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Panthers win Chopticon dual tournament
By JAMES A. McCRAY III
The objective of every wrestler during the Chopticon Braves Duals Wrestling Tournament on Saturday was to get to 4-0.
With four dual matches, four individual matches, getting to 4-0 was the mission.
If you got to 4-0 and a couple of your teammates got to 4-0, then your team had a good chance to go to 4-0 and capture the tournament trophy.
The tournament featuring the Patuxent Panthers, Westlake Wolverines, McDonough Rams, Great Mills Hornets and host Braves eventually did end with one team being 4-0 and walking away with the trophy, Patuxent.
Panthers wrestlers Andrew Hall, Connor Furst, Mitch Lake, Jestin Baca, Eric Walsh and Matthew Gancayco each wrestled to 4-0 records and Phil Waugh added a 3-0 individual record in earning the tournament title.
“For the team, it gives us confidence that we can perform,” Gancayco said of the tournament win. “Our first [regular season] match, we lost [to Northern], so we were a little low. But now, this tournament brought us up again. So, we are looking forward to our match against North Point [played Tuesday evening, too late for inclusion into this edition].”
Gancayco wrestled up from his normal weight class of 170 pounds at times on Saturday, but still managed to walk away unblemished.
“I was impressed that we were able to, I wouldn’t say dominate, but we were able to get all the wins even with us giving up a couple of forfeits,” Gancayco said. “We were able to get the pins where we needed to and everything in practice worked out on the mat.”
Wrestling at 138, Furst walked away with his 4-0 performance.
“I went out confident,” Furst said of the key to his success. “Usually I go out nervous, but today I didn’t. … You go out practice and try hard, and then come out on the mat, you get pumped.”
Both Patuxent and Chopticon entered the final round contest against each other with 3-0 records, but it was Patuxent escaping with a 53-30 victory over the hosts to win the title.
The Braves, finishing the tournament with a 3-1 record as a team, had two wrestlers finish with 4-0 records in Jarrett Arnold and Tim Sullivan.
“I attacked,” Arnold said of his success. “I attacked really well. … I was impressed at how aggressive I was and that’s how I started this year out. I got on the mat and did my thing.”
As a team, Arnold added that the confidence is good and that, “Hard work is going to make this team good.”
Great Mills was three points away from upsetting county foe Chopticon, dropping its Saturday contest to the Braves, 39-37, but finished the day 2-2 overall.
The Hornets picked up victories over McDonough and Westlake.
Jacob Garrison of the Hornets was able to go 4-0 in his matches at 160, all wins via pinfall.
“I had my head in my matches the entire time,” Garrison said. “I was not thinking about anything else. I just tried to go out there and do what I do; win.”
McDonough, which finished 1-3 on Saturday, picked up a 50-30 win over Westlake on Saturday as senior 220-pounder Colin Rooney led the way, wrestling to a 4-0 record. Rooney has his sights set on a bigger goal this season.
“[Confidence] is up there because I am trying to become a state champion; the next one to walk the halls of McDonough,” Rooney admitted.
On his Saturday performance, he added, “I just kept @ it. My heart was there and the encouragement from my teammates cheering me on is what got me through it.”
Westlake finished the tournament 0-4. However, Brandon Logan was able to get four wins, one via forfeit, on Saturday.
“It went pretty good, actually,” Logan said. “It all went my way and I just gave it my all. … I have wrestled before, so I have past experience, so I just used experience from there, here.”