JV Wrestlers Show Strength in Season-Opening Viking Quest Tourney
With the largest presence of 12 participating schools, 23 Vikings at Whitman’s annual Viking Quest JV tournament this weekend posted a record of 57 wins and 33 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. Eric Yuan and first-year wrestlers Joseph Aron, Mohammed Diallo, Logan Eure, Ahn Le, 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 Le’s second-period pin of his Churchill opponent, and Charlie Imperial’s 15-0 technical fall against Springbrook.
Of the 23 wrestlers, 17 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 important fund-raiser each year for the wrestling team. Many special kudos and thank you’s are in order for making this a success: Coach Manon and his staff for the logistical work they do to make this happen each year; Piper Imperial for her leadership in organizing the incredible army of parent volunteers who staffed the event; all the parents who pitched in; the varsity wrestlers for their respectful and efficient management of the tables and scoreboards through the day; and our trainer, Jenny Mabry, for her professional support.
[Correction: the original piece was updated to include a wrestler inadvertently omitted from the original.]
By Tom Mackall