Casey Wockocha said he just was not ready to let his championship go.
Struggling with a knee injury suffered at the Prince George's County wrestling tournament last weekend, the Eleanor Roosevelt High School senior found himself tied with Lackey's Mike Laury late in the 195-pound final in the Class 4A/3A South Region tournament Saturday night at Huntingtown High School in Southern Maryland.
Wockocha had started the match with a strong first period, but Laury methodically worked his way back to tie it at 5 late in the third period and had Wockocha on the ropes.
“It was hard for me to bridge out,” Wockocha said, referencing his banged-up knee. “I had to just do my best and bridge out. I was on my back for the first time this year.”
But with the clock ticking down with less than five seconds left in the final period, Wockocha scored the decisive point on an escape to snag a 6-5 victory.
“I wasn't going to give up my title to nobody,” the Roosevelt senior said. “I won it last year and wanted to do the same this year. I was able to get out of that and win by one with the escape.”
Wockocha's title was one of two won by Prince George's County wrestlers at the regional tournament, with Parkdale's Michael Perdormo earning the other. Perdormo defeated Leonardtown's Kayleb Forsythe, 6-4, in a hotly-contested 132-pound championship match.
Perdormo's title spurred the Panthers to a sixth-place overall finish. Parkdale accumulated 95 points to finish as the top county team at the regional tournament. Bowie came in ninth with 56 points, while Roosevelt's 47.5 points placed it 10th. Huntingtown, a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference program from Calvert County, won its first regional championship with 146 points.
In addition to Wockocha and Perdormo, three other county wrestlers reached the finals. At 182, Parkdale's LK Lyles-El was pinned at the 5 minute, 59 second mark of the third period by Lackey's Corrice Davis.
The Panthers' Kevin Thomas lost a 4-2 overtime decision to North Point's Tyler Morgan at 138 in a match that saw Morgan score the tying reversal with less than five seconds left in the third period.
And rounding out the finalists, Charles H. Flowers's Francois Scarboro was pinned by defending state champion Marty Margolis of La Plata in the first period of the 126-pound championship match.
The wrestlers will compete in the state tournament next weekend, scheduled for next Friday and Saturday at Cole Field House at the University of Maryland. For his part, Wockocha is expecting a tough week ahead.
“It's going to take more than I did this week,” he said. “This week is going to be a very hard week for me. I know my coaches are going to really push me.”
Class 4A-3A South Region tournament results
1. Huntingtown 146.5, 2. Stephen Decatur 121, 3. North Point 117, 4. La Plata 115, 5. Leonardtown 110, 6. Parkdale 95, 7. Northern 87.5, 8. Lackey 72, 9. Bowie 56, 10. Eleanor Roosevelt 47.5, 11. C.H. Flowers 34, 12. Chopticon 26.5, 13. Oxon Hill 18, 14. Dr. Henry Wise 17, 15. Thomas Stone 14, 16. J.M. Bennett 13, 17. High Point 9, 18. Northwestern 5, 19. Suitland 5
285 Holland (Ht) pinned Cross (N), 1:54
220 LaMond (N) def. Eibl (SD), 4-2
195 Wockocha (ER) def. Laury (L), 6-5
182 Davis (L) pinned Lyles-El (P), 5:59
170 Cable (LaP) def. Ramberg (Ht), 5-0
160 Drum (N) pinned Borradaile (SD), 4:26
152 Constantino (Ht) def. Vermillion (NP), 3-0
145 Bennett (SD) def. Lee (Lt), 5-0
138 Morgan (NP) def. Thomas (P), 4-2 (OT)
132 Perdormo (P) def. Forsythe (Lt), 6-4
126 Margolis (LaP) pinned Scarboro (CHF), 1:28
120 Summers (NP) def. Wood (Ht), 6-3
113 McKahan (SD) def. Arnold (C), 4-3
106 Coughlin (N) def. Butler (LaP), 8-6 (OT)