wins at the Musselman Duals, placed 1st at the Grapple, 3rd at the Patriot, 2nd at Counties, 3rd at Regionals and Top 8 at States
  • Senior Captain John Luke Iglesias had 5 wins at the Musselman Duals, was 1st at the Grapple, 1st at the Patriot, 1st at Counties, 1st at Regionals, and 2nd at States

These are all truly noteworthy seasons from our team captains.  Their accomplishments serve as testimony to how hard work in the offseason can pay off in the regular season.  They say in wrestling that you get out what you are willing to put in, and that is certainly the case with these three.

It has been an exciting year for the Whitman Wrestling Program.  Aside from the individual accolades the team as a whole has made great strides from where we started at the beginning of the season.  Many of our grapplers have made tremendous improvements as the season progessed.   This speaks volumes to the commitment of our student athletes and the teaching skills of our three very dedicated coaches!

By George Boinis

Three Captains Qualify for States at 4A/3A West Regional Tournament

The Maryland State 4A/3A West Regional Tournament was held on Friday February 23rd and Saturday the 24th at Clarksburg High School.  The tournament format was changed this year as the 25 teams from Montgomery County were split into the 4A/3A West, 4A/3A North and 2A/1A West Regions .  The 4A/3A West Region got the lion’s share of the teams with 17, including Whitman, while the 4A/3A North took 5 and the 2A/1A took 3.  In addition to the Montgomery County Teams the West Region was home to eight teams from Frederick, Carroll and Washington Counties for a total of 26 teams.

Whitman was well represented at the West Regionals with eight grapplers qualifying on points or County Tournament placements.  Those who qualified from Whitman were Peyton Casamento at 120, Clark Boinis at 132, Max Gersch at 145, John Mackall at 160, Sebastian Trukewitz at 170, Yussef Zaki at 195, John Luke Iglesias at 220, and Tom Wilmarth at heavyweight.

Only two schools sent more wrestlers than the Vikings with Churchill and Manchester Valley (Carroll County) both sending 10 while South Hagerstown (Washington County) also sent eight.   Four schools failed to quality any wrestlers and were thus not represented at all.  The rules for advancement from the Regional Tournament were simple, the top four finishers advance to the State Tournament, with the fifth finishers in each weight class being designated as alternates.

Clarksburg High School provided a great venue for Regionals as they are centrally located for all the participating schools and their facilities are spacious and new.  The only downside was having to listen to their raspy voiced announcer for two days who sounded like she needed a box of throat lozenges (or maybe she has an alternate career awaiting her as a public service announcer for smoking cessation).

After two days of tough wrestling three of Whitman’s team captains were able to qualify to advance to the Maryland State Tournament in at the Show Place Area in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  Those moving on to wrestle next week are:

  • Senior Captain Clark Boinis at 132.  Clark went 3-1 at Regionals.  After a tough loss in the semi finals Clark was able to refocus and wrestle his way back to a third place finish with two convincing wins.  Great work Clark!
  • Junior Captain Yussef Zaki at 185.  Yussef went 2-1 at the tournament, recording a fall in each of his first two matches.  Although Yussef lost in the finals (to the reigning Montgomery County Champion), he has positioned himself well for a run at States.  Well done Yussef!
  • Senior Captain John Luke Iglesias at 220.  John Luke remained undefeated for the entire season showing once again why he is the defending Regional Champion by winning his second consecutive Regional Title.   John Luke recorded falls in his first two matches before facing Shawn King-Pombo from South Hagerstown in the finals.  This was a much anticipated match as Shawn was ranked just ahead of John Luke all season long in the Maryland State Rankings.  These ranking proved to be in error as John Luke easily handled his opponent and won a Major over him by a score of 13-4.  Next up for John Luke is the state title…..you can do it John Luke!

In addition to those advancing to States we had two other wrestlers who placed in the West Regionals.   Both John Mackall (160) and Sebastian Trukewitz (170) were able to capture 6th place finishes.  These two sophomores will almost certainly be back at Regionals next year along with Peyton Casamento, Max Gersch, and Tom Wilmarth.  All of these battle veterans will be back on the mat next year for the Vikings. Congratulations to all five of you for having great seasons and for your many contributions to the team this year.

Best of luck to Clark, Yussef and John Luke in the State Tournament…..let’s bring home some more podium finishes.  Go Vikes!

By George Boinis

Senior Captains Place 1st and 2nd at County Tournament

 

 

The Montgomery County Varsity Tournament was held on Friday February 16th and Saturday the 17th at Gaithersburg High School.  Twenty-five teams were present at this year’s tournament where the Vikings entered 10 varsity wrestlers.  Whitman did not have wrestlers represented in four weight classes which were 106, 113, 126 and the 182 brackets, with some being missed due to injuries.

The tournament started off with a familiar tune as the 300 Violin Orchestra was played over the loudspeakers (the same song Whitman makes their entrance to at every home meet).  This must have brought the team good luck as Whitman placed five grapplers in the coveted top six spots of their respective brackets.  These six top finishers are guaranteed to advance to the Regional Tournament next weekend in Clarksburg.

Capturing one of the top six finishing positions were the following:

·         Clark Boinis at 132 was 2nd.  Clark had a great tournament going 3-1 and won his first three matches to advance to the championship round.  Clark’s victorious semi-final match was against a senior Damascus wrestler who was ranked #1 in the 132 pound weight class for the entire season.  Although Clark lost in the finals he did bring home a second place finish that would vault him into the top seed in the upcoming Regional Tournament.

·         Max Gersch at 145 was 5th. Despite being seeded 13th Max was able to wrestle his way into the Regional Tournament.  Max had perhaps the biggest upset of tournament with his first round win over the 4th seed from Sherwood.  Max went on to finish 4-1 at the tournament to secure his visit to Clarksburg.

·         John Mackall at 160 was 6th.  John went 3-2 at the tournament with 2 of his wins by pin.  John the was sixth seed in his very competitive weight bracket and finished as such.

·         Yussef Zaki at 195 was 4th.  Yussef wrestled very tough throughout the tournament and went 1-2.  Both of Yussef’s losses were by the closest margin of one point each.   Yussef’s body of work earned him a second place seeding at the Regionals next week.

·         John Luke Iglesias at 220 was1st.  John Luke once again proved why he is the reigning Montogomery County Champion.  John beat a talented wrester from Blair in the finals by 10-3 to secure his second consecutive county title.  John Luke will now go into the Regional Tournament with the number one seed and defend his Regional title from last year.  Well done John Luke!

Those not finishing in the top six spots but who still qualify for Regionals based on their accumulated season point totals are Peyton Casamento at 120, Sebastian Turkewitz at 170 and Tom Wilmarth at 285.  Congratulations to all eight of our grapplers who are advancing to Regionals.  Good luck to all and let’s bring home some more top finishes!

By George Boinis

2018 JV County Tournament Summary

The 2018 Montgomery County JV Tournament was held on Saturday, February 10 at Gaithersburg High School.  Twenty-five teams were present at this year’s tournament with the Vikings fielding one of the largest squads with 21 wrestlers.  Whitman had grapplers in 12 of the 14 weight classes; only 106 and 220 were not represented.

A number of Whitman wrestlers recorded wins at this event including:

·         Nick Roy at 113, 2-2 with 2 falls

·         Fernando Karamanoglu at 120, 1-1

·         Arthur Dehareng at 120, 1-2

·         Caleb Brenner at 126, 2-2 with a fall

·         Stephanie Solloso at 132, 1-2 with a fall

·         Logan Glazier at 145, 1-1 with a fall

·         Christian Beske at 152, 2-2 with 2 falls

·         Luke Cullinane at 152, 4-1 with a 3rd place finish.  Luke saw the most action of any of our grapplers in the tournament, as he fought his way from the consolation bracket into the 3-4 match.  This final match would prove to be a tough contest as Luke was up against a Solloso from Paint Branch.  Just prior to his match the fans were informed that the nephew of Stephanie and Marcos, freshman Dimitri Solloso would be wrestling Luke.

The match turned out to the highlight of the day as it was all knotted up at 1 to 1 at the end of regulation.  The score remained the same at the end of the first overtime period.  During the second overtime period Luke’s opponent chose bottom and Luke rode him out the entire 30 seconds.  I would then be up to Luke to score from the bottom in the third overtime period in order to secure his win.  Luke did just that through an escape midway into the period to win the match and earn his 3rd place finish.  An exciting win for Luke and a memorable conclusion to a great season!

·         Neil Parikh at 160, 1-1

·         Jack Kelly at 160, 1-2

·         Jack Ryan at 170, 2-2 with a 4th place finish.  During Jack’s run to his 4th place finish he turned in two pins.  Well done Jack!  This is quite an achievement for a first year wrestler.  There is no doubt that Jack will be a force to be reckoned with next year.

·         Jay Gatten at 182, 1-2 with a fall

·         Ben Mickum at 285, 2-2 with a 4th place finish.  Ben participated in a wild match to advance into his final 3-4 final match.  This memorable match was against an opponent from Northwest High School.  Ben was up by 5 points in the third period and was riding his opponent while attempting to turn him with a cross face.  As Ben’s forearm pressed against his opponent’s face, the NW wrestler decided to counter Ben’s move with a “mandible hold”.  Ben wisely held up his arm to the referee to show him the bite mark on his arm and the match was immediately ended with a disqualification of Ben’s opponent.  Kudos to Ben for keeping his cool in this crazy and volatile match, and on his 4thplace tournament finish!

The team spirit of this JV squad was evident once again as all the wrestlers stayed through the end of the tournament to cheer their teammates on.  Their close bond speaks well for the future of this team and the contributions many of these JV wrestlers are expected to make next year.  Congratulations to all our JV wrestlers, coaches and parents for a great season!

By George Boinis

Whitman Sweeps Battle of Bethesda on Senior Night!

 

The much anticipated Battle of Bethesda had finally arrived.  This historically has been the last wrestling match of the regular season and determines which Bethesda school will have bragging rights. Many of the wresters on these teams know each other through youth and off season wresting leagues, as well as the proximity of the schools themselves, so it is always a fun season ending event.  Being the last home meet it was also Whitman’s Senior Night.  The three Viking seniors, Clark Boinis, John Luke Iglesias and James Mackall had all waited 4 long years for a chance to capture this coveted title.  While Whitman fielded some very competitive teams the previous three years, none were ever able to claim this title.  The Viking lost both contests in 2014-15, beat WJ and lost to BCC in 2015-16, and lost again to both teams last year.

To add to the excitement all three Bethesda teams had a chance to advance to the regional duals tournament next week if they could win both their matches.  BCC came into the evening at 9-3, our Viking squad had a record of 8-4, and WJ came in with a record of 7-5.  Knowing everything was on the line the Whitman gym was packed with fans, including some legacy Whitman wrestling families who had come out to cheer on the Vikes.  A big shout out to the Bambergers (James 2016), the Fentons (Mitch 2016), the Calders (Jack 2014), and the Sharbaughs (Steve 2014, Will 2007) for their continued support of our wrestling program.

The first match of this tri-meet featured the BCC Barons against the WJ Wildcats.  The Barons were able handle the Wildcats in a rather convincing manner by a score of 45 to 24.

After the conclusion of the first meet the Whitman Senior Night Ceremonies were held.

Coach Manon spoke highly of our three seniors who not only all had outstanding wrestling careers but also achieved academic success with weighted GPAs all in excess of 4.2.  After the ceremony was over the varsity squad left the gym momentarily and re-entered for the last time to the blaring sound of 300 Violin Orchestra.  The captains then meet at center mat and fired up their team one last time to try and capture the Battle of Bethesda title.

The Vikings first meet would be against the Wildcats.  The first match was to be at heavyweight and John Luke Iglesias was bumped up to wrestle this match.  As we would soon learn Coach Manon had rearranged his “bigs” lineup with Yussef Zaki cutting down to 182, Tom Wilmarth moving to 220 and Thomas Santora stepping up to 195.  These moves turned to be well thought out and would pay dividends as evening progressed.  John Luke started the meet off on a positive note by recording a technical fall in the third period.

WJ then took our forfeit at 106 and then went on to record three falls at 113, 120 and 126.  This brought the team score to an unfavorable 5-24 when Clark Boinis ran out on the mat at 132 to stop the bleeding.  Clark manhandled his opponent in the first period and was leading by points when he pinned him midway through the second period.  Mathew Lindstrom was now back in the lineup at 138 and continued his standout season by pinning his WJ opponent in the second period as well.  Max Gersch also was back in form and turned in a nice pin in the first period.  This brought the Vikings to within one point of WJ, 23-24.  Whitman then lost by fall at 152 and was trailing by 7 with just five matches left.

Fortunately for the Vikings next up were two (of our three) ranked sophomore sensations, John Mackall at 160 and Sebastian Turkewitz at 170.  John pinned his opponent early in the second period and Seb managed a major decision outscoring his opponent by 9-1.  These wins set the tone for Yussef Zaki, who now at 182, overpowered and pinned his opponent in the second period.  Whitman lost a tough match at 195 and now led by only 3 points going into the final match at 220.   Tom Wilmarth then stepped out on the mat ready to wrestle, but WJ never sent anybody out to face Tom and he collected a forfeit.   The final score was Whitman 45 WJ 36.  Step one was now complete, we now had to beat the deep and well coached BCC squad to claim our first Battle of Bethesda title in four years.

The Vikings-Barons match started at 106 with Whitman once again forfeiting this weight class.  At 113 we fared no better and lost by fall in the first period.  Our third sophomore sensation, Peyton Casamento, was then called upon to turn this contest around.  Having attended Battle of Bethesda meets even before entering high school, Peyton understood what was at stake.  Peyton did not let his team down and pinned his BCC opponent in the first period.  Whitman then lost by fall at 126 bringing the team score to 6-18.

BCC then chose to shift their lineup around a bit and wrestle third ranked Eli Guttentag up to 132 to face Clark Boinis.  This shift did not work out so well for BCC as Clark outwrestled Eli for a Vikings win bringing the score to 9-18.  The Viking then lost the next two matches at 138 and 145 by major and fall respectively.  Sang Hanna was then called upon to enter the fray at 152.  Sang wrestled well throughout the first three periods which ended in a 5-5 tie.  When OT rolled around Sang was ready for sudden death and, (like déjà vu at Sherwood earlier in the week), Sang managed a takedown to win the match and the valuable three points for his team.   Another clutch performance by Sang, well done!

John Mackall and Sebastian Turkewitz at 160 and 170 then both dispatched their opponents by fall and points respectively.  Their combined effort helped the Vikes climb back to within 3 points of BCC, 21-18. Yussef Zaki was up next facing one of BCC’s (and the county’s) top ranked senior wrestlers at 182, Rhys Cohen.  Yussef took command of the match immediately and never trailed the entire time recording a 5-2 win and garnering 3 points.  The Viking then lost at 195 by fall and were now down 24-34 with just two matches remaining.

It would all come down to Whitman’s two big men, who together had the fate of the Battle of Bethesda in their hands.  With the Vikings down by 10 there would be no room for error.   First up was Tom Wilmarth at 220.  Tom did not let his teammates down and won by fall in the first period bringing Whitman to within just four points of BCC.  John Luke was up next at heavyweight and he was giving up a considerable amount of weight to his BCC opponent.  The first period ended with a 2 point Whitman lead.  However, John Luke managed another takedown in the second period and eventually pinned his opponent………the entire Whitman team, coaches, and fans all erupted into shouts of joy and euphoria.  The final score was Whitman 36 BCC 34!

After four long years seniors Clark Boinis, John Luke Iglesias and James Mackall had finally won the Battle of Bethesda.   Together with their teammates and coaches they all now had Bethesda bragging rights.  Additionally, our three seniors had a magnificent capstone event to add to their Whitman wrestling careers.

The team would learn later that three teams were now tied for the 3rd and 4th seeds at the regional duals.  All three teams, Whitman, BCC and Northwest had identical records of 10-4. The first tie breaker was head to head competition.  This was a draw with Whitman beating BCC, BCC beating Northwest and Northwest beating Whitman.  The second tiebreaker was determined to be the point differential of the three common matches.  When this was taken into consideration BCC and Northwest had the edge over the Vikes and thus those two advanced to the duals.

Nonetheless, the Whitman Vikings had a great 2017-2018 season.  The team record was greatly improved over the previous 2016-2017 season which resulted in a final record of 5-9.  Our team at the beginning of this season only had two ranked wrestlers, we now have six.  Our JV squad won the vast majority of their matches and is poised to contribute in the future.  This team is peaking at the right time and many of our grapplers are well positioned to make deep runs not only at the JV tournament but also at the County, Regions and States.  Our collective hats are off to Coaches Manon, Sharbaugh and Dahlstrom for their teaching skills and molding this team into the major county contender it is today.

By George Boinis