This week’s wrestling notebook is focused on previewing this weekend’s City and County tournaments from around the Baltimore metro area.

ACCE star rookie not yet ready for the mat

When the Baltimore City tournament begins today at Poly, Academy of College Career Exploration (ACCE) coach John Fitzpatrick will leave the coaching to his assistant.

That’s because Fitzpatrick didn’t get a lot of sleep last night given that his wife, Bridget, gave birth to their first child, Claire, at 11:15 p.m.

“Her weight class is currently 6 pounds, five ounces,” Fitzpatrick said. “She’s a potential state champion in 2037.”

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In the meantime, the Eagles’ have No. 1 seeds in junior Camryn Carter (152) with a record of 27-3, and Rakim Peacock (145) is 18-2. The Eagles went 11-3 and were the regional runners-up, falling to eventual Class 1A state dual champion South Carroll.

Senior Sorensen Wynn (160) of host Poly appears to be the top consideration from Baltimore City, whose defending tournament champion is Dunbar.

A returning city and Class 3A North regional champion and sixth place finisher in the Class 2A-1A state tournament, Wynn is 23-2 this year.

Wynn is guided by 23rd-year coach Wavie Gibson, a former state champion at Mardela High on the Eastern Shore.

Gibson coached five city championship teams at Walbrook through 1994, and 10 at Poly, the last in 2017.

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Pointers enter Baltimore County Tournament with six No. 1 seeds

Sparrows Point has six wrestlers who are seeded No. 1 entering this weekend’s Baltimore County Tournament at Dundalk High, where the Pointers will pursue their fifth title in six seasons, having fallen by half a point to Owings Mills in 2019.

County champions in sophomores Christian Manley (113) and Russell Fary (145) and senior Hunter Petrovia (285), as well as senior Class 2A-1A state champion Dom Abrosino (120), senior Damon Nelson (182) and senior DeAndre Duvall (220) are all top seeds for the 13th-ranked Pointers (18-1), who also have a second seed in junior county runner-up Tanner Cooper (152).

Manley, Fary, Cooper and Petrovia are returning regional champions, Ambrosino was a runner-up, and Duvall was fourth at regions.

Sparrows Point's Dom Ambrosino pins previously unbeaten Landen Harbaugh of Williamsport to win last year's 120-pound Class 2A-1A state title and complete a 16-2 championship season. (Photo courtesy of Dom Ambrosino)

Nelson is 43-1, Ambrosino has a record of 42-2, Fary is 40-2, Petrovia is 41-3, Duvall, 35-6, and Manley, 37-7.

The No 2 seed behind Manley is Perry Hall freshman Justin Kavanagh, who is 37-0.

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“I am excited to see where we stack up in the county. I was very excited to get six top seeds and a second seed,” said 18th-year coach Mike Whisner. “We have not seen many county schools this year and there were zero county schools in any of the tournaments we were in.”

The Pointers have won six straight regional dual meet crowns, seven of the past eight, and have been state dual meet runners-up five times.

Among this year’s major dual meet triumphs for the Pointers were those at last month’s Iron Horse Duals at C. Milton Wright High School against Steven Decatur of Berlin as well as South River of Anne Arundel County.

South River earned its Class 4A state dual meet title last weekend, and Stephen Decatur bounced back to defeat the Pointers, 49-18, for their second straight Class 2A state dual meet crown.

“It was a little frustrating to know that we beat both Stephen Decatur this year,” Whisner said. “They came back and won state titles, but it shows that we’re right there with the top teams in the state.”

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Hereford’s top seeded senior Owen Bell (126) is 32-0 and a two-time county and regional champion who placed fourth at the Class 2A-1A state tournament last year.

“There will be some tough competition in the county and our region that I’ll have to deal with if I’m going to repeat,” Bell said. “I do feel good heading into the postseason. All I can do is wrestle hard and keep working hard on and off of the mat.”

Top seeded Owings Mills senior Amondre Wooden (152) is 31-1, having gone 40-6 as a 132-pound freshman and earned a county title before being a Class 2A-1A North Regional runner-up and finishing third at the Class 2A-1A state tournament.

A 150-pound Wooden was on a similar path last year at 16-0 with all pins and technical falls before being declared academically ineligible and having to miss the remainder of his junior season.

Wooden’s situation was particularly painful given that Maryland high schools forfeited their 2020-2021 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Other top seeds are Eastern Tech senior Clayton Dicus (106) who is 27-1, Catonsville junior Toby Eveleth (120) who is 27-2, Pikesville senior Kiah Noble (138) who is 14-1, Franklin senior Justin Signor (160) who is 35-4, Randallstown senior Kasim Bahar (170) who is 26-4, and Parkville junior Donnell Dawkins (195) who is 29-2.

Eveleth was a county runner-up and regional champion last year, Noble was third in the county, and Dicus, Signor, Bahar and Dawkins were fourth.

Cavaliers Conquering Carroll County

Returning senior two-time Class 2A-1A state champions Gage Owen (138), Mike Pizzuto (145) and A.J. Rodrigues (160), and senior state runner-up Rylan Moose (182) of South Carroll are top seeds in pursuit of their third straight Carroll County titles at Westminster this weekend.

Other top seeds for the Cavaliers are sophomores Evan Owen (113) and Manny Rodrigues (195) and freshmen Grayson Barnhill (106) and Joseph Gigliotti (120) and sophomore Manny Rodrigues (195).

Gage Owen is unbeaten at 39-0, AJ Rodrigues, Moose and Gigliotti are 39-2, Pizzuto is 37-3, Manny Rodrigues is 35-3, and Evan Owen, 37-4.

Evan Owen was fourth at states last year and Gigliotti is a former four-time junior league state champ.

(From left) South Carroll senior wrestlers – state runner-up Rylan Moose and state champs A.J. Rodriguez, Gage Owen and Mike Pizzuto
(From left) South Carroll senior wrestlers – state runner-up Rylan Moose and state champs A.J. Rodriguez, Gage Owen and Mike Pizzuto (Photo courtesy of Dalin Rodriguez)

Ranked third, the Cavaliers (33-1) won their second straight Class 1A state dual meet title last week, 46-30, over the Northern-Garrett County Huskies (25-1).

The victory was the seventh straight for the Cavaliers following a 36-25 loss on Feb. 2 to visiting top-ranked private school power Mount St. Joseph (9-0), which came from behind to end the Cavaliers’ winning streak at 61 consecutive matches.

The Cavaliers were Class 2A-1A state tournament champions in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 before the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association ceased scoring the state tournament in 2018.

Top seeds for Manchester Valley are the returning county champion Boog siblings in senior Class 2A-1A state champion Jake (170), who is 41-2, and sophomore Cru (220), who is 38-2.

The Boogs’ senior teammate, Travis Green (152), is also a top-seeded returning county champion who was third in last year’s state tournament and has a record of 43-0.

Fourth-place state finishing sophomore Dylan Ohler (132) of Liberty is 29-4 and looking to win his second straight county title.

No. 1 seeded Winters Mill sophomore Chris Gaeng (126) is a returning county runner-up with a record of 22-2 and was sixth at states last year.

Westminster senior Randy Green (285) is a top seeded returning county runner-up with a record of 39-1.

Seahawks Soaring

Seniors Alex Szkotnicki (113), Sam Ditmars (145) and Aidan Healey (195) are seeded No. 1 for South River, as is are freshman Trent Shipley (106) and sophomore Busayo Balugon (220) entering this weekend’s Anne Arundel County Tournament at Broadneck.

Bound for the Naval Academy, Ditmars has a record of 42-1 and is a returning county champion as well as a runner-up at the regional and Class 4A-3A state tournaments.

Ditmars should receive a stiff challenge from Annapolis senior Nik Antonelli, against whom he is 6-0, lifetime. A returning third place finisher at the Class 4A-3A states, Antonelli was a regional runner-up to Ditmars last season and has lost to him twice this year, by, 5-2, and, 4-3.

Healey is a returning county runner-up with a record of 41-3, and both Shipley and Szkotnicki have records of 39-5.

Szkotnicki is 12-0 against county rivals with six pins, a technical fall and two major decisions. She also has 27 pins on the year as she looks to become only the county’s second female to earn a county and regional title.

In 2007, Arundel High senior Nicole Woody (103) made more history by becoming Maryland’s first girl to win an Anne Arundel County and regional title and to finish as a Class 4A-3A state runner-up.

Szkotnicki was two years old when Montgomery County freshman Helen Maroulis made an impact in March 2006, becoming the first girl to place at the Maryland wrestling championships with a sixth place finish at 112 pounds in the 4A-3A state tournament.

As a Magruder junior in 2009, Maroulis became the first female to reach the finals of both the Montgomery County and Class 4A-3A East Region tournaments and repeated her sixth-place finish at states.

Considered a top contender for the Class 4A-3A state tournament, Szkotnicki is ranked second at 113 in the division behind top-ranked sophomore Drew Montgomery of Northern-Calvert County is a returning regional champion and Class 4A-3A state runner-up who went 44-1 last season.

"She's become a leader in our program with her daily commitment and work ethic," South River coach John Klessinger said of 113-pound senior Alex Szkotnicki (top), who could become the second female to win an Anne Arundel County at Broadneck on Feb. 17-18. (Crystal Shipley)

The Seahawks, under 23rd-year coach John Klessiner, are looking to dethrone the Chesapeake Cougars in pursuit of their sixth county tournament title.

Top seeds for the Cougars are senior county champion Dylan Ritter (126) and sophomore Delmar White (285), the latter of whom placed third at counties last year.

Ritter is 33-4, having been a regional runner-up and placed fifth finisher at states. White is 35-0, having also been a regional runner-up and finished sixth at states.

Top seeds for the host Bruins are senior county and state runner-up Liam DeBaugh (160) and seniors Ben Durkin (138) and Jake Chambers (182). DeBaugh is 34-1, Durkin is 37-3, and Chambers, 34-5.

Old Mill has a pair of top seeds in senior returning fourth-place county finisher Bryan Arevalo (152) and senior third-place county placer Logan Cookerly (170). Arevalo was sixth at states and is 36-3, and Cookerly is 34-2.

Annapolis has a top seed in returning fourth-place county finisher Davis Ruhf (132) who is 33-5 on the year, as does Severna Park in Michael Queen (120) who is 35-3.

Grappling Gladiators

Senior class 2A-1A state runner-up Ethan Sotka (160), freshman Phil Key (106), Jonathan Sexton (113) and Travis Goodwin (285) are the top seeds for host and defending Howard County Tournament champion Glenelg, which is after its sixth title in the past seven years.

A defending county and regional title winner, Sotka continues a family legacy of champions with the Gladiators. Elder sibling Max Sotka (170) was a Class 2A-1A state champion in 2018, and Drew Sotka was a two-time Class 2A-1A state title titlist, winning at 170 pounds in 2019 and at 182 pounds in 2020.

Gladiators’ coach Matt Bichner was a Class 2A-1A state champion for the Gladiators at 160 pounds in 2006, as was his younger brother, Danny, in 2008 at 135 pounds.

Sophomore class 4A-3A state champion Calvin Kraisser shares a No. 1 with teammate Tristan Yee (195), and is the last in another family legacy that has produced 13 individual state titles for the Eagles.

Calivn’s coach and father Cliff Kraisser was a state champion for the Eagles in 1983, elder brother Nathan earned four each in county, regional and state crowns before graduating in 2012, Austin won four each in county and regional crowns as well as three state titles in four championship births through 2016, and Jason graduated in 2019 with four each in county, region and state titles.

Hammond has a pair of No. 1 seeds in William Terry (126) and Joseph Munyaneza (145), the latter of whom was a county runner-up last season.

Marriotts Ridge also has two No. 1 seeds in returning county runners-up Atley Turner (132) and Tyler Bury (152). Turner placed fourth at states last year, and Bury, fifth.

Top seeded senior Dylan McCullough (170) of River Hill is a returning county and regional champion who lost his Class 4A-3A state title bout, 7-6, to Churchill of Montgomery County senior Jaden Selby.

McCullough has a record of 39-1 this year after having finished at 34-1 last season. McCullough has split bouts with Manchester Valley senior Class 2A-1A state champion Jake Boog, losing the first meeting, 7-5, before taking the second in overtime, 8-6.

River Hill's Dylan McCullough nails down one of his 31 pins amid his 35-1 record at 170-pounds this season. McCullogh has split bouts with Manchester Valley's Jake Boog, winner of last year's 152-pound Class 2A-1A state title. (Natalie McCullough)

Reservoir has a No. 1 seed in Andrew Dolezel (120), a returning county runner-up and third place finisher at states last season. Mount Hebron’s top-seeded Samuel Jordan (220) placed third at counties and sixth at states last year, and Oakland Mills’ Brighton Barker (182) looks to improve on last year’s second place finish at counties.

Can Cobras’ Climb Mountain?

Harford Tech faces an uphill climb entering this weekend’s defense of their Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Tournament (UCBAC) crown at Edgewood given the Cobras have no top seeded entries.

Senior returning UCBAC runner-up Logan Barkey (126), junior Wesley Outlaw (152) and both seniors Gavin Thompson (195) and Gavin Lawson (220) are all No. 2 seeds. Barkey was a conference runner-up, while Outlaw and Thompson placed fourth.

“This year’s tournament for us is simply a testament to our resilience. We’re not looking to prove anything to anyone but ourselves. Our mindset is geared toward becoming the best us and constantly improving. Nothing else,” said 14th-year coach JaJuan Burrell.

“Despite what some may think about last year’s tournament, we went out and put 13 out of 14 guys on the podium and earned a team title. This year, we’ve gotta go earn it again as a collective unit. This time, we’ll have to do it without a single No. 1 seed.”

The Cobras have won the past two Class 1A East Region dual meet crowns. At last month’s Tomahawk Duals at Havre de Grace High, the Cobras earned Burrell’s 100th career dual meet victory with a 63-14 victory over Parkville.

“It will be interesting to see how this year’s tournament pans out. Obviously, there’s supposed to be some weight on our shoulders because we’re the defending champs looking to repeat,” said Burrell, whose career dual meet record is 111-54. “But we’re not coming into the tournament with that mindset. Despite our successes, we’ve dealt with a ton of adversity this year. That’s especially true of injuries and things outside of our control.”

Rising Sun is powered by top seeds in junior Tyler Garvin (113), sophomore Xzavier Brown (120), freshman Zach Garvin (138), junior Mason Testerman (182 ) and sophomore Elijah Farr (195). Garvin is ranked No. 14 in the country by SBLive Sports.

Tyler Garvin is 39-0, Testerman is 33-2, and Farr is 37-3, with all three of them being defending UCBAC champions. Testerman was third at states and Farr was fifth. Brown is 37-4 and Zach Garvin, 36-4.

Tyler Garvin ended last year’s 43-0 season by handling Northern-Garrett’s Nate Wilhelm by a 16-2 major decision for the 106-pound Class 2A-1A state title. Tyler’s father, Luke, was a 103-pound Class 2A-1A state champ in 1996 and was a runner-up at 112 pounds in 1997. Tyler’s uncle, Seth, was third at 112 pounds in 1995. Luke and Seth both wrestled at Rising Sun

Top seeds for Bel Air are junior returning UCBAC runner-up Chris Nice (132) and seniors Manny Lucas (145) and Savion Ricketts (170). Nice was sixth at states last year and has a 39-0 record.

C. Milton Wright has a pair of top seeds in sophomore Kane Desch (106) and senior Brody Zumbano (152). Desch was an UCBAC runner-up last year while Zumbano finished third.

North Harford’s top seeded senior Clay Lawrence (285) is a defending UCBAC champion with a record of 35-1, Perryville senior Kyler Brown (126) is a No. 1 seed with a record of 28-3, and North East senior Kameron Schank (160) is another top seed. Brown and Schank were third at UCBACs last year.

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