Wrestlers compete for state titles -- Gazette.Net


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Through the first two rounds of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state wrestling tournament at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House Friday, 16 Montgomery County high school wrestlers advanced to Saturday’s semifinals. Only two Prince George’s County wrestlers advanced.

Damascus, which boasts four team titles this winter, will send four wrestlers to Saturday’s semifinals: Mikey Macklin (113 pounds), Brendan Parent (120), Michael Wilkerson (126) and Johnny Fischer (160). Macklin remained perfect this season at 42-0 and is favored to win his third state championship.

“I’m glad that we got four guys coming back tomorrow, but I wish it had been a few more,” said Damascus coach John Furgeson, whose team is in contention for the state title. Team scores were not posted after Friday’s first two rounds.

Macklin is not alone among county wrestlers seeking to cap perfect seasons with a state title. Winston Churchill senior Hunter Sutton (152) is 45-0 heading into his semifinal match with Mount Hebron’s Connor Strunk. Richard Montgomery senior Thomas Fitzpatrick (220) is 44-0, as is River Hill senior Cory Daniel who he could face in the final. Quince Orchard’s Connor Tilton (285) is 35-0, but regarded as the second seed to Huntingtown senior Dalonte Holland.

Northwest sends two wrestlers into the semifinals. Dell Ngonga (106) improved to 32-3 on the season, but Northern junior Breandan Coughlin (34-0) is favored to win the bracket. Nick Davis (120) improved to 34-2 with his two victories and could face Parent in a potential all-Montgomery final.

Walt Whitman, Winston Churchill and Quince Orchard each have two wrestlers advancing. Whitman sophomore Mitch Fenton (132) is 32-3 going into his semifinal match with North Hagerstown’s Hunter Faith (38-2). Teammate Max Sessions (195) could eventually meet Sherwood senior Robby Happy (23-1) in that final. In addition to Sutton, Churchill will also be represented by senior Adama Keita (160), who is 42-3 on the season and could face the Swarmin’ Hornets’ Fischer in the final. Quince Orchard is sending Tilton and Kyle Bollinger (132), who faces Annapolis senior Stanley Proctor, who is 34-0, in the semifinals.

Springbrook senior Quy Tran (106) meets Ngonga in the semifinals. Magruder senior Andrew Barnes (126) will open with Westlake’s Cole Wenzel and could face Damascus’s Wilkerson in the final. Paint Branch senior Mitchell Zio (145) will face North Hagerstown’s Brendan Colbert (42-0) in the semifinals.

Bowie senior Shomari Stewart (170) and Eleanor Roosevelt senior Casey Wokocha (195) will be the lone Prince George’s County representatives in Saturday’s championship semifinals. County champion Parkdale did not qualify anyone for championship semifinals.

“I’m disappointed,” Parkdale coach Adam Forschner said. The Panthers were county champions. “None of our guys got through — they all lost tonight.”

Stewart (35-6) trailed Churchill’s Giulian Groce through much of their match then recorded a reversal just before the final whistle to emerge with a 5-4 decision. Stewart’s chances of reaching the championship finals will get an early test, however, when he faces La Plata senior Anthony Cable (41-0) in the semifinals. Stewart had finished fourth last weekend in the 4A/3A South Region tournament after placing third in the Prince George’s County Championships.

“That was a gutsy win by Shomari,” Bowie coach Aaron Hankey said. “He just kept fighting all the way to the last whistle.”

Wokocha (24-0), the county and region champion in his weight class, defeated Westlake’s Jason Richardson in the opener, then pinned Meade’s Segun Aboye in the quarterfinals. Wokocha will put his perfect record on the line in the semifinals against Sessions and that winner could see Happy in the final.

None of the Montgomery or Prince George’s County wrestlers who earned a berth in the 2A/1A state tournament will be competing in Saturday’s state semifinals. Poolesville, Forestville and Gwynn Park had a combined seven wrestlers in the state tournament, but none are still in contention for state titles.

tblack@gazette.net