Leaps onto railings, dog piles near the mat and arms raised toward the heavens, Saturday was a good night for Montgomery County wrestlers.
Three wrestlers from the county won state titles in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association wrestling state tournament at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House.
Damascus High School sophomore Mikey Macklin (106), Bethesda-Chevy Chase senior Charlie Banaszak (138) and Northwest senior Luis Beteta (220) all won 4A/3A championships in their respective weight classes. Thomas S. Wootton’s Ralph Bernardo finished second, helping the Patriots lead all Montgomery County schools in team points with 54. Damascus had 51 and B-CC finished with 47.
Banaszak collapsed beside the mat and his teammates jumped on him in celebration. Beteta raised his arms triumphantly and later shared a moment with his parents, his father wearing Beteta’s headgear while posing for pictures. Macklin was all smiles as the media clamored to speak with him.
In the 138-pound final, Banaszak met Centennial’s star freshman Austin Kraisser. The Barons’ captain took a 3-2 lead into the second period before recording an escape to extend his lead to 4-2. He then executed a reversal to make it 6-2, but fell hard and called for injury time with 14 seconds remaining in the second period.
In the third period, his margin for error decreased significantly as Banaszak yielded an escape and then was taken down with one minute remaining to make it 6-5. Kraisser then chose neutral on a restart to make it 7-5 in favor of Banaszak. Despite the freshman’s best efforts with 10 seconds remaining, Banaszak held on for the victory on the verge of being taken down.
“I’ve been working so hard for the moment,” Banaszak said. “I knew he was extremely fast and good on top. Coming down to the end, I knew I couldn’t give up the takedown because I think he would have won if I did.”
The senior All-American finished his wrestling tenure at B-CC with a 44-2 senior season and plans to wrestle for the University of Chicago next year.
“It keeps coming to me as time goes on [that I just won a title],” said Banaszak, who plans to wrestle in an All-Star event before taking some time off to enjoy his championship.
For Damascus, which won the 4A/3A state duals title as well as county and region crowns this year, Macklin’s victory will remain the Swarmin’ Hornets’ enduring individual effort of the season. Macklin faced Mount Hebron’s Jeff Hayden in the 106-pound finals and he started slow before coming on strong.
In the second period, the sophomore surrendered a point on an escape with 50 seconds remaining before recording a takedown with 10 seconds left to take a 2-1 lead. In the third period, Macklin was on bottom and escaped for one more point. He then scored another two on a reversal with 35 seconds remaining in the third period and yielded a late escape and takedown to hang on for a 5-4 victory.
Macklin finished the year with a 45-3 record and recorded two falls and two regular decisions en route to his title.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. To do this so young, I feel great but I’m not legendary. There’s still time to make an even bigger name for myself,” Macklin said. “Who knows how long it’ll be before I feel this good again?”
After the match, Macklin jumped onto the banister that surrounds the turf at Cole Field House and hugged friends and family.
“We had a bit of a tough weekend,” Damascus coach John Furgeson said, “but I’m extremely proud of Mikey and all the kids wrestled their hearts out.”
Northwest’s Beteta entered the 220-pound finals with a 39-0 record and went against another undefeated wrestler from River Hill, Logan Kirby (36-0).
The pair worked a scoreless first period before Beteta started the second period on bottom. Kirby worked Beteta for nearly two minutes before Beteta was able to hit a reversal with two seconds remaining in the second period to take a 2-0 lead. In the third, Kirby started on bottom and recorded an escape to pull within one, but Beteta held on for the remaining 50 seconds to score a dramatic 2-1 win.
“It’s just a great feeling, having worked so hard to come out with a championship in my senior year is awesome,” Beteta said.
Beteta, also a football player, pinned all of his opponents en route to the finals match and finished the year 40-0.
Added Northwest coach Joe Vukovich: “It never fails. The kids that work the hardest win at this level and for Luis, it’s a culmination of not just this year but four years of hard work.”
In a highly-anticipated 195-pound final, Wootton’s Bernardo and River Hill’s Cory Daniel entered the match with 41-0 records. Bernardo won his previous three matches by a combined 7-2 score against stiff competition.
The pair wrestled to a scoreless first period and in the second, Daniel started on the bottom and recorded an escape with 1:35 to go. From there, the wrestlers tried to work a variety of moves to no avail as the pair went to the third with Daniel leading, 1-0.
With Daniel riding to start the third period, Bernardo recorded an escape with 1:18 on the clock to tie it at 1-1, forcing overtime.
In overtime, Daniel took Bernardo down with 12 seconds remaining to score a 3-1 victory.
“It’s hard to put a finger on it. We thought going into overtime maybe Ralph had an advantage because his biggest strength is his conditioning,” Wootton coach Kevin O’Neill said.
Bernardo completed his senior season with a 41-1 record.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Daniel, too. He didn’t wear down over time,” O’Neill said.
Northwest’s Nick Davis finished in third place at 113 after beating North Point’s Dominick Summers, 3-0. Davis reached the semifinals before losing to Hereford’s Anthony Genco, 3-1.
“I felt like I had to prove myself and I really wrestled hard these last few weeks,” Davis said. “It feels really good to finish like this.”
Wootton’s success continued beyond Bernardo as 170-pounder Stephen Potemken and 182-pounder Chen Han both captured third place. Han beat North County’s Malik Smith, 4-1, while Potemken downed Linganore’s Luke Britton, 7-4.
“For Stephen and Chen to come in and wrestle as hard as they did was a great thing to see,” O’Neill said.
Also capturing third was Quince Orchard junior Connor Tilton, who downed Mount Hebron’s Ryan Hassan, 5-0, in the 220-pound third-place match. Wrestling for six years, Tilton’s only losses of the season came to Beteta (five times) and Kirby in the semifinals.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had wrestling,” Tilton said of taking third. “I can’t wait to celebrate on Monday and eat an ice cream cake that my mom’s going to buy for me.”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase senior Jesse McNeill won his 182-pound fifth-place match and said he hopes to wrestle club next year at the University of Vermont.
“When I started [as a sophomore], and this is really cheeseing it up, I dreamed about getting my name on that wall,” he said with a big smile.
B-CC’s Will Witkop also finished in fifth place after beating Sherwood’s Chris Minor, 7-2, in a spirited match at 132.
Damascus’ Owen Brooks placed fourth at 138 after losing in the third-place match to Stanley Proctor from Annapolis while Walter Johnson’s Jamie FitzPatrick also finished in fourth, losing to Colton Rowe, 12-3, in the 152-pound third-place match.
Winston Churchill’s Matt Schleckser took fifth by beating Parkdale’s Terry Nance, 4-2, at 195.
Paint Branch’s Malik Kelly finished in sixth after losing to North Harford’s Logan Smith, 8-3, in the 160-pound weight class and Winston Churchill heavyweight Adrian Arevalo placed sixth after losing to DuVal’s Bola Adeboyku, 11-3.
4A/3A MPSSAA State Finals
at Cole Field House
106: Mikey Macklin (Damascus) d. Jeff Hayden (Mount Hebron), 5-4
113: Brant Leadbeter (Northern-Calvert) d. Anthony Genco (Hereford), 5-4
120: Marty Margolis (LaPlata) d. Morgan Way (Urbana), 2-1
126: Thierno Diallo (DuVal) d. Tanner Saluter (Thomas Stone), 7-1
132: Cameron Harrell (Broadneck) fall Mason Kilcarr (Reservoir), 0:54
138: Charlie Banaszak (Bethesda-Chevy Chase) d. Austin Kraisser (Centennial), 7-5
145: Larry Cannon (Chopticon) d. Ben Swanson (C. Milton Wright), 6-1
152: Sam Ziff (Severna Park) d. Joe Kendrick (Mt. Hebron), 7-2
160: Eric Hoffman (Northern-Calvert) d. Anthony Cable (LaPlata), 1-0
170: William Holder-Moore (Bel Air) d. Akintola Morakinyo (Wilde Lake), 7-5
182: Garret Lineberger (Thomas Stone) t.f. Mike Virnelson (Urbana), 16-0
195: Cory Daniel (River Hill) d. Ralph Bernardo (Thomas S. Wootton), 3-1 SV
220: Luis Beteta (Northwest) d. Logan Kirby (River Hill), 2-1
285: Matt Green (Perry Hall) fall Dalonte Holland (Huntingtown), 3:49
4A/3A Top 10 Team Scores:
1. Urbana, 97.50
2. River Hill, 89
3. Northern, 76
4. LaPlata, 54.50
Thomas Stone, 54.50
6. Thomas S. Wootton, 54
7. Mount Hebron, 51
10. Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 47
2A/1A MPSSAA State Finals
at Cole Field House
106: Nick Miller (Williamsport) fall Jake Rendelman (Owings Mill), 1:46
113: Tim Nordan (Catoctin) d. Naiheem Knight (Snow Hill), 9-6
120: Anthoney Savage (Oakdale) d. Chris Brown (Perryville), 7-3
126: Jaiveion Turner (Cambridge) d. Zach Smith (Kent Island), 3-2 UTB
132: Charles Perella (Catoctin) fall Adam Martz (Mountain Ridge), 4:19
138: Trayvon Wright (Pikesville) d. Matt Capobianco (Middletown), 6-5 3OT
145: Wes Cook (Winters Mill) d. Demetrius Johnson (Owings Mill), 3-1
152: Cody Sharkey (Winters Mill) m.d. Sam Willingham (South Carroll), 15-3
160: Anthony Cimorosi (Rising Sun) d. Collin Schildt (Catoctin), 8-6
170: Chase Cullison (Winters Mill) fall Eddie Merrill (North Carroll), 4:29
182: Steven Schmitz (South Carroll) d. Alex Pullen (Wicomico), 3-1
195: Matt Olauson (Queen Anne’s) d. Ridge Myers (Fallston), 8-3
220: Ryan Simonica (Oakdale) d. Ryder Cavey (Century), 6-5
285: Sean Twigg (Glenelg) d. Jake Utz (Winters Mill), 1-0
2A/1A Top 10 Team Scores:
1. Winters Mill, 121
2. Owings Mill, 87.50
3. Glenelg, 87
4. Catoctin, 85
5. Oakdale, 66
6. Oakland Mills, 62
7. South Carroll, 59
8. Kent Island, 50
9. Snow Hill, 45
10. Manchester Valley, 43.50