Heading into the overtime period of Saturday afternoon’s 120-pound wrestling bout, Damascus High School wrestler Michael Wilkerson knew that his unorthodox defensive technique would not serve him well. Urbana, which was attempting to defend its Class 4A/3A state dual meet championship, seemed to have the momentum swinging in its favor after winning three consecutive bouts. With the score tied, 5-5, Wilkerson lined up across from opponent Jimmy Allen, and remembered what he had learned in practice.
“I was really worried going into that extra period,” Wilkerson said. “[Allen] had been on the offensive the entire match, taking shots and getting double-leg [takedowns] on me, which I usually don’t let people get on me. In the practice room, we have been practicing the last 15 seconds of a match and overtime, where you have to score points to win. I have been working on that well enough that I could just pull it out there.”
Wilkerson got his takedown, and won the match by a 7-5 decision.
“That dude [Allen] was just a bulldog,” said 182-pounder Caleb Baisden. “Michael rarely shoots, so when he shot in there and got the takedown I just put my hands over my mouth — I was shocked, but it was awesome.”
Two bouts later, the top-seeded Swarmin’ Hornets clinched the third state dual meet championship in program history with a 37-28 victory over the Hawks at North Point High School.
Damascus built an early 31-0 lead by winning the first six bouts of the match. Logan Brooks (160 pounds), Michael Scafate (195) and George Vinson (220) each recorded pins, while Johnny Fischer (152) and Ari Cacopardo (170) both provided technical falls in the initial charge.
“We knew that was going to happen,” Swarmin’ Hornets coach John Furgeson said. “We knew that we were probably going to get a lot on the upper weights. The thing awesome was that the kids were getting the bonus points. So when we got to the lower weights, we didn’t come out the way we would have liked to, but then at 120 Michael Wilkerson has been doing it all year. We don’t give him a lot of credit in wrestling because his style is different than what we coach, but he has been doing that all year — coming up with some big matches at the opportune time.”
While Wilkerson’s victory did not win the match outright for Damascus, the 19 point lead put the pressure on Urbana to have to win the four remaining bouts in a decisive fashion. Two bouts later, Cody Obendorfer secured a 9-5 decision over Brian Dailey, and the Swarmin’ Hornets capped off an undefeated 18-0 season by claiming their first dual meet crown since 1999.
“These guys have been doing it all year, and we’re going to try to get them to keep going after the bonus points,” Furgeson said. “That is going to help us in the end of the year tournaments [Montgomery County Championships, 4A/3A West Region Championships, and Maryland State Championships].”
Damascus rolled through North Point (Charles County) in the semifinals by a score of 33-30. The Swarmin’ Hornets build an insurmountable 33-12 advantage before forfeiting the final three bouts to keep their wrestlers fresh for the finals. Andrew Nickell (285) was ejected from the tournament after losing his semifinal bout, which prevented him from appearing in the final round.
The Hawks (16-2) came up short in their bid to repeat as state dual champions despite strong showings by several individual performers.
Nick Keller (285), Jake Makosy (106) and Tyler Makosy (113) won three consecutive bouts to give Urbana a glimmer of hope in the middle of the match. Keller pinned his opponent in just 35 seconds, and Tyler Makosy needed just 1 minute, 39 seconds to earn the fall in his bout. Jake Makosy gutted-out a 7-4 decision over Mikey Macklin. Nick Frank (138) also supplied a fall in just 47 seconds time, and Morgan Way added a major decision at 126 pounds.
“We went into it and I knew it was going to be a battle,” Urbana coach Ben Arneson said. “We didn’t get to start where I would have chosen to start, but that’s what happens and you have to deal with the cards that you’re dealt. The kids went out and they tried and the fought and they did the best that they could. ... None of them quit today, and that is what I’ve always told them, ‘Win or lose, it’s about not quitting on yourself or the team.’ We have guys with a lot of heart, but they haven’t been in the room long enough to pull something like this off. Throughout the year our heart has carried us to this point, and I’m not upset with that, I’m really happy with it.“
Urbana defeated South River (Anne Arundel) in the semifinals, winning five of the last six bouts to overcome a 16-point deficit and post a 38-28 victory. Dailey (132) pinned Jordan Orme in just 17 seconds to put the Hawks into the lead for good on the penultimate bout. Jake Makosy also supplied a pin during the comeback, while Keller and Tyler Makosy each posted major decisions.
The Hawks will get back to work at practice on Monday to prepare for the Frederick County Championships, which are scheduled for Feb 15-16 at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School. After that, it will be on to the 4A/3A North Region Championships and Maryland State Championships.
Arneson believes his team can regroup and use this loss as motivation to drive them toward success on the biggest stage — the state tournament.
“When we started this season, my goal for the team wasn’t here,” he said. “It didn’t stop here, it didn’t start here. It was that I wanted to win at [University of Maryland’s] Cole Field House, and be the first team in Frederick County history to do it. I want to be able to pull that state title down there. That is what we have worked for, and that is what I think the boys are prepped and ready for.”
Class 4A/3A state dual meet tournament
Damascus 37, Urbana 28
152: Johnny Fischer (D) t.f. J.T. Freeze, 16-0
160: Logan Brooks (D) f. Luke Mills, 1:42
170: Ari Cacopardo (D) t.f. Sean Maginnis, 17-0
182: Caleb Baisden (D) d. Mike Virnelson, 6-3
195: Michael Scafate (D) f. Peter Fotopoulous, 1:23
220: George Vinson (D) f. Andreas Silva, 0:46
285: Nick Keller (U) f. Lane Huntt, 0:46
106: Jake Makosy (U) d. Mikey Macklin, 7-4
113: Tyler Makosy (U) f. David Creegan, 1:39
120: Michael Wilkerson (D) d. Jimmy Allen, 7-5 (OT)
126: Morgan Way (U) m.d. Brandon Barnhard, 15-4
132: Cory Obendorfer (D) d. Brian Dailey, 9-5
138: Nick Frank (U) f. Owen Brooks, 0:47
145: Parker Mellott (U) d. Jack Creegan, 7-4
Urbana 38, South River 28
145: Tre Puccinelli (SR) d. Parker Mellott, 4-2
152: J.T. Freeze (U) d. Baruch Talbott, 9-8
160: Branden Norris (SR) f. Luke Mills, 3:00
170: Ryan Walker (SR) m.d. Sean Maginnis, 16-7
182: Mike Virnelson (U) f. Brian Mahoney, 1:14
195: Jason Raines (SR) f. Peter Fotopoulous, 3:36
220: Anthony Rossi (SR) f. Andreas Silva, 3:48
285: Nick Keller (U) maj. d. Patrick Russo
106: Jake Makosy (U) f. Martin Fowler, 0:54
113: Tyler Makosy (U) m.d. John Owens, 11-1
120: Jimmy Allen (U) d. Joe Coyle, 12-10
126: Austin Alley (SR) d. Morgan Way, 8-7
132: Brian Dailey (U) f. Jordan Orme, 0:17
138: Nick Frank (U) d. Collin Alley, 7-0.
Damascus 33, North Point 30
145: Tajik Holloman (NP) d. Jack Creegan, 5-2
152: Johnny Fischer (D) f. Marquis White, 3:01
160: Logan Brooks (D) d. Andrew Lohr, 6-3
170: Collin Schirf (NP) d. Ari Cacopardo, 5-0
182: Caleb Baisden (D) f. Chris Simms, 2:37
195: Michael Scafate (D) f. Justin Onuwuegbu-Guy, 1:20
220: George Vinson (D) f. DaMarcus Coleman, 1:21
285: Travis Bonds (NP) f. Andrew Nickell, 6-4
106: David Creegan (D) f. Sam Woodburn, 5:02
113: Dominique Summers (NP) d. Mikey Macklin, 2-0
120: Michael Wilkerson (D) d. Kyle Gascon, 7-6
126: Malachi Edmond (NP) w.b.f.
132: Nick Cutter (NP) w.b.f.
138: Tyler Morgan (NP) w.b.f.