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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

Vikings @ Churchill and Wheaton Tri-Meet

Split Outcome in Tri-Meet with Wheaton and Churchill

            Having dominated Wheaton in the first match of the day, the Vikes fell just short of a sweep with an exciting conclusion to their match against tri-meet-host Churchill.

With Sr. Captain Yussef Zaki back in the lineup and some of the nagging injuries and illnesses healing, the 8-3 Vikings are stepping up for the home stretch of the season. Please come out this Tuesday, January 29, for Senior Night when the Vikes host Wootton. The 12 seniors will be recognized starting at 5:45, and the match will begin at 6:15.

Vikings over Wheaton Knights 64-12

The Vikings controlled their match against Wheaton from start to finish.

Peyton Casamento (120), still battling the remnants of illness and several days of missed practice, had good medicine with a quick pin to start the match. After a quick duck-under for a takedown, Peyton used an armbar to secure a quick pin. Caleb Brenner (126), also back from illness after missing the Springbrook Grapple, was then caught by his county-ranked opponent at the 1:12 mark for a pin. Matthew Lindstrom (132) fought through a tie-up for a takedown at 1:42, then used an armbar to put his opponent on his back and adjusted then to a half to land the pin at 0:53. Three bouts, three pins, Vikings up 12-6.

Colby Fong (138) jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a single leg takedown. Starting down in the second, Colby took a 4-0 lead with a reversal, then gave up an escape to lead 4-1 at the end of the period after fighting off an aggressive shot at the buzzer. Colby rode out the third for the decision and a 15-6 Viking lead.

Arthur Dehareng (145) followed suit with a first-period pin. After a double-leg takedown in the first ten seconds, Arthur used a barbed-wire to flip and pin his man at the 0:56 mark.

Charlie Imperial then scored a major to take the Vikes up 25-6. Charlie beat an opening shot to land the takedown, then used a slide-by to score another take down and had a 6-2 lead with a third takedown before using an armbar for a 3-point near fall and 9-2 lead at the end of the first. A reversal and another armbar for a near fall had Charlie up 13-2 after two. A quick escape to start the third, then a takedown with five seconds remaining, resulted in a 15-3 major.

John Mackall (160) rebounded from the injury that knocked him out of the Grapple. John went up 2-0 in the first with a single-leg, then escaped quickly to start the second before taking his opponent down and using a headlock for a pin at the 1:20 mark.

Seb Turkewitz (170) made even shorter work. Within 30 seconds he took down and pinned his opponent to give the Vikes a 37-6 lead.

Thomas Santora (182), who missed the Grapple because of injury, then delivered a 12-7 decision. After being taken down, Thomas escaped and scored a takedown just before the buzzer for a 3-2 lead. Down to start the second, Thomas escaped, scored a point on a stall call, gave up a takedown, escaped, and then won a tie up battle to land a takedown at 0:15 for an 8-4 lead. Neutral to start the third, Thomas scored a takedown and used an armbar for a near fall, before giving up a reversal and being assessed a point for stalling. 40-6 Vikes.

Danylo Hartzler (195), who also missed the Grapple because of illness, took a 6-2 lead after one with three takedowns. In the second, he scored a quick escape and, after a double-leg takedown, wired his man for a pin at the 0:54 mark.

After forfeits to Yussef Zaki (220) and Tom Wilmarth (285), Peter Li (106) surrendering a pin, and a forfeit to Isaac Besrat (113), the final score was 64-12.

Vikings Drop Thriller to Churchill Bulldogs 28-31

Next up was the highly anticipated match with Churchill, which did not disappoint for excitement as the outcome was not determined until the final bout.

Caleb Brenner’s (126) opening bout foreshadowed the remainder of the match. Facing his second county-ranked opponent of the day, Caleb was down 2-4 after one, fighting through a near fall at 1:10 then reversing his opponent at 0:50. Starting neutral in the second, Caleb scored a takedown to tie the score at 4-4. Down to start the third, Caleb went up 6-4 with a nice reversal at 1:42, but then gave up a bout-tying reversal, before getting caught in a headlock for a near fall and a 6-9 decision.

Matthew Lindstrom (132) then faced off against another county-ranked opponent. After a quick shot failed, Matthew tied up with his man, who got under his arms for a takedown and a pin. Colby Fong battled through tie-ups three different times, just missing take down moves of his own and then getting caught for takedowns, to drop a very close 4-8 decision. Arthur Dehareng, faced another county-ranked wrestler, and was down 0-9 before giving up a pin at 0:29. At this point, the Vikes had lost four matches and were down 0-18.

The Vikes then went on a run of their own.

Charlie Imperial (152), cheered on by his father who is a teacher at Churchill (and the rest of the crowd of course), won a 9-6 decision. After giving up a takedown, Charlie escaped then took his man down, before an escape tied the bout at 3-3 after one. A reversal at 0:57 of the second put Charlie up 5-3, and the period ended 5-4 after an escape. Charlie started up in the third and gave up an escape. Another takedown, escape, and takedown in the last 45 seconds secured the win and put the Vikes on the board 3-18.

John Mackall (160) took on a tall county-ranked opponent next. Ties, hand fights, and shots were to no avail in the first, which ended 0-0. John rode his opponent the full second period, just missing several attempts to flip his man to his back, and the match was still tied 0-0. In the third, John started down, scored a reversal in the first ten seconds, then rode out the rest of the period, again just missing on attempts for back points, but securing the 2-0 win. 6-18 Vikings.

Seb Turkewitz kept the streak going. At 0:55 in the first, Seb scored a takedown, then ceded an escape, then scored a single-leg before ceding another escape to lead 4-2 after one. A reversal and three-point near fall put Seb up 9-2 before he gave up a rare reversal then escaped to lead 10-4. Up to start the third, Seb gave up an escape then scored a takedown at 1:40. Seb then locked his opponent in a cradle and appeared to some in the crowd to have the pin at two different points. The referee did not see it that way, however, and awarded Seb three back points when his man finally wriggled out of the grip. A final escape resulted in a 15-6 major for Seb and a 10-18 team score.

Danylo Hartzler next wrestled at 182. Although he could not get ahead of the bout against his county-ranked opponent, Danylo was down 0-10 after a takedown in the third, then escaped to cut the lead to 1-10 and, in the last minute, scored a takedown to drop the margin to 3-10 and avoid the major decision in a match where every team point counted. Vikes down 10-21.

Thomas Santora wrestled up to 195. Taken down with a headlock that became an illegal hold once Thomas was down, he tied the score with an escape at 0:50, then went ahead 4-2 with a takedown at the buzzer. In the second, Thomas ceded an escape but maintained a 4-3 lead. Down in the third, Thomas could not score further points but secured the decision at 4-3, taking the team score to 13-21.

Yussef Zaki (220) then came onto the mat for his first active bout since going down early in the season. Facing a county-ranked opponent, Yussef made short work. A takedown at 1:20 and then a pin at 1:01 put the Vikes within striking distance at 19-21. Welcome back Yussef!

Tom Wilmarth (285) then put the Vikes on top. After several snaps, Tom slid by for a takedown and a 2-0 lead in the first. Tom rode top the entire second period, and chose top again to start the third. Tom had seen something during the second period, as he quickly broke down his man, put him in a wire, and pinned him at 1:45. The Whitman crowd erupted as the Vikes went up 25-21.

Peter Li (106) then battled gamely. Just missing several attempts to defeat shots with whizzers and takedowns of his own, Peter gave up a 4-16 major. At this point, the score was tied 25-25 with two matches to go, and both crowds were loud.

Isaac Besrat (113) faced another county-ranked foe. He fought off an armbar pin attempt for 28 seconds to end the first. Starting the second in the neutral position and down 0-5, Isaac gave up a takedown, then was caught in a half and pinned.

Peyton Casamento (120) then took the mat against a county-ranked opponent knowing that he had to secure a pin to tie the match. Peyton took the match to his opponent. Up 2-0 after a takedown in the first, Peyton fought a shot in the second to land another takedown and go up 4-0. Peyton worked furiously to flip his man to his back, but the Bulldog curled up tightly and at one point was called for stalling, clearly working to avoid a pin. Peyton, exhausted after a week of illness and a furious effort in the second, went up 6-0 with a reversal to start the second, but could not maintain the top. After a reversal and near fall, Peyton came away with an impressive win, a 6-5 decision. Final score, 28-31.

Come out Tuesday night for Senior Night against Wootton, which will be followed by the Battle-of-Bethesda, a tri-meet with B-CC and WJ hosted this year at B-CC, on Saturday February 2. Go Vikes!

By: Tom Mackall

Grapple at the Brook – Varsity Tournament

Difficult Grapple for Depleted Vikings

The Vikings entered the “Grapple at the Brook” rowing against the current, with three weight classes unmanned and missing five varsity wrestlers from the standard dual-meet lineup, and encountered rougher waters through two days of wrestling. They departed the tourney with a combined record of 12-22, having as many wrestlers exit with injuries as those who placed and finishing in the bottom third of the 15 participating teams.

The Springbrook-hosted Grapple is known as a tough tournament, drawing teams from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and Howard and PG counties in addition to Montgomery County. The Vikings entered with a reconfigured lineup to accommodate injuries, illness, and other factors. The 11 wrestling Vikes were Peter Li (Fr. 106), Isaac Besrat (So. 113), Peyton Casamento (Jr. 120), Matthew Lindstrom (Sr. 132), Ryan O’Connor (So. 138), Arthur Dehareng (So. 145), Will Macdonald (So. 152), John Mackall (Jr. 160), Sang Bobbitt Hanna (Sr. 170), Seb Turkewitz (Jr. 182), and Tom Wilmarth (Sr. 285). No Vikes wrestled at 126, 195, or 220.

Matthew Lindstrom, seeded fourth with a bye in the first round, was the Vikings’ brightest spot. Matthew led 2-0 after a takedown in the first period of his first bout, then built a 6-2 lead through the second period with takedowns and cuts. In the third, starting from neutral, he scored two more takedowns to finish with a 10-4 victory. After losing by technical fall in the championship semis to the eventual tourney champion, Matthew earned his own technical fall in the consolation semis, with three takedowns, three near falls, an escape and a penalty point for a 15-0 victory. He lost a close match, 6-7, to a Springbrook opponent in the placement round, surrendering a go-ahead takedown with thirty seconds remaining. Overall, Matthew finished 2-2 and earned a fourth-place medal.

Peyton Casamento also shined for the Vikes. Peyton opened strongly by taking a 13-1 lead over his TC Williams opponent before landing the pin at 0:26 in the second. In the championship quarterfinals, he dominated his Sherwood opponent, going up 5-0 after one, using a wire move for a 3-point near fall at the buzzer in the second, then using a half for another near fall in the third and giving up only a last-minute escape for an 11-1 major. In the championship semis, Peyton gave up a takedown in the second to go down 2-1, and started the third in the down position. His Clarksburg opponent, who finished second for the tourney, remarkably rode top for two minutes without any stall warning or points to secure the win. In the consolation semis, Peyton was leading his Cape Henlopen opponent and third-place finisher 2-0 and started the second in the down position, but got caught in a roll for a pin at the 1:00 mark. Peyton won a rematch with Holda from Sherwood in the placement round, but this time with a much closer score of 2-1, the winning points coming from whizzer and cross-face for a takedown in the second. Peyton finished in fifth place with a 3-2 record.

Four Vikes won early-round matches. After going down 0-2 to start his bout, Isaac Besrat (1-2) tied it up with a reversal and then in the second reversed and pinned his opponent at 1:36. Isaac then lost matches to the first-place and third-place winners.

Will Macdonald (2-2) started with a double-leg takedown against his opening opponent from Gaithersburg and never looked back, scoring a 15-4 win. After losing a second-period pin to the tourney’s second-place finisher from Long Reach, Will won the next round by forfeit, before losing 2-13 to the fifth-place finisher in the next consolation round.

Seb Turkewitz (1-2), back in the line-up after only a day of practice since returning from injury, built a 5-1 lead over his opening opponent before using a headlock for a takedown to pin with :06 remaining in the first. Seb then lost a close 0-3 decision to finalist and High-Five teammate Pfeiffer from Sherwood, and a close 2-3 decision in the second consolation round.

Tom Wilmarth (1-2) scored a takedown with a snap in the first period and an escape in the second, for a 3-0 win to open the tourney, before losing his next two bouts.

            Arthur Dehareng (1-2) lost his opening round match, but came back with a pin at 1:07 in the second in the opening consolation round. Sang Bobbitt Hanna (officially 1-2) won his opener by forfeit, before losing to a tourney finalist from Atholton and then forfeiting his next match due to injury. John Mackall (officially 0-2) lost a close match in the opener to third-place finisher, Ramm from Clarksburg, when he surrendered a last-minute takedown breaking a 1-1 tie. John then forfeited his next bout due to injury. Peter Li, in his first Grapple, and Ryan O’Connor, wrestling up a weight class (or even two) in his first grapple, could not get into the win column.

The Vikings get a week of much needed rest, with no action until a tri-meet next Saturday, January 26, against Wheaton and Churchill. The action begins at Churchill at 1:00 pm. On Tuesday, January 29, the Vikings return home against Wootton. The Tuesday match is Senior Night, so please make a special effort to come to the match to honor the 12 Senior Viking Wrestlers. Go Vikes!

By Tom Mackall