Author Archives: jcasamento

Vikings vs. Poolesville

Vikings Downed By Strong Poolesville Team

                The Whitman Vikings encountered a strong Poolesville Panthers team in the home opener, falling short by a score of 21-50.  Another robust JV set of pairings followed, with the JV Vikes prevailing 54-39.

                Arthur Dehareng (Jr. 152) began the evening wrestling against Kevin Fultz, who placed 5th in the state last year at 145. Down 0-2 after a takedown in the first, the wrestlers started neutral in the second. Fultz beat a beat a double-leg shot, flipping Arthur for a takedown. With an escape at 0:05, Arthur was down 1-4. In the third, Fultz stood Arthur up and turned a double-leg for a reversal, leading to the final score of 1-6. Vikes down 0-3.

                Will MacDonald (Jr. 160) dropped a decision to Jackson Barney. Barney slid by a double-leg shot for a takedown, but Will crawled back to 3-4 before getting caught with a double-leg at 0:08 to go down 3-6. In the second, Will got caught for a reversal attempting to throw Barney back down to the mat. Starting down in the third, Barney lifted and threw Will to his back for two-point near fall and 3-10 final score. Vikes down 0-6.

                Seb Turkewitz (Sr. 170) was then pinned with a cradle in the first by Colin Savage, who is ranked by Tron Carter as first in the county at 160 after placing twice at states.  Vikes down 0-12.

Charlie MacDonald (Jr. 182) faced Xavier Kresslein, ranked first in the county after placing third at states. Kresslein ducked under for a takedown, then allowed an escape before using a cradle for a takedown and near fall in the first. Down 1-6, Charlie yielded an escape, takedown, and near fall, but fought off the pin, to enter the third down 2-14. After a reversal and escape, a double leg takedown resulted in a 3-18 technical fall. Vikes down 0-17.

Luke Cullinane (Sr. 195) put the Vikes in the win column with a first-round pin. Using a chin-and-wing, Luke put his man on his back and never let him up. The ref whistled the pin at 1:17. Vikes down 6-17.

Jay Gatten (Sr. 220) got caught in a sit-turn attempt and was pinned at 0:24 in the first, and the Vikes forfeited at Heavyweight. Vikes down 6-29.

Ryan Darby (So. 106) scored a third-period pin. He was up 4-2 after the first, scoring a double-leg takedown and a near fall before getting too high and allowing a flip for a reversal. Starting down in the second, Ryan escaped quickly, used an underhook for a takedown and a half for a near fall, then surrendered an escape and takedown before ending the period with a reversal. A throw for a takedown put him up 14-5 in the third before he used a half for a pin with 0:30 remaining. Vikes down 12-29.

Kevin Zarin (So. 113) threw his opponent for a takedown then quickly used a half for a pin at 1:21. Vikes down 18-29.

Isaac Besrat (Jr. 120) was down 0-5 after two but refused to give up. He stormed back with five points in the third, allowing only an escape, and falling just short 5-6. Vikes down 18-32.

Peyton Casamento (Sr. 126), back in the lineup, then sparked with a win. He sprawled against a shot in the first, and spun around for a takedown and 2-0 lead. In the second, a sit-turn reversal put him up 4-0, before he cut his opponent for a 4-1 lead. In the third, his opponent was assessed a point for stalling, but scored an escape with 12 seconds remaining. Peyton wins 5-2. Vikes down 21-32.

The Vikes then lost their last three bouts. Sam Mindell was pinned in the first off a cement mixer move. Ryan O’Connor was pinned in the first after a double-leg and bear hug put him on his back. The Vikes forfeited at 145.  Final score:  Vikings 21, Panthers 50.

The JV Vikings won nine of 15 bouts. Jimmy Ostler scored a double-leg takedown then pinned his opponent at 1:31 in the first. Sully Kadnar followed suit with the same sequence, pinning his opponent at 1:30. Henry Sowells used a baseball bat grip to pull his opponent into a takedown, then ran a half for a pin at 1:00. Zach Poe scored a takedown and near fall before landing a pin with a half at 1:29. Zane Shami was down 3-4 in the first before using a headlock for a takedown and near fall for an 8-4 lead. In the second, he cut an escape for his opponent, was taken down with a chin-and-wing, then reversed and pinned his opponent with 2 seconds remaining. Robert Marshall was taken down with a bear hug, but then used a back drive to pin his man in the first. Tom Alvaro snapped his man for a quick takedown, then turned a half for the pin. Peter Li nailed a quick single-leg, then took a half for a pin at 1:33. Patrick Fletcher then ended the night with a pin, going up 5-1 after one and riding for no points in the second. He escaped from down in the third then used a standing cradle to the mat for a pin with 20 seconds remaining.

The Varsity Vikes’ next match is a Tri-Meet at Wootton High School on Saturday, December 14, at 2:30 PM against Wootton and Gaithersburg.  The JV Vikes practice at Landon on Thursday, December 12, then travel to Northwest for JV Duals on Saturday, December 14.

Go Vikes!!

By: Tom Mackall

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

Vikings @ Clarksburg

Vikings Lose Season Opener to Clarksburg

Despite strong performances from returning and new wrestlers, a younger-than-expected Vikings Varsity lost a hard fought season-opening match to Clarksburg by a score of 27-47. The Varsity match was followed by a robust JV match of 19bouts, suggesting a bright future for both programs.

Charlie Imperial (Jr. 182) put the Vikes on top out of the gate.  Down 2-5 in the second, Charlie fired up and landed a takedown that he turned quickly into a half for a pin. Vikes up 6-0.

Luke Cullinane (Sr. 195) fell behind 1-4 in the first, after just missing a single-leg that his opponent turned into a takedown. Starting down in the second, Luke was caught with a power half leading to a near fall at 0:45, then pinned at 0:29. Tie match, 6-6.

At 220, Sr. Jay Gatten won by forfeit. At 285, Freshman Tom Alvaro grappled to a 0-0 draw at the end of the first, then gave up an escape to go down 0-1 in the second. Starting down in the third, Tom was caught reaching and pinned at the 1:43 mark. Tied 12-12 going into the lighter weights.

Ian Galt (Fr. 106) electrified the Vikings crowd with his performance. Ian went up 2-0 on a double-leg takedown at 1:17 in the first, then gave up an escape to lead 2-1. Starting up in the second, Ian kept his opponent in check before catching the half and pinning him at the 1:19 mark. Vikings up 18-12.

The Vikes then dropped the next four matches. Kevin Zarin (So. 113) was caught in a near fall at the last buzzer that gave his opponent at 5-point technical fall. Isaac Besrat (Jr. 120) was pinned at 0:30 in the second. Joseph Aron (So. 126) was pinned at 1:36 in the first. Sam Mindell (So. 132) then lost a very tough match. Showing a tremendous leap from last year, Sam took ashot but got beat with a whizzer for a takedown at 1:30 in the first, then fought off a chicken wing move at the buzzer. After a reversal and illegal hold call, Sam was down 4-1 at the end of two. Another reversal and illegal hold resulted in a 1-6 loss for Sam. After these four matches, Vikes were down 18-32.

Jimmy Ostler (Jr. 138) stepped up the energy for the Vikes, landing a takedown in ten seconds, allowing an escape, then taking a double-leg takedown to a cradle for a pin at 1:03. Vikings back in it, 24-32.

Ryan O’Connor (Jr. 145) just missed a victory. Both wrestlers took and beat takedown shots over two periods, with the only points coming from escapes as of 1:47 in the third. Clarksburg then landed a double-leg with only 13 seconds remaining to take a 1-3 decision. Vikes down 24-35.

Arthur Deharang (Jr. 150) put the Vikes back in the win column. Arthur scored first with a double-leg, but gave up an escape at 0:25, then allowed his opponent to slide behind him for a takedown with five seconds left in the first. Arthur went up 4-3 after the second period on an illegal hold (winding up to chop the elbow) and an escape with seven seconds left. Arthur preserved the lead riding hard on top of his opponent through the third. Vikes down 27-35.

Clarksburg then iced the match with two consecutive pins. Will MacDonald (Jr. 160) was up 4-2 in the second before getting tagged for a point for grabbing head gear then allowing a reversal to go down 4-5. He was caught with a half and pinned with three seconds remaining in the second. Seb Turkewitz (Sr. 170) then faced off against Kyler Ram, who placed fourth in counties the previous year, suffering a concussion in the semifinals. Seb started down in the second, and escaped to take the score to 2-4. Down 2-6 after a takedown, Seb was caught attempting a sit-turn and pinned with four seconds remaining. Final Score 27-47.

The Vikes’ lineup at Clarksburg was younger than anticipated before the season. Senior Payton Casamento has just recently returned after an illness and will strengthen the team going forward. Senior John Mackall, however, is out for the season recovering from a football injury. This team is only going to get better as the season progresses, so come out and cheer them on. Next up is the home opener against Poolesville on Wednesday December 11 sat 6:15.

JV Vikes Prevail 71-33

A horde of JV Vikings got precious mat time going into the Viking Quest JV Tournament starting at 8:30 AM at Whitman on Saturday, December 7.

The results were promising for the Vikes as the JV’s won 13 matches. Logan Glazier (Jr.) scored two first-period pins in less than three total minutes. Zane Shami (Fr.) scored a first-period pin after going up 4-1. Peter Li (So.) was up 5-1 then used a half to pin his opponent in the second. Sully Kadnar (So.) wrestled to a 7-2 decision. Saul Remick (So.) ran a half to a first-period pin. Gage Konrad (Jr.) just missed a pin in the second and scored a major at 8-0. Robert Marshall (So.) pinned his opponent in 14 seconds. Alex Ibrahim (So.) used a headlock for a takedown then pinned his opponent in the first. Henry Sowells (Jr.) scored two takedowns before pinning his opponent in the first. Cole Wharton (So.) scored a takedown with five seconds remaining in his match to take a 13-4 major. In his second match of the evening, Conrad Randall (Fr.) scored a takedown then ran a half for a pin with seven seconds remaining in the first.

The future is bright for the Vikes!

By:  Tom Mackall

Varsity Counties

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

2019 JV County Tournament

Vikings Land Seven Medals at County JV Tourney

            A horde of Vikings descended on Gaithersburg for the JV County Tournament Saturday, February 9, and the team sailed away with riches of gold, silver, and bronze. Eighteen wrestlers participated and seven earned medals, led by Ben Mickum (285) and Arthur Dehareng (138) who won their respective weight classes. Logan Glazier (2nd, 160), Gage Konrad (3rd, 160), Patrick Fletcher (4th, 160), Danylo Hartzler (4th, 182), and Isaac Besrat (4th, 106) also medaled. Overall, the JV Vikes combined for 33 wins on the day for a very strong finish to the JV season.

Ben Mickum Wins Gold at 285

Senior Ben Mickum concluded the day’s wrestling and his high school wrestling career with a 5-1 decision over a Churchill opponent for first place in the heaviest weight class. After a scoreless first period, Ben escaped in the first ten seconds of the second, then slipped his head out of a headlock attempt and landed the takedown for a 3-0 lead. Ben allowed an escape in the third, but then turned the tables and used a headlock for a takedown to secure the win.

Ben’s path to the finals traveled through Watkins Mill and Blair. In the quarterfinals, Ben scored a takedown in the first, then went up 4-0 with a reversal in the second and ended the period with a 5-0 lead after a stall call against his opponent. A double stall call, then a stall call against Ben in the third, resulted in a 6-2 lead before Ben gave up a last second escape to win 6-3. The semifinal match against his Blair opponent was not nearly as close. After a scoreless first, Ben escaped immediately to start the second, then hugged his opponent for a takedown and the pin at the 1:20 mark.

Arthur Dehareng Wins Gold at 138

Arthur Dehareng fought back from behind to pin his Gaithersburg opponent and win his weight class. Arthur was surprised with a quick double leg takedown in the first, but then tied the score with a reversal after starting down in the second. Arthur seized the advantage immediately upon reversing, caught his opponent on his back, and then worked through multiple adjustments before securing the pin with less than five seconds remaining.

Arthur began the day with a pin of his Poolesville opponent 19 seconds into the second period. Arthur followed that with a pin against Gaithersburg. Arthur was up 7-1 at the end of the second, after turning a whizzer against a shot into a takedown. In the third, Arthur started up, and used a half for the pin at the 1:07 mark. Next up was Northwest. Though Arthur did not get the pin, he secured a major decision. A double-leg takedown and two near falls had Arthur up 6-0 after two. He reversed for two more to start the third before trading reversals and scoring a two-point near fall for the 12-2 major.

Logan Glazier, Gage Konrad, and Patrick Fletcher Take Three of Top Four Spots at 160

Led by Logan Glazier’s second-place finish, the Vikings dominated the 24-person field at 162, landing three of the four medal spots.

Logan faced off against a Sherwood opponent in the finals. After giving up a takedown, Logan reversed to tie with 20 seconds left in the first. He allowed an escape then gave up a takedown to drop behind 2-5 after two. Logan’s escape attempts were thwarted in the third, and a two-point near fall resulted in the 2-7 decision and a silver medal for Logan. At the same time Logan was wrestling for first, Gage Konrad and Patrick Fletcher were wrestling each other for third. After a tight first, Gage wrapped Patrick’s head and shoulders and turned him for the pin.

All three Whitman wrestlers had previously made the semifinals. In the semifinals, Logan and Gage faced off against each other. Gage won the first period, going up 2-0 with a takedown. The match tightened in the second as two wrestlers familiar with each other sought the advantage. Gage was up 4-1 before Logan reversed him and scored two back points to go up 5-4 after two. In the third, Logan caught Gage and secured the pin with 1:20 remaining. Simultaneously, Patrick Fletcher was wrestling the Sherwood opponent who won the weight class, and was pinned at the 1:29 mark in the third. Gage won an 11-5 decision over a Blair wrestler, and Patrick pinned his Quince Orchard opponent in the second, to advance to the 3-4 medal round.

Danylo Hartzler Places 4th at 182

Senior Danylo Hartzler capped a fine season with a fourth-place finish. Up against a Clarksburg opponent in the medal round, the bout went into the third period tied 2-2. Danylo tried a headlock move to gain back points, but was flipped for the reversal and pin.

In the quarterfinals against his Paint Branch opponent, Danylo just missed a pin at the buzzer to end the first, but the near-fall netted him a 5-0 lead. Danylo rolled his man for a reversal and a 7-0 lead before using a ball-and-chain for the pin at the 1:21 mark. Danylo then fell just short in the semis against Walter Johnson. Down 2-3 after two, Danylo got caught in a takedown attempt and ended up dropping a close 5-8 decision.

Danylo’s next opponent was teammate Logan Eure. Logan had advanced to the second consolation round with a first-period pin against a Blair opponent, a spirited and close 4-5 loss to a Blair opponent (the eventual 1st-place finisher), and a third-period pin of a Seneca Valley opponent. Danylo pinned Logan with ten seconds remaining in the first.

Isaac Besrat Places 4th at 106

Isaac Besrat met a Richard Montgomery opponent in the medal round to whom he had lost 4-11 in the quarterfinals. This time was closer. Isaac was down 0-2 after a single-leg takedown with 12 seconds remaining in the first. In the second, Isaac gave up a reversal and went down 0-4. Neutral to start the third, Isaac took shot after shot and finally landed a takedown with about 10 seconds remaining to narrow to 2-4, but did not have enough time to close the gap.

Isaac advanced to the medal round by defeating a Winston Churchill opponent 4-1, taking him down in the second then reversing for two more points in the third. In the first round of consolations, Isaac met his teammate, Ryan Darby. Ryan had pinned opponents from Magruder and Watkins Mill before losing by pin to a Northwest wrestler. Isaac and Ryan battled into overtime, tied 4-4 after regulation. In overtime, Isaac secured a takedown and near fall for the win. To get to his match against Ryan, Isaac had pinned a B-CC opponent. Following the match with Ryan, Isaac defeated a Churchill opponent 4-1. Isaac went down 0-1 after an escape to start the second, but fought back with a takedown in the second, then a reversal in the third.

Ryan O’Connor Advances to Semi-Finals

Ryan O’Connor (120) advanced to the championship semi-finals but could not get over the hump to the medal rounds. Ryan pinned opponents from Richard Montgomery and Watkins Mill before facing up against a tough man from Sherwood in the quarterfinals. Down 1-3 after two, Ryan started the third with an escape, then used a slide-by for a takedown and 5-4 lead. After an escape tied the match, Ryan fought off a shot with a good sprawl and cross face and secured the takedown before allowing an escape but winning 6-5. Ryan dropped a 4-7 decision to a Churchill opponent in the semis before ceding a 1-12 major against another Churchill opponent in the consolations.

Other Vikes Make the Quarter-FInals

In addition to the wrestlers mentioned above, some other Vikes deserve mention. Henry Sowells (170) advanced to the quarterfinals with a second-period pin over his Seneca Valley opponent, but then dropped a difficult 8-10 decision to move into the consolations. Joseph Aron (120) advanced to the quarters with a 16-6 major over Watkins Mill and a second-period pin over B-CC, before losing by fall in the quarters.

Overall, the JV Vikes showed very well at the County Tournament, and showed plenty of basis for optimism about how the Varsity will fill the gaps from departing seniors next year and drive the current Varsity wrestlers to get better or lose their spots.

Congratulations to the medal winners and all the JV Vikes for a very successful season. Go Vikes!

By: Tom Mackall

4A West Region Duals

Varsity Season Ends with Valiant Effort in Region Duals

                A determined effort by an unexpectedly thin third-seeded Vikings team against second-seeded Churchill in the Region Duals at B-CC Wednesday evening fell just short of victory, 30-36. The team once again showed tremendous character and grit and demonstrated they deserved their spot in the playoffs to cap off the season. Going forward, the individual wrestlers will work to sharpen their health and their readiness for the County tournament on Friday and Saturday, February 15 and 16 at Gaithersburg High School. The JV County Tournament is this Saturday, February 9, also at Gaithersburg High School.

The Vikes had previously lost to Churchill by three points, and they knew they would need to wrestle their best, and perhaps get some breaks, to prevail. The week started with difficult news, however, as the team lost two of its wrestlers in the heavier weights, where they had gained points against Churchill in the match two weeks ago.

The match started with Charlie Imperial at 152. Facing a county-ranked opponent, Charlie was down 2-6 at the end of the second, scoring his points on a reversal. Charlie narrowed the gap to 3-6 with an escape at 0:55, but was taken down and caught for back points in the last thirty seconds to cede a major decision. Vikings down 0-4.

John Mackall was next up. At 0:40 in the first, John grabbed his man’s ankle to pull him in bounds and secured a takedown for 2-0 lead. Down to start the second, John reversed at 1:50, cut his man, and then gave up a takedown. From there, John escaped for a 5-3 lead. John rode top the third period, but could not flip his man for back points. With the 5-3 decision, Vikes were down 3-4.

Seb Turkewitz quickly put the Vikes on top. After securing a takedown at 1:30 and then allowing a quick escape, Seb secured a better takedown position and cradled his opponent to a pin at the 1:22 mark. Vikings up 9-4.

Danylo Hartzler (182) lost his match but maintained the lead. His opponent was able to change levels and secure takedowns against Danylo, but could not land a pin. Danylo wriggled out of a cradle at 0:50 in the third, then escaped at 0:20 to narrow the gap to 5-14, but he could not land a last second shot. With the major, the Vikes held onto a 9-8 lead.

A forfeit to Yussef Zaki at 195 put the Vikes up 15-8. However, because of an injury to Adam Nganwa this week, the Vikes then had to forfeit 220, which not only narrowed the lead to 15-14 but also enabled the Bulldogs to allow their county-ranked 220 man to wrestle up against Tom Wilmarth (who is also county-ranked). After a scoreless first, Tom started down and was flipped with a half for a pin, for a team score of 15-20.

Coach Manon then flipped his lightweight wrestlers, so Isaac Besrat wrestled at 106 and Peter Li at 113. The move did not result in wins for the Vikes at either weight class, but did improve the point differential from the previous Churchill match. Isaac wrestled his man very closely, just missing opportunities to gain points. Down 0-3 in the third, Isaac was awarded a point for Churchill stalling, but fell 1-3.

Peter Li then dropped a heartbreaker. Down 2-6 in the second, Peter showed great clock awareness and fought frantically to escape at the buzzer and gain a crucial point. Peter started down in the third, and after an escape at 0:48, was within striking distance at 4-6. A bout-tying takedown brought the Whitman crowd to its feet, but an escape at the :05 mark secured the decision for Churchill. Vikes down 15-26.

Next up was a bout between two county-ranked wrestlers. Peyton Casamento went down 0-2 with a takedown in the first, but quickly escaped. Peyton then scored a reversal in the second to go up 3-2. The third started in neutral, and this time Peyton landed the takedown for a 5-2 lead. Peyton worked hard to flip his man for a pin in the last 1:20, but settled for the 5-2 decision. Vikes down 18-26.

Matthew Lindstrom then faced off in the second straight bout of county-ranked wrestlers. Matthew got caught with a quick ankle sweep for a takedown, then escaped, but was taken down again and caught in a wire. Matthew fought out of the wire to avoid the pin, but ended the first down 1-7. In the second, a cradle secured another two back points for Churchill. In the third, Matthew nearly succeeded in sitting out and landing a reversal but was caught short for another two back points. With the major, the Vikes were down 18-36.

Resting their wrestlers for their next bout against first-seeded B-CC, Churchill forfeited at 138 to Colby Fong and at 145 to Arthur Dehareng, for a final score of 30-36.

This team really deserves a lot of credit. Coaches Manon, Sharbaugh, Dahlstrom, and Williams have done a tremendous job developing young wrestlers, improving the experienced wrestlers, and keeping the team’s focus sharp and morale high despite an incredible rash of injuries and other unexpected obstacles this year. But, whatever the coaches may do, the wrestlers have to perform on the mat, and they have done so throughout the year with grit, skill, and sportsmanship. We all should be proud of this Vikings team. Go Vikes!

By: Tom Mackall

Vikings @ BCC and WJ Tri-Meet

Split in Battle-of-Bethesda Lands Vikings in Region Duals

            A dominating performance over Walter Johnson to open the Battle-of Bethesda Tri-Meet Saturday clinched a spot for the Vikings in the Region Duals. The Vikes followed with a gutsy performance against host B-CC that fell just short of the win and the top region seed. The 10-4 Vikings are healthy and peaking and have set the stage for exciting rematch possibilities against B-CC or Churchill or both on Wednesday night. Action will begin at 5:30 at a location TBD.

The Vikings also have their first wrestling state champion of the year:  Stephanie Solloso! Yesterday, Stephanie won her weight class at the MPSSAA female state tournament, improving on last year’s second-place finish. Congratulations, Stephanie!

The JV Vikes beat both WJ and B-CC to close out the season strongly before heading into the Montgomery County JV Tournament at Gaithersburg High School this weekend. There is still a lot of wrestling left this season, so keep coming out to cheer on the Vikes!

Vikings over WJ 57-13

The Vikings opened the day with a strong showing against a typically strong WJ team.

Isaac Besrat (113) started the day with a technical fall after going up 17-0 in the third. Up 2-0 after one, Isaac scored a quick escape to start the second. He followed with a takedown and a cradle for three back points and an 8-0 lead after two. Down again to start the third, Isaac escaped quickly then used a nice slide by to score another takedown. Two cradles for near falls later, Isaac broke the 15-point differential for the tech fall. 5-0 Vikings.

In the blink of an eye, Peyton Casamento (120) put the Vikes up 11-0. After a takedown at 1:48, Peyton put his man into a cradle and nailed the pin at 1:11.

Next up, Caleb Brenner (126) jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a double-leg takedown. After a reversal and a point for an illegal hold, Caleb escaped right at the buzzer to end the first up 4-2. Caleb escaped from down and was awarded another illegal hold point before giving up a last-second takedown to end the second up 6-4. The match tied with a reversal at 1:32 in the third before Caleb put the match out of reach with his own reversal and a three-point near fall at 0:18 for the 11-6 win. 14-0 Vikings.

Matthew Lindstrom (132) kept the streak going. After a takedown in 15 seconds, Matthew used a wire for two back points, then an armbar for another three. An escape and takedown later, Matthew was up 8-1 after one. As the second period was coming to a close, Matthew was up 14-2 after a reversal, a near fall, and a takedown, when he put his opponent on his back. Another 3-point near fall would have resulted in a tech fall, but Matthew wanted more and secured the pin with 15 seconds remaining. 20-0 Vikings.

Colby Fong (138) encountered WJ’s best pound-for-pound wrestler, a state finalist last year who is ranked 1st in 4A/3A this year. Colby took him into the third period before a giving up a technical fall. 20-5 Vikings.

Arthur Dehareng (145) put the Vikes back in the win column. Arthur scored a takedown in the first 15 seconds and rode top the rest of the first. In the second, he escaped in five seconds, scored another takedown, and then used a cradle for two back points to go up 7-0. The third period started neutral, and its first 50 seconds were filled with ties and flips and rolls as the wrestlers sought the takedown. At 1:12 Arthur won the battle and went up 9-0, then rode out the match to secure the major. 24-5 Vikings.

Charlie Imperial (152) faced off against a wrestler listed in the “others to watch” for 3A/4A in Maryland and ranked third in the county. Charlie wrestled strongly, down 1-3 after two. He closed the gap to 4-5 with a takedown in the third, but fell short 4-10. Vikings up 24-8.

John Mackall (160) started slowly in the first, taking a shot with about five seconds remaining and just missing the takedown before the buzzer sounded. The second was a different story. Starting up, John secured a cradle and after a few adjustments landed the pin at the 1:18 mark. 30-8 Vikings.

Seb Turkewitz (170) promptly followed suit. Down 0-2 after a takedown, Seb used a headlock to roll the reversal and lock the pin at 1:11 in the first. 36-8 Vikings.

Thomas Santora (182) went up 2-0 with a slide-by for the takedown at 1:50 and never relinquished his lead. After an escape, Thomas used a hug for another takedown and a 4-1 lead. An escape and takedown in the second put him up 7-1. Up to start the third, he gave up an escape then tied up for the remainder to win 7-2.

After forfeits to Yussef Zaki (195) and Adam Nganwa (at 220 in his first appearance of the season), the Vikings were up 51-8.

Tom Wilmarth added another six to the team score. Tom used a bear hug for a first-minute takedown, then twisted the wire for the pin at 0:37. After Peter Li (106) gave up a technical fall, the final score of the match was 57-13.

Vikes Fall Short against B-CC Barons, 25-40

The B-CC Barons have a strong team this year, with wrestlers at 106, 113, 132, 138, and 145 ranked in the top five for 4A/3A in Maryland and county-ranked wrestlers at 126 and 152. The Vikes knew they had their work cut out for them and, despite spirited wrestling, fell just short of the win.

Peyton Casamento (120) led off with a win. Peyton gave up a take down to start, but tied with a reversal before giving up an escape at the end of the first to go down 2-3. In the second, Peyton started down and gained a point and the tie when his opponent ceded to neutral. Peyton then used a slide-by to land a takedown at 1:48. He rode top the rest of the period, falling just short of several efforts for back points. In the third, he started and stayed on top, again falling just short of back-point tries and finishing with a 5-3 victory. Vikings up 3-0.

Caleb Brenner (126) was hit with a quick double-leg takedown, escaped, and then was taken down again before a pin at 1:11. Matthew Lindstrom (132) then gave up a technical fall when he went down 15-0 in the third. Colby Fong (138) ducked under for a takedown to narrow the gap to 4-9 in the third, but an escape and takedown resulted in a 4-12 major. Arthur Dehareng (145) gave up a pin in the first. Charile Imperial (152) then put up a good fight but could not muster points and gave up a 1-11 major. This string put the Vikes down 3-25.

John Mackall (160) knew the team needed a spark and gave it to them. He quickly popped an outside single-leg takedown and squeezed his man’s shoulders for a near fall, just missing the pin, before latching another cradle and nailing the pin at 1:08. Vikes down 9-25.

Seb Turkewitz (170) then took a major. Up 2-0 after one, Seb started down in the second, escaped at 1:34, scored a single leg takedown and, in the last ten seconds, cut his opponent and scored another takedown for a 7-1 lead. Starting the third in neutral, both wrestlers knew every team point would count, and B-CC was called for stalling trying to avoid a takedown or worse. Seb landed a takedown at 0:57, but could not flip his opponent and secured a 10-1 major. Vikes down 13-25.

Thomas Santora (182) went up 4-1 after the first, and escaped and scored a takedown for a 7-1 lead after two. After a stall call against B-CC in the third, Thomas was up 10-3, and a last minute take down made the final 10-5.  Vikes close the gap to 16-25.

Yussef Zaki (195) then took his opponent down in 10 seconds and pinned him with an armbar at 1:24, bringing cheers from the Whitman crowd as the score narrowed to 22-25.

Next up at 220, Adam Nganwa started with a single leg for a 2-0 lead, but then went down 2-3 from an escape and takedown before escaping with ten seconds left to end the first tied 3-3. In the second, Adam escaped in ten seconds, but then gave up a take down to go down 4-5. Both benches and crowds were on their feet, as thee wrestlers entered the third period. Adam started up, then cut his man for a 4-6 deficit. His first live bout of the season, Adam dug deeply through fatigue in the third to try several shots and regain the lead, but he fell just short and gave up a takedown with 15 seconds left and ceded a 4-8 decision. Vikings down 22-28.

Tom Wilmarth (285) put up another victory for the Vikes. Tom dominated his opponent, scoring three takedowns, but just could not lock his attempts to flip him for back points or the pin, and went away with a 6-2 decision. Vikings down 25-28.

Peter Li (106) and Isaac Besrat (113) then faced state-ranked wrestlers. Both fought gamely but could not avoid pins. Isaac Besrat took his match to the second period with a tremendous effort, however. Isaac was put on his back at the 1:50 mark of the first, but then bridged for the entire remainder of the period to limit his opponent to a three-point near fall. Hats off to that effort.

And hats off to the Vikings’ effort yesterday and throughout this season. Despite a rash of injuries and illnesses, including the absence of Seniors Max Gersch, Sang Bobbitt Hanna, and Yussef Zaki for most of the season, the Vikes have shown versatility, determination, and continuing improvement to earn their placement in this week’s Region Duals. First-time or younger varsity wrestlers like Peter Li, Isaac Besrat, Joseph Aron, Sean Mitchell, Rian O’Connor, Stephanie Solloso, Arthur Dehareng, Charlie Imperial, Will Macdonald, and Danylo Hartzler emerged and contributed essential skill and depth. Juniors Peyton Casamento, Caleb Brenner, John Mackall, and Seb Turkewitz, despite each missing some part of the season because of injury or illness, have added consistency and competitiveness where and when it was needed. Seniors Matthew Lindstrom, Colby Fong, Tom Wilmarth, Thomas Santora (who also has battled through injuries), Yussef, Sang, and Max showed leadership through excellence on the mat at multiple points through the season.

The 10-4 regular season has truly been a great team effort. We are looking forward to the wrestling yet to be done this season. Go Vikes!

By: Tom Mackall