Seniors Wrestle their Way to Regionals
The four Viking Seniors wrestling in the county tournament medaled to advance to the regional tournament at Clarksburg High School next Friday and Saturday. Tom Wilmarth (285) and Yussef Zaki (220) took third place, while Colby Fong (138) and Matthew Lindstrom (132) took sixth.
Tom Wilmarth Takes Third at 285
Tom Wilmarth was seeded third going into the tournament and placed third going out of the tournament.
Tom won a close bout against 5th-seeded Mathias Adjingbaruk from Northwood in 3-4 consolation finals. After a scoreless first, Tom rode out the second to go into the third tied 0-0. Tom started down in the third, and scored a quick escape to go up 1-0. Tom built a cushion with a takedown mid-period before allowing an escape and tying up till the end of the match.
As close as the final bout was, it paled in comparison to Tom’s bout against 4th-seed, Caleb Taylor, from Magruder that put him into the 3-4 final. After another scoreless first, Tom started up in the second. Caleb caught Tom with a fat-man roll and reversal for an 0-2 lead, which closed to 1-2 after an escape. Tom started down in the third, escaped immediately to tie the match, but was unable to land a shot before the end of the period. By rule, the first overtime period started neutral. The sudden victory (first to score wins) round ended deadlocked at 2-2. Also by rule, two 30-second overtime periods follow absent a fall or disqualification. Flipped disc gives choice of up or down in the first, and the other wrestler gets down in the second. These rounds netted no score change. In the ultimate tie-breaker (4th overtime) the wrestler who scored first in regulation gets choice of up or down. If he escapes or reverses he wins. If the top wrestler rides out, he wins, even though the score remains tied. Caleb chose down, and worked frantically to escape. Tom drove each attempt back into the mat or out of bounds, the last out-of-bounds whistle blowing with 2 seconds left. At the start whistle, Tom was nearly caught with another fat-man roll, which was initially called in Caleb’s favor. Review showed that he did not have control before the buzzer, however, and Tom emerged with the 4-overtime win.
Tom’s only loss was against 6th-seed, Edwin Galo of Gaithersburg. Tom started the match strong, going up 2-0 with a high cradle for a takedown. When Tom attempted a roll for back points, however, his opponent’s heft stopped it short and caught Tom on his back for a pin.
Yussef Zaki Takes Third at 220
Yussef Zaki surprised many with a decision to enter the tournament at 220 rather than 195, and he paid a small price with a 6th seed despite a 24-1 season record. Unsurprising to us Whitman fans, Yussef placed above his seed.
Yussef’s final victory of the tournament earned him third place and a measure of redemption. Yussef faced 3rd-seed, Sabio Amah, from Magruder. Amah had defeated Yussef in the quarter finals when he caught Yussef in a bull rush for a takedown and near-fall in the first period. Despite closing the gap, Yussef never could not recover from the five-point moved and dropped a 4-6 decision. This time was different.
In the first, Yussef went up 2-1 with a slide-by for a takedown and then allowing an escape. In the second, Yussef started up and allowed a reversal to go down 2-3 before tying with an escape. Down to start the 3rd, the match stopped from an injury time out after Amah twisted Yussef’s knee. After the break, a fired-up Yussef reversed and pressured into Amah’s chest to put him on the mat and nail the pin with 29 seconds remaining.
Yussef also defeated the 4th seed, Jevon Coche from Clarksburg, by 9-5 decision, the 9th seed by pin, the 12th seed by decision, and the 11th seed by pin on his march to third.
Colby Fong Places Sixth at 138
Colby Fong’s season took a surge forward at about the time of the Patriot Classic and his drop to 138 pounds. Colby continued that surge by turning an 11th seed into a sixth-place medal.
Colby advanced to the medal rounds by downing 7th seed, Junior Kim from Blair HS. Colby started the scoring with a hug for a takedown and a three-point near fall. An escape and another takedown in the second put Colby up 8-0, before he allowed an escape near the end of the period. Colby secured an 8-2 decision, allowing only another escape in the third.
Colby wrestled twice against 6th-seeded Dassaeve Jean of Springbrook, and very nearly won both before dropping them. In his first match, Colby went up 7-2 in the first with a headlock for a takedown and what looked like a pin to the crowd. The ref saw differently and awarded only a three-point near fall. Jean battled back, but Colby was up 10-9 in the third before Jean slipped a headlock attempt and landed a takedown and a pin. In the consolation semifinals, Colby appeared to have reversed into a pin, but was ruled out of bounds and then tied the match with a takedown and strong near fall that did not quite secure the pin. With Colby up again in the third, 10-9, Jean again landed a takedown and secured a pin, this time with 9 seconds remaining.
Colby dropped an 0-7 decision to 4th-seeded Sam Ewing of Sherwood in the 5-6 round.
Matthew Lindstrom Places Sixth at 132
Matthew Lindstrom entered the tournament with an 8th seed and exited with a 6th-place medal.
Matthew’s most exciting match put him into the medal rounds. He faced off against Nick Biava, 6th-seed from Damascus with a 31-13 record. After a scoreless first period, Matthew went down 0-1 after an escape. Matthew then shot for a single-leg takedown but was locked up in a whizzer by Biava. Matthew fought through the whizzer and finally secured the takedown at 0:19 for a 2-1 lead. In the third, Matthew went up 3-1 after being cut for an escape, and then the tables nearly turned. Biava shot for a single-leg, but Matthew locked him up in a tight whizzer. He held on for the last 20 seconds to defeat the shot and secure the 3-1 decision.
Matthew opened the tournament with a dominating technical fall against 9th-seed, Eddie Eckroth of Rockville. The match was never in doubt as Matthew started with a single-leg, then landed three two-point near falls for an 8-0 lead after one. In the second, an escape, a single-leg that turned into a double for a takedown, a three-point near fall after tying up legs and using a cross-face, then a roll for a near-fall put him up 16-0.
Matthew also scored a major 9-1 decision against 10th-seeded Joseph Meyer of WJ, while dropping major decisions to top-seed and champion, Eli Guttentag of B-CC, and third-seeded Kevin Fultz of Poolesville. Matthew faced off against Jaden Selby of Churchill in the 5-6 match, but fell just short of gaining leverage on a reversal attempt in the third, and got caught for the pin with about 30 seconds remaining.
Congratulations to these Senior wrestlers for their strong work through the season and taking the next step to Regionals!
Although they did not place in the tournament, Junior Peyton Casamento and Sophomore Charlie Imperial have also qualified for regionals, and Seb Turkewitz, who fell one bout short of the medal round, is an alternate. Some teams participating in the County Tournament advance to different regional tournaments than Whitman. For example, Springbrook and Sherwood are in the North Region and Damascus is in Class 2A/1A, while Whitman is in the 4A/3A West Region. As a result, wrestlers who did not medal have a chance to qualify for regionals based on a combination of county tourney placement and overall season points. So Charlie and Peyton are rewarded for their strong regular season.
In any event, Seb, Peyton, Charlie, and Juniors Caleb Brenner and John Mackall (who did not wrestle because of a concussion sustained in practice the day before the tournament will all provide leadership on next year’s team. They can take pride in the accomplishments of this season, pleasure in the ability to eat more freely, and motivation in knowing what they will reap next year from the seeds they sow in the offseason work that is about to begin.
By: Tom Mackall