For as much as Parkdale High School’s wrestling program has improved during the past two years under the direction of Adam Forschner, there’s little that could have prepared the Panthers for their humbling experience at Damascus High School on Wednesday night.
A brand new dark green mat sat in the middle of the gymnasium, brandishing the Swarmin’ Hornets’ logo. Perfectly-aligned chairs, also featuring Damascus’ logo, flanked both sides of the mat, and the scoreboard already was lit, displaying a digital record of every weight class. Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” played as Damascus entered the gym to warm up, and the school’s cheerleaders riled up the buzzing crowd.
As if that wasn’t intimidating enough an atmosphere for last year’s Prince George’s County champions, there was the weigh-in.
“Those guys all have scratches on their stomachs. They have three scratches. One represents God, one represents family and one represents Damascus wrestling,” Forschner said. “Do you know how intimidating that is walking into a weigh-in and everybody’s got the same scratches? We don’t see stuff like that were we are.”
They also don’t see things like a 62-12 loss, which is what happened Wednesday as the Hornets (3-0) recorded eight falls and lost only three matches in the runaway victory.
“I was very excited. I was expecting a real good battle. It was a good battle,” Damascus coach John Furgeson said. “I went to the Mad Mats and watched them wrestle there and I was nervous. We saw some things we could try to take advantage of, and we were able to do that in some cases.”
Hornets 138-pounder Owen Brooks set the tone by pinning Michael Perdomo in the opening match. Brooks lost to Perdomo by five points when the two met in a summer league match, so he was eager at a chance for revenge.
“He beat me during the summer, so I was pretty nervous coming into this match,” Brooks said. “I was winning, but he came back and beat me last time.”
Damascus’ heavyweight Andrew Nickell recorded the quickest fall of the night, pinning Parkdale’s Thomas Velez in 31 seconds while Parkdale lightweight DeShawn Taylor edged David Creegan, 8-7, in what was arguably the most exciting match of the evening. Damascus was simply stronger and more technically superior throughout the night as many of Parkdale’s wrestlers struggled to execute the moves they wanted.
The Panthers (1-1), however, made the trip without their starting 152 and 182 pounders. Still, Forschner didn’t want to use that as an excuse. He also realized that by creating a more difficult schedule for a squad that went 14-0 a year ago, days like this would happen.
“They went out a little nervous, I think. It was a big intimidation factor,” he said. “This year wasn’t about going undefeated. This year was about going out and seeing what we could do.”
Damascus 62, Parkdale 12
138: Owen Brooks (D) fall Michael Perdomo (P), 4:38
145: Kevin Thomas (P) fall Jack Berman (D), 3:35
152: Johnny Fischer (D) fall Manuel Blanco (P), 0:53
160: Logan Brooks (D) fall Ray Jones (P), 4:50
170: Ari Cacopardo (D) fall Eric Harvell (P), 2:50
182: Caleb Baisden (D) maj. d. L.K. Lyles-El (P), 12-1
195: Terry Nance (P) d. Michael Scafate (D), 6-4
220: George Vinson (D) fall Macred Gbenerro (P), 2:27
285: Andrew Nickell (D) fall Thomas Velez (P), 0:31
106: DeShawn Taylor (P) d. David Creegan (D), 8-7
113: Mikey Macklin (D) fall by forfeit
120: Michael Wilkerson (D) fall Marquell Scott (P), 5:23
126: Brandon Barnhart (D) fall Fatai Williams (P), 3:23
132: Cory Obendorfer (D) maj. d. Edwin Parada (P), 19-5