Varsity Patriot Classic Tournament

Vikes Place Sixth at Patriot Classic

            Led by Tom Wilmarth’s third-place finish, six other placers, and at least one victory by every Whitman wrestler, the Vikings placed sixth among 22 teams competing in the 26th annual Patriot Classic at Northern High School (which is in southern Maryland). The Vikes have four days’ rest before their dual meet on Thursday, January 10, at 6:15 at Kennedy.

            Whitman has participated in the Patriot Classic in Owings, MD, in Calvert County for several years. It draws teams primarily from PG County and southern Maryland and serves amazing crab soup at the concession, the best bargain of the season. This year, the tourney drew 22 teams and 18 Maryland-state-ranked wrestlers.

Wrestlers who lose before the championship semi-finals must win 2 or 3 consolation rounds to advance to the consolation semi-finals, from which winners will vie in the consolation finals for place 3-4 and losers for 5-6. Wrestlers who lost in the championship semi-finals have consolation byes until the semi-final round. This format assures every wrestler at least two bouts, and some may wrestle as many as six matches over the two days. Individual wrestlers receive medals for places one through four in each weight class, and teams earn points based upon wins, types of wins, and advancement.

            As a team, the Vikings compiled a 33-24 overall record, secured one third-place, three fourth-place, two fifth-place, and one sixth-place finishes, and had every wrestler win at least one bout. This showing earned the Vikings 123.5 team points, placing it behind only St. Mary’s Ryken, Sherwood, Broadneck, Northern, and Lackey.

            Tom Wilmarth (HWT) was 4-1, and placed third, with his only loss to tourney champion Christian Bryant from Eleanor Roosevelt in PG County. Tom led the entire way in his first bout, winning 5-2 against an opponent from Lackey. Tom sprawled and spun for a takedown, then ran a half to a pin in 38 seconds to down his quarterfinal opponent (Oxon Hill). Tom just missed a fireman’s carry move in the semis, which his opponent turned into a takedown and a wire move to a pin. In a rematch against his first opponent in the consolation semis, Tom again dominated start to finish for a 5-1 decision, nearly pinning his opponent with a cradle in the second. In the consolation finals, Tom was down 0-2 going into the third, but landed a takedown then nailed a pin in the second against his Surrattsville opponent.

            Peyton Casamento (120) also wrestled into the championship semifinals where he lost to the tourney champion, Evan Eldridge of St. Mary’s Ryken, and ended with a 4th-place finish and a 3-2 record. In the opening round, Peyton took a headlock to a pin in 27 seconds. In the quarters, he made a quick takedown then caught his opponent in the middle of an attempted sit turn for a fall with :09 remaining in the first. After losing by fall, Peyton went to a 10-0 lead on a near fall at the end of the second period and won a 12-5 major decision against a Broadneck opponent in the consolation semifinals. In the consolation finals, Peyton faced a Lackey wrestler, who may be the tallest 120-pounder out there, and was caught with a takedown and pin in the waning seconds of the second period.

Colby Fong (138) had a strong tourney, placing fourth by winning four and losing two, his first to a state-ranked Broadneck wrestler who placed second in the tourney and his last to state-ranked Sam Ewing of Sherwood. Colby was tied 5-5 going into the third period of his opening match, and very nearly escaped from the down position, but was rolled into a 3-point near fall to lose 5-8. In his second match against an opponent from Northern, Colby came out aggressively, scored a first-period takedown, then used a high half for a pin in the second. Next, Colby dominated a Chopticon opponent, allowing only an escape and winning a major 9-1. Colby followed that with a technical fall over a McDonough opponent, going up 6-0 after the first. With a 14-0 lead after a near fall, Colby cut his opponent then scored a quick takedown to go up 16-1 for the tech fall. Facing a state-ranked Bowie wrestler in the finals, Colby went down 1-2, but then turned the match around for a 6-3 lead before taking a half to a pin with 1:02 remaining.

Thomas Santora (182) also had a 4-2 record and a fourth-place finish. Thomas won his opening match (St. Mary’s Ryken), going up 6-2 at the end of the first, 8-3 after the second, and reversing his opponent in the third for a 10-3 decision. Thomas was up 2-1 in the third period of his next match after reversing his C.H.Flowers opponent, but gave up a late reversal to lose 2-3.  Undeterred, Thomas shutout his next opponent (Wise HS) 5-0 with two takedowns and an escape, dominated his Lackey opponent for a 7-3 win, then pinned his Broadneck opponent in the second period of the consolation semifinals. He could not get untracked against his Bowie opponent in the finals, however, and lost 3-8.

Second-year wrestler Charlie Imperial (152) showed his high ceiling, going 4-2 with a fifth-place finish. Charlie’s first and last bouts were against Marc Kemgang from Sherwood, and he won both decisively. In the first bout, he survived a near fall in the second period when he missed a switch attempt, but then scored a reversal and a two-point near fall at the end of the period, then pulled away in the third for an 11-4 decision. Charlie’s second bout was a high scoring rumpus that could have gone either way. Down 8-12 to start the third period with gauze wrapped around his face to stem a nosebleed, Charlie took advantage of superior conditioning to reverse his Frederick Douglass opponent and then cut and took him down in succession to tie at 14 then go down 14-15, with some confusion as to whether he should have been awarded additional points. When his opponent was called for a second stall with 15 seconds left, the match tied 15-15 and went to overtime. In overtime, Charlie’s opponent surprised with a burst for a double-leg take down and near fall, for a 15-19 final. Charlie followed this pin in the second period using a power half against his opponent from Patuxent, and another second-period pin against an opponent from Wise. Charlie then went up 4-1 but lost by fall late in the second period against Northern in the consolation semi-finals.

John Mackall (160) battled through a tough seeding draw for a 4-2 record and a fifth-place finish. John lost his first match by fall in the third to a state-ranked St. Mary’s Ryken wrestler, who lost in the championship finals to another state-ranked wrestler. Against his next opponent, John led 5-1 after the second with a reversal, takedown and point for illegal hold. His opponent escaped to start the third but John snapped and circled for a takedown and a 7-2 final score. John then wrestled the top-seeded wrestler in the bracket, went up 2-0 from an illegal hold and an escape in the second, and then rode top the entire third for the win. John pinned his next opponent (Duval) in the second period by getting under a takedown attempt, putting him on his back, and using his legs to secure the pin.  John was up 4-0 after a reversal to start the second period of this next match (Northern), but got caught in a cradle for a fall. John won his final match against Frederick Douglass in another low scoring affair, where he went up 4-2 with a reversal in the third, then allowed an escape at the buzzer to win 4-3.

Will Macdonald (170) posted a 3-3 record and placed sixth. Will opened quickly, scoring a single leg and put his Oxon Hill opponent on his back for a pin in 35 seconds. He lost his next (Northern) by fall in the third. He bounced back with a pin early in the second against McDonough. Next, leading 9-3 in the third, he pinned his Great Mills opponent with 0:34 remaining. Will was then pinned by state ranked Higazi of Sherwood in the consolation semi-finals. He battled strong against his Duval opponent in the finals, going up 3-2 in the second, and then down 3-5 in the third after cutting his opponent, but surrendered a takedown for the 3-7 final.

Every wrestler won at least one match. 

Peter Li (1-2, 106) won his opening bout against Calvert. Down 0-2 after an initial takedown, Peter proceeded to score a reversal, two takedowns, and an escape to win 9-3. 

Isaac Besrat (1-2, 113) won his second match 7-3 after leading wire-to-wire over Broadneck.

Caleb Brenner (2-2, 126) opened scoring in his first match with a double leg takedown at the 0:32 mark, then cradled his Lackey opponent for a pin at the end of the first period. That earned him the right to wrestle top-seeded highly ranked Blake Jury of St. Mary’s Ryken, who pinned Caleb in the second period. Caleb came back with a strong performance, leading 11-5 in the third then taking a half to a pin his opponent (Wise) at 1:17.

Matthew Lindstrom (2-2, 132) started the tourney by sweeping the ankle of his opponent (Eleanor Roosevelt) and taking him to a cradle for a pin in 32 seconds. As with Caleb, Matthews opening win pitted him then against a highly ranked and the top seeded wrestler, who won 3-14. Matthew returned to form next match, leading 7-1 after three takedowns, and then using an armbar to a near fall for a 10-1 lead then pinning his opponent (Frederick Douglass) at 0:11 in the second. After a second-period takedown against his next opponent (Wise), Matthew was up 4-1, but was reversed and got caught for a fall.

Danylo Hartzler (195, 1-2) won his second match by pin. He began second period in the down position, then switched, caught his opponent (Calvert), and put him right to his back for the pin at :09.

The Vikings’ competitiveness and sportsmanship was on display throughout the well-run tournament. In several brackets, the Vikes encountered wrestlers that showed a standard to which they need to develop if they want to progress to the state tournament at the end of the year.  The more time the team gets against great competition, the bigger the dividends at the end of the year.

Keep coming out to support the Vikes and watch this team develop.

Vikings Lose to Talented Springbrook Team

            Fresh off winter break, missing several wrestlers, including Captains Max Gersch and Yousef Zaki to injury, and facing a seasoned Springbrook team with 11 county-ranked wrestlers, a young Whitman lineup went down 12-64 on Wednesday night.

            Several bouts looked as though they could go either way, but Danylo Hartzler, a first-year varsity wrestler, delivered the brightest performance of the evening. Danylo missed a shot in the first round, which the Springbrook wrestler turned into a takedown and an 0-2 lead at the end of the period. Danylo took the down position to start the second, and at 1:25 reversed his opponent and took him right into a near fall. After some micro-adjustments, he secured the pin at 0:42.

            Colby Fong lost an exciting bout in overtime. Tied 0-0 after the first, Colby took a 3-0 lead after the second with an escape and single-leg takedown. Colby was reversed and taken to a near fall to go down 3-4, but quickly reversed for a 5-4 lead, only to be reversed again to go down 5-6. Springbrook was called a second time for stalling at 0:10, which tied the bout. In overtime, Colby took the initiative and appeared to land a double leg takedown, but was flipped by his opponent, who was awarded the takedown and a sudden death victory.

            The JV team wrestled on a second mat at the same time as varsity, so I could not follow those bouts. What was most impressive, however, was the size the respective JV squads, which provided bouts for many wrestlers and bodes a bright future for both programs.

By Tom Mackall

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