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

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