WALDORF – A 2001 graduate of South Carroll, Bryan Hamper was twice a state champion and twice a fourth-place finisher at states.
Hamper later coached his alma mater to Class 2A-1A state tournament titles in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 before the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association ceased scoring the state tournament in 2018.
With that perspective, Hamper didn’t mince words at the season’s outset when he called this year’s Cavaliers’ squad “one of the most talented returning teams I’ve ever seen in the state of Maryland.”
The No. 3 Cavaliers drove home Hamper’s point on Saturday at North Point High School in Waldorf, winning their second straight Class 1A state dual meet crown in dominant fashion, 46-30, over the Northern-Garrett County Huskies (25-1).
South Carroll (33-1) earned its seventh straight dual meet victory 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 have been “laser-focused,” and “battle-tested” after having “wrestled one highly-ranked team after another” according to coach Anthony Winfield, a 2005 South Carroll graduate.
“We’ve had state champions like Cam Hobin winning it twice, my brother, Andrew, won states once, Tim Furgeson won it once,” said Winfield, whose Cavaliers won their semifinal, 64-12, over the Harford Tech Cobras.
“Tyler Mullen was an undefeated champ. Zac Stavish won states. But we didn’t have the national-level talent that we have on this team. This is something to be really proud of. The way we’re wrestling right now, I think we’re peaking at the right time.”
The Cavaliers beat a Huskies squad whose semifinal, 74-3, victory over Lackey of Charles County totaled 11 pins and major decisions of 8-0, and 9-0.
Senior two-time state champions Gage Owen (152) and AJ Rodrigues (170) were among eight double-winners for the Cavaliers, with Owens improving to 37-0 on first- and second-period falls against Northern-Garrett and Harford Tech, respectively.
Rodrigues spent even less time on the mat than Owen, finishing his Huskies rival in 52 seconds after decking his Cobras’ opponent in 19 seconds. Rodrigues improved to 37-2.
“We didn’t like losing to St. Joe, but we took everything out on two other teams by beating both of them 72-0 in the regionals,” said AJ Rodrigues, referring to the Cavaliers’ Class 1A North Region opponents.
“This is a great memory for me after I went undefeated and won states last year. Doing what we’ve done this year against the toughest schedule of any public school in the state, other teams, this is a great moment for our team.”
Senior state runner-up Rylan Moose and sophomore Manny Rodrigues split time at 182 and 195 pounds. Moose earned a 43-second fall at 195 pounds against the Huskies following a 15-0 technical fall at 182 against the Cobras.
Manny, AJ’s younger brother, earned a fall against the Huskies at 182 after receiving a forfeit from the Cobras at 195.
“First match I scored 13 points in the first period and two more in the second to get the technical fall. Second match was 43 seconds long and I pinned the kid in a cradle,” said Moose, who improved to 37-2.
“I felt good that I was able to keep the momentum going into the second match, but now it’s time for the final three tournaments of the year. I’ve never won a state title ever, and I’ve been working hard, and I want it to pay off with a state championship.”
Cavaliers’ freshman Jo Jo Gigliotti (126) improved his record to 38-2, getting a 61-second fall against the Huskies after receiving a forfeit from the Cobras.
“I kind of knew I was going to get a forfeit in the first match, which was a bummer,” said Gigliotti, a four-time junior league state champion. “I’m going to continue working hard over the next three weeks to win a state title.”
Freshman Anthony Rodrigues (160) earned a third-period pin and a 10-2 major decision over the Huskies and the Cobras, respectively.
“I’m working out with so many good wrestlers,” said Rodrigues, a one-time state junior league state champion and three-time finalist. “I’ve improved a lot, and if that continues, I feel like I might be able to win states.”
Also winning twice were freshman Grayson Barnhill (106) and sophomore Evan Owen (120). Barnhill won his 27th and 28th matches of the year with falls in 24 and 83 seconds, and Owen rose to 37-4 with a 74-second pin and a 9-1 major decision.
Cavaliers’ senior Mike Pizzuto (138) lost a clash of returning two-time state champions to Huskies’ senior Jacob Brenneman, whose third-period reversal overcame a 1-0 deficit for a 2-1 victory.
“It was a six-minute battle,” Brenneman said. “I’m not surprised.”
Ranked No. 23, nationally, by Scorebook Live, Brenneman improved to 32-0 on the year and 115-3 for his career. Pizzuto is 36-3 on the year and 138-3 for his career. a 15-3 major decision against Harford Tech.
“I dropped down to face [Brenneman] and it was a good match,” Pizzuto said. “We felt each other out for the first period, but he ended up getting the better of me.”
The Cavaliers are now focused on the final three weeks of the season and the county, regional and state tournaments, where Pizzuto will compete at 145 pounds.
“We came out to prove a point that we’re definitely the best team in the state for public schools,” Pizzuto said. “Bouncing back with a big win was very important for us. I did what I had to do for the team and we got the win.”
Class 1A state dual championship
South Carroll 46, Northern-Garrett 30
106 Grayson Barnhill (South Carroll) over Mathew Beitzel (Northern-G) Fall 1:23
113 Nate Wilhelm (Northern-G) over Isabella Garity (South Carroll) Fall 1:17
120 Evan Owen (South Carroll) over Devin Opel (Northern-G) Maj 9-1
126 Joseph Gigliotti (South Carroll) over Landon Yoder (Northern-G) Fall 1:01
132 Austin Ravenscraft (Northern-G) over Angelo Marchany (South Carroll) Dec 4-2
138 Jacob Brenneman (Northern-G) over Michael Pizzuto (South Carroll) Dec 2-1
145 Caleb Brenneman (Northern-G) over Kaden Cyrus (South Carroll) Fall 0:46
152 Gage Owen (South Carroll) over Jared Graham (Northern-G) Fall 1:55
160 Anthony Rodrigues (South Carroll) over Nick Riley (Northern-G) Fall 4:38
170 AJ Rodrigues (South Carroll) over Billy Durst (Northern-G) Fall 0:52
182 Manny Rodrigues (South Carroll) over Jayden Fike (Northern-G) Fall 2:51
195 Rylan Moose (South Carroll) over Joe Burris (Northern-G) Fall 0:43
220 Scott Beitzel (Northern-G) over Janero Marchany (South Carroll) Fall 1:16
285 Jake Beeman (Northern-G) over Decklen Logan (South Carroll) Fall 4:13
Class 1A state dual semifinal
South Carroll 64, Harford Tech 12
285 Decklen Logan (South Carroll) over Gavin Lawson (Harford Tech) Fall 0:26
106 Grayson Barnhill (South Carroll) over Damon Boniface (Harford Tech) Fall 0:24
113 Zaden Tablan (Harford Tech) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
120 Evan Owen (South Carroll) over Christian Donlick (Harford Tech) Fall 1:14
126 Joseph Gigliotti (South Carroll) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
132 Angelo Marchany (South Carroll) over Logan Barkey (Harford Tech) Dec 3-2
138 Nikolai Chervak (Harford Tech) over Kaden Cyrus (South Carroll) Fall 1:02
145 Michael Pizzuto (South Carroll) over Ryan Sewell (Harford Tech) Maj 15-3
152 Gage Owen (South Carroll) over Aidan Sullivan (Harford Tech) Fall 2:46
160 Anthony Rodrigues (South Carroll) over Brian Vickers (Harford Tech) Maj 10-2
170 AJ Rodrigues (South Carroll) over Alex Hallameyer (Harford Tech) Fall 0:19
182 Rylan Moose (South Carroll) over Jack Ryder (Harford Tech) TF 15-0 0
195 Manny Rodrigues (South Carroll) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf 0
220 Janero Marchany (South Carroll) over Spiros Nikitaras (Harford Tech) Fall 1:04
Class 3A State Wrestling Duals Championship
No. 9 Stephen Decatur 49, No. 13 Sparrows Point 18
Logan Intrieri’s 11-5 decision over fifth-ranked Class 2A-1A state champion Dom Abrosino at 132 pounds keyed the victory as the Seahawks (18-0) of Berlin won their second straight crown over the Pointers (17-1), and fourth in a row.
Top-ranked Damon Nelson (182) received a forfeit and was the only double winner for the Pointers, who reached the title match following a 42-33 victory over LaPlata (13-4) of Charles County.
Against LaPlata, the Pointers received pins from Nelson, Abrosino (132), Gabe Dorsey (120), Jack Rassmusen (138) and DeAndre Duvall (220), a technical fall from Christian Manley (126), a major decision from Chris Pakacki (113), and a decision from Jason Worthington (170).
Nelson’s fall took 35 seconds, Duvall’s, 44, and Ambrosino’s, 76.