Roosevelt's Davis, Stags' Crosby and Ficker make first team grappling squad
Oxon Hill High captured most of the attention during the winter because of its pursuit and capture of the Class 4A state boys basketball championship and the girls' team reaching the state finals.
Meanwhile, its wrestling team also had a season to remember, sweeping the top honors of the 2000 All-Star/Gazette Wrestling team.
Coach of the Year
John Carpenter3rd year
Oxon HillA former wrestler at Oxon Hill (1987 to 1989), Carpenter steered the Clippers to new heights during the winter.
After winning its previous county matches by an average of 40 points, the county 4A/3A league championship came down to a tri-meet between the Clippers, Bowie and Suitland. The Clippers overtook Suitland (36-23), and then beat Bowie in the final bout to clinch their first league title since 1996.
After finishing in the fourth the year before, Oxon Hill only had one wrestler, Adrian Belcarris, win an individual title, but had seven more finish between second and fourth place to claim the county championship. The Clippers' 19th place finish at the state Class 4A/3A championships was the highest among county schools.
In his third season as head coach, Carpenter spent nine years as an assistant.
Wrestler of the Year
Wrestling was far from Belcarris' mind when he sustained a serious elbow injury during football practice last August. But he recovered in time to become the county's best wrestler.
The junior became the first county wrestler since Douglass' Chaiyana "Boomer" Black to walk off the mat at Western Maryland College as a state champion. Belcarris state championship win at 171 pounds capped an impressive 32-0 season.
Belcarris pulled off the equivalent of baseball's triple crown by winning the county, region and state titles. After pinning Crossland's Luke Novak for the county championship, Belcarris was extended to overtime in the 4A/3A South Region and state final matches by Nick Carrington of Calvert County's McDonough.
Said Oxon Hill head coach John Carpenter: "Adrian was the most dedicated and goal-oriented wrestler perhaps in the entire state this season."
In addition to sweeping the post-season championships, Belcarris finished first at the Bowie, Bishop Ireton (Va.) and South River (Anne Arundel County) Tournaments.
SeniorOne of only seven Cavalier wrestlers competing at the county championships, Anderson claimed the 160-pound title in overtime. Anderson placed fourth at the 4A/3A South Region meet.
The senior (25-9) lost twice during the season to eventual three-time state champion Tony Howard from Magruder of Montgomery County, the last coming in the opening round of the 4A/3A state meet. Anderson was also runner-up at the Patriot Classic at Northern of Calvert County.
Anderson is leaning towards attending Bowie State University next school year.
Brannon (27-9) won the county 103 championship over Douglass' Mike Topping and placed third at the 4A/3A South Region meet. Brannon, who placed fifth in his weight class at the state 4A/3A competition, also placed second at the Bowie Tournament. Brannon was fourth at the Arundel Tournament.
JuniorBowieAfter losing the county 135-pound championship to DuVal nemesis, Darrell Foster, Bray came back with a vengeance and finished second at the 4A/3A South competition that was set up by a 4-3 win over Foster in the semifinals. Bray beat Foster again a week later at the state 4A/3A meet en route to a sixth-place showing. Bray was runner-up at the Arundel Tournament and the Delmarva Classic at Wicomico High on the Eastern Shore.
Brice won the county 112 title with a 2-1 victory over Suitland's Marcus Bell, who went on to place third at the 4A-3A South Region competition. Brice was also fourth at the Bowie Tournament.
One of several DeMatha underclassmen head coach Dick Messier counted on to rise up during the past season, Crosby answered the challenge by winning the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference's 189-pound championship.
In addition, the Crosby won titles at St. Albans (D.C.), the Maryland Independent Schools, Annapolis and Berkeley Springs (West Va.) tournaments. Crosby (47-8) finished eighth at the National Prep Championships at Lehigh University.
Nicknamed "Stinky", Davis finally put things together in his senior season, winning the county and the 4A/3A South Region championship. Davis (34-3), who placed sixth at the state 4A/3A championships meet, also won the Patriot Classic title and the Bowie Tournament. He was also third at the Springbrook (Montgomery County) Tournament.
After the Stags suffered their first loss in 15 years to a WCAC opponent, the senior responded in the conference tournament with his third straight championship to lead DeMatha to its 15th straight title.
Ficker (45-11) placed first at the Maryland Catholic Tournament at Baltimore City's Archbishop Curley, and the Annapolis Tournament. He was second at Herndon (Va.) and the Maryland Independent School meets. Ficker (215) was also fourth at the Beast of the East competition in Delaware, and eighth at the National Prep Championships.
Ficker is considering Penn, Johns Hopkins and Brown Universities.
A two-time county champion, Foster capped his county career with the 135-pound title and the Murphy Award for the senior with the best record at the county meet. Foster placed third at the 4A/3A South region meet and went 2-2 at the state competition, including a 5-4 loss to Bowie's Jonas Bray, who went on to place sixth. Foster (28-4) won the Bowie Tournament title with a victory over Bray. Foster will attend the University of Oklahoma next school year.
Though the Stags had an up-and-down campaign, Gabrielson was a constant. The junior won the 145-pound title at the National Preps at Lehigh University, becoming the 21st DeMatha grappler to gain the prestigious championship. Gabrielson also won his second straight Maryland Independent Schools championship and the WCAC title as well. Gabrielson was undefeated in 27 matches at 152 pounds and 18-2 at 145 for a gaudy 45-2 mark.He took first at Herndon (Va.), Hammond (Howard County), St. Albans (D.C.), Annapolis, Maryland Independent Schools and the Maryland Catholic Tournaments.
LaurelA repeat county and region champion, Hill compiled a 31-4 record during the winter, including victories at the Bowie Tournament (160) and Patriot Classic (152). Hill pinned Suitland's Patrick Brodis for the county championship, and then rallied from a 5-2 deficit to beat Brandon Ballard of St. Mary's County's Leonardtown to win the 4A/3A South Region title.
Holmes won his second county championship with his win over Roosevelt's Brad Walker for the 189-pound title and placed third at the 4A/3A South Region. Holmes, who beat Matt Stewart of Montgomery County's Paint Branch for the Bowie Tournament title, lost to him in the opening round of the 4A/3A state meet, ended his season at 25-3. Holmes also placed second at the Lackey Tournament.
Jones picked the perfect opportunity to win his first tournament championship with his of Bowie's Jake Abeyta to win the county 140-pound title. The junior went 19-10 on the season, which ended with a loss to Justin Brittain from Calvert County's Calvert High in the 4A/3A South Region competition. During the season, Jones placed fourth at the Bowie Tournament and the Patriot Classic.
Middleton won his second consecutive county championship this winter with a victory over Suitland's Greg Mitas for the 119-pound title. Middleton (21-7), who won the 119-pound classification at the Bowie Tournament, placed fourth at the 4A/3A South Region meet.
One of five Cavaliers that reached the championship round of the county tournament, Miller (26-11) claimed the 145-pound title, and placed third at the 4A/3A South Region meet.
He also placed fourth at the Chopticon, Smithsburg Tournaments and the Patriot Classic.
After a difficult season the year before, starting with the death of his father, Reynolds regained the form that won him a county title as freshman two seasons ago. The Spartans held off DuVal's Frank Wright for the county 130 title, and then finished second at the 4A/3A South Region meet. At the state 4A/3A championships at Western Maryland College, Reynolds was the second highest county finisher (fourth).
As one of two county wrestlers to repeat as region champs, Toms captured the county championship with a 10-5 win over Bowie's Mike DiNardo. Toms defeated Bobby Jameson of Calvert County's Thomas Stone for his second 4A/3A South Region title before losing to Jake Still of Harford County's C. Milton Wright in the state meet for only his second loss of the season. Toms, who only other loss came against Dan Fitzgerald from Severna Park of Anne Arundel County, also won the Bowie and Severna Park Tournaments as well as the Patriot Classic.
103: Mike Topping, Douglass; 112: Marcus Bell, Suitland; 119: Justin Smith, McNamara and Greg Mitas, Suitland; 125: Brandon Cuffie, Central and Mike DiNardo, Bowie; 130:Frank Wright, DuVal; 135:Nick DeLonga, DeMatha; 140: Jake Abeyta, Bowie and Gopaul Shangari, Roosevelt; 145: Larry Whitehead, Oxon Hill; 152: Patrick Brodis, Suitland; 160: Josh Hubbard, Oxon Hill; 171: Tony Ayeni, Roosevelt and Luke Novak, Crossland; 189: Brad Walker, Roosevelt; Hwy.-Rohan Crawley, Douglass.