Viking Quest Tournament

JV Vikes Strong in the Most Wonderful Meet of the Year

                ‘Tis the season, which means JV teams from around the region descend upon Whitman for our annual Viking Quest JV Meet. Twenty-five Vikes distributed across virtually every weight class posted 52 wins against 36 losses, with eight Vikings taking home first-place medals. Fueling the excitement of a fresh season, this event gives wrestlers of varying experience and ability the opportunity—for many their very first opportunity—to both test and further their progress on the mat and gives coaches and fans alike a glimpse into the futures of their programs. It truly is the most wonderful meet of the year.

                Unlike an elimination tournament, the round-robin format assures every wrestler 2-4 matches.  This year, 219 registered wrestlers from 14 teams were assigned to one of 30-some groups of 3-5 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.

Three returning and four new Vikes won their groups: Conrad Randall (Fr. 4-0, 2 pins), Sully Kadnar (So. 3-0, 2 pins), Peter Li (So. 4-0, all pins), Isaac Besrat (Jr. 4-0, 3 pins), Alex Ibrahim (So. 2-0, 1 pin), Zane Shami (Fr. 2-0, 2 pins), Gage Konrad (Jr. 3-0, 2 pins) and Thomas Alvaro (Fr. 2-0, 1 pin). Another four returners and two new wrestlers placed second: Ian Galt (Fr 2-1, 2 pins), Kevin Zarin (So. 2-1, 2 pins), Joseph Aron (So. 2-1, 1 pin), Tommy Buckley (So. 2-1, 2 pins), Henry Sowells (So. 3-1, 3 pins), and Patrick Fletcher (Jr. 3-1, 3 pins). Four other Vikes finished with at least as many wins as losses:  Jimmy Ostler (Jr. 2-2, 2 pins), Sam Mindell (So. 3-1, 3 pins), Azi Schwartz (Fr. 3-1, 2 pins), and Robert LeBlanc (Fr. 2-2, 2 pins). First-year wrestlers Gergo Pula (So.), Zach Poe (Fr.), Rory Malek (Fr.), Saul Remick (So.), Max Ahmed (Fr.), Peter Carney (So.), Cole Wharton (So.), and Robert Marshall (So.) wrestled hard, gained mat time, and earned wins (including some pins) among them as well.  In all, 43 of the 55 wins were pins.

From 8:30 to about 3:00, the action was non-stop on four mats, and, in some instances, Vikes were wrestling simultaneously on three different mats.  The following are some first-hand observations of mostly winning matches, but not an exhaustive report by any means.  If somebody’s win is not mentioned below, it is only because there were more active mats than reporters’ eyes throughout the day.

At the heaviest weight class, Tom Alvaro won both his matches. Against Oakdale, Tom rode his opponent through the second to prevent any escape and enter the third tied 0-0.  Tom then escaped in the third and held on to win 1-0. Against Poolesville, he was-thrown for a takedown and put on his back for a near fall, before reversing his man and gaining a pin at 1:19.

Isaac Besrat was 4-0 on the day, with two first round pins.  After scoring a 6-2 decision against Clarksburg, Isaac used a snap for a takedown on his next opponent, then a power half to a pin sat 1:18.  Against Einstein, Isaac threw his opponent to the mat, then flipped him for the pin with :08 remaining.

Alex Ibrahim was undefeated.  He won a match with a pin when he put his opponent directly to his back with a bear hug and pinned at 1:30.

Sully Kadnar won his three matches.  Against one opponent, he took a quick lead on a takedown, then did a nice job of controlling his opponent’s wrist before getting under arm to roll for pin at 0:57.  Against B-CC, Sully used a snap and slide-by for a takedown, then went up 4-0 on a nearfall.  After a reversal in the second to go up 6-0, he pinned his man. 

Gage Konrad was also undefeated.  Against Oakdale, Gage slid behind his opponent for a takedown, then used a barbed wire for the pin at 1:06.  Up 3-0 in the third against Clarksburg, Gage used a chin-and-wing for a takedown, landed his opponent on his back, and pinned him with 0:30 remaining. Gage had won his first bout 6-2.

Peter Li won all four of his bouts by pin.  A single-leg to a quick half resulted in a first-round pin against B-CC at 1:33. Against Clarksburg, Peter beat a single-leg shot, then showed great mat awareness to pull his opponent in bounds before running a power half to a pin at 0:32. Peter scored a double-leg takedown, then put another opponent in a cradle for another first-round pin at 1:30. Against Sherwood, Peter was up 7-4 after one, scoring a near fall as time ran out.  Called for an illegal full nelson in the second, Peter’s lead narrowed to 7-5 before he gave up on a half on his opponent’s left, then hopped to his right and used a half to flip him for the pin at 0:18.

Conrad Randall won all of his bouts. He scored a first round pin with a double-leg and a cradle at 1:34. Conrad took another decision 4-2. In another bout, he showed endurance and grit taking an 8-4 decision. He fought off a single leg shot, then scored a takedown before allowing an escape.  Starting down in the second, he scored a quick escape, beat another shot for a takedown then allowed an escape before sliding behind for another takedown. He allowed another escape and finally surrendered a takedown before escaping and having his hand raised in victory.

Against Poolesville, undefeated Zane Shami went down 0-2, but fought back to reverse and pin his opponent at 0:26 in the first. 

Joseph Aron used a snap for a takedown against Kent Island, then an armbar for a near fall before running a half to a pin with seven seconds remaining in the first.  In another bout, he gave up a double leg takedown, but escaped and used a headlock for a takedown and 3-2 lead after one.  He nearly pinned his opponent in the second with a cradle, but settled for the 5-2 lead entering the tyhird.  After a quick escape, he used a whizzer against a shot to land the takedown and secure an 8-2 victory. 

Tommy Buckley fought a tough battle for the initial takedown in his first victory, and went up 7-0 after two near falls, before landing the pin at 0:38 in the first.  Against Springbrook, he slid behind his man for the takedown, then used a half for a near fall before landing the pin at 1:06.

Patrick Fletcher won three matches by pin.  Against Einstein, he scored a single leg, then took a half to a pin at 0:15 in the first.  Against Northwest, after using a high crotch move for the takedown, he used a barbed wire to roll his man for the pin.

Ian Galt pinned his Springbrook opponent. He beat a single leg shot and won the takedown, then got rolled attempting a cradle, but continued the roll to put his opponent on his back and secure the pin at 0:40.  In his second win, Ian converted a bear hug to five points, before using a half for a pin at 0:59.

Henry Sowells had three first-round pins, using a hug for takedown to a pin at 1:28, a headlock to the mat for a pin at at 1:19, and a snap for a takedown to a cradle and pin at 1:35.  Henry’s only loss was his most exciting match. Against a strong Sherwood wrestler, Henry found himself down 2-8 after a near fall, but then scored six unanswered points capped by a last second take down to tie the match at 8-8. A questionable call at the buzzer awarded an escape point to Sherwood while the man was face down on the mat, leading to an 8-9 loss.

Kevin Zarin won two first-period pins. The first came at 1:34. The second resulted from a bear hug that put his opponent down and on his back at 1:16.

Robert LeBlanc pinned opponents from Einstein and Churchill. Against Churchill, Robert was tied 2-2 when he snapped his opponent for a takedown, then turned him for the pin at 0:38 in the first.

Sam Mindell won three of his four matches. Against Northwest, Sam went down 0-2, before trading reversals and ending the first in a 4-4 tie. Starting up in the second, Sam used his legs to ride his opponent, finally securing a half and a pin with 11 seconds remaining in the period. In another win, Sam was down 1-2 after 1, then again used his legs effectively to ride top through the second. Starting down in the third, he scored a reversal to take a 3-2 lead then pinned his man. Even Sam’s loss showed grit. Against Oakdale, Sam went down 4-2 after escaping from two takedowns, then landed his own for a 4-4 tie. The first period ended at 6-6 after trading reversals. Starting neutral in the second, Oakdale won a takedown for a 6-8 lead, then reversed in the third for a 6-10 decision.

Against Poolesville, Jimmy Ostler went up 4-0 after one and 8-0 after two. In the third, he parlayed a neutral start into a single-leg takedown for a 10-0 lead before pinning his opponent at 0:26.

Azi Schwartz dominated his Rockville opponent, using a headlock for a takedown and near fall to go up 5-0, then building a 14-3 lead after two on two reversals and two near falls. Up 16-3 on another reversal in the third, Azi used an armbar for a pin. Against Churchill, he pinned his opponent at 1:01 in the first. 

Max Ahmed won a close decision against Northwest, going into the third tied 2-2 and escaping from the down position for the 3-2 win. Rory Malek lost a tough match in OT against Rockville.  Down 6-8, he took his opponent down at the buzzer to force OT, but then was caught with a double leg to end the match. Robert Marshall beat a shot attempt and secured the first takedown, then used a half for a pin at 0:13 in the first against his opponent.

The JV tournament is an important fund-raiser each year for the wrestling team. Many folks, including coaches, parents, and varsity wrestlers, do a lot of work to make this a success.  Special thanks to Lizzie Sowells for her leadership in organizing the parent team, 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.

By: Tom Mackall

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