WALDORF, MARYLAND – South River entered the season as defending Class 4A state dual champions, but there were times particularly last month when the Seahawks seemed vulnerable to being dethroned.

First, South River lost to Anne Arundel County rival Chesapeake in December. Then January featured a pair of setbacks to private school power Loyola and Sparrows Point at the Iron Horse Duals, along with a 40-25 loss to their Anne Arundel County neighbor the Broadneck Bruins.

“We experienced success kind of early without earning it, then we hit adversity. We lost a few matches and got humbled,” said 23rd-year coach John Klessinger, whose Seahawks have won five county tournaments and seven county dual meet titles. “But I’ve always been big on hard work and doing things the right way. These kids have done that. They’ve trusted their coaches. It was far from seamless, but we began to grow and improve.”

But on Saturday at North Point High School in Waldorf, the Seahawks won their second straight Class 4A state dual meet crown with a resounding, 42-28 triumph over Urbana of Frederick County in the state championship match. The Seahawks had regained momentum with Thursday’s 38-30 vengeance victory over the Bruins to repeat as Class 4A East Region title winners.

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Senior state runner-up Sam Ditmars (152) was among seven wrestlers who won both bouts for the Seahawks (16-2), who vanquished Sherwood of Montgomery County, 51-23, in the semifinals.

“Since the beginning of the season, we have made some serious strides toward becoming state caliber wrestlers. Winning tonight felt great for me and my teammates and the coaches,” said Ditmars, who improved his record to 42-1. “If there were any questions about whether the hard work we were doing in the wrestling room was effective or not, there are not any more. This win confirms that observation and makes us hungrier than ever as a team.”

Sam Ditmars (center in blue) won two times on Saturday to improve to 42-1 this season and help South River repeat as Class 4A state dual meet champions. He is joined (from left) by coaches Brandon Ford, Collin Schildt, Dave Hicks and head coach John Klessinger. (Steve Ditmars)

A returning county and regional champion who is bound for the Naval Academy, Ditmars earned a 4-1 decision over Connor Flickinger of Sherwood and received a forfeit from Urbana.

Others winning twice for the Seahawks were Trent Shipley (106), Jon Titlow (126), Alex Szkonicki (113/120), Ben Ford (132), Aiden Healy (195) and Busayo Balogun (220).

Ford (132) had a pair of first-period pins, including one in 40 seconds against Urbana. Szkonicki, a female wrestler with a 39-5 record, registered falls in the first and second periods.

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Titlow and Healy each earned a decision and a pin. Balogun had a pin and a forfeit. Healy is 38-4, Szkonicki is 39-5, and Busayo, 23-7.

“Sam Ditmars is selfless. He’s our most accomplished wrestler and leader. Ben Ford had two falls at 132. Alex had two falls and she’s been a strong presence all season. Jon came up with a fall and a decision against a state-ranked opponent from Urbana. On Thursday, Jon beat a state place-winner from Broadneck,” Klessinger said.

“Shipley got two forfeits today, but he clinched our win against Broadneck and he’s been sharp all year. Ben, Jon and Alex have hit almost every tough kid on every team all year. Aiden Healy has been a reliable presence. He went 2-0, picking up a win over a state-ranked opponent from Sherwood. Aiden’s win against Urbana was timely. We needed a win and he came through.”

Klessinger credited Ismael Tamayo (145) and Brent Phillips (170) for their pins versus Sherwood, against whom Zach Gliencke (160) earned a 5-0 decision.

“We got big wins against Sherwood from Zach and Brent. Ismael went 1-1, losing a close decision to a state-ranked wrestler from Urbana,” said Klessinger, whose assistants are Dave Hicks, Collin Schildt and Brandon Ford. “I’m also lucky to have great [assistant] coaches. We’ve had good leadership from Sam, Ismael, Alex and Ben Travis. They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them.”

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The Seahawks turn their attention to the final three weeks of the season and the county, regional and state tournaments.

“There is some talk about our seniors leaving behind a legacy, but I personally choose not to look at how that legacy will look. With a family unit like we have, I believe that our positive attitudes are the reasons we prevail,” Ditmars said.

“I’m happy to say that the state duals have been conquered again this year by South River, but now we’re looking forward to the individual competition. The legacy that our seniors leave behind will be a byproduct of being the best teammates that we can be.”

Class 4A state dual final

South River 42, Urbana 28

145 Vince Corso (Urbana) over Ismael Tamayo (South River) Dec 9-5

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152 Sam Ditmars (South River) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf

160 Perry Zhou (Urbana) over Zach Gliencke (South River) Dec 10-9

170 Cole Kuhar (Urbana) over Brent Phillips (South River) Maj 14-5

182 August Wageman (Urbana) over Cristian Erazo (South River) Fall 2:57

195 Aiden Healy (South River) over Ethan Fauntleroy (Urbana) Fall 4:18

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220 Busayo Balogun (South River) over Martin Williams (Urbana) Fall 3:47

285 Anthony Corso (Urbana) over Antonio Strong (South River) Fall 0:50

106 Trent Shipley (South River) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf

113 Cole Peeples (South River) over Gabe Helman (Urbana) Dec 7-5

120 Alex Szkonicki (South River) over Charles Rizak (Urbana) Fall 3:19

126 John Titow (South River) over Nick Alahouszas (Urbana) Dec 13-7

132 Ben Ford (South River) over Alex Blaylock (Urbana) Fall 0:40

138 Carter Kuhar (Urbana) over Sam Travis (South River) Fall 5:33

Class 4A state dual semifinal

South River 51, Sherwood 23

138 Vasili Siarkas (Sherwood) over Bryce Potter (South River) Fall 2:34

145 Ismael Tamayo (South River) over Johann Rojas-Monroy (Sherwood) Fall 0:39

152 Sam Ditmars (South River) over Connor Flickinger (Sherwood) Dec 4-1

160 Zach Gliencke (South River) over Walker Smith (Sherwood) Dec 5-0

170 Brent Phillips (South River) over Dean Bodjona (Sherwood) Fall 3:46

182 AJ Lopez (Sherwood) over Cristian Erazo (South River) Fall 4:23

195 Aiden Healy (South River) over Sam Dickey (Sherwood) Dec 3-0

220 Busayo Balogun (South River) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf

285 Jaylen Mahoney (Sherwood) over Antonio Strong (South River) Fall 1:23

106 Trent Shipley (South River) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf

113 Alex Szkonicki (South River) over Santiago Montenegro (Sherwood) Fall 1:15

120 Jace Munoz (Sherwood) over Cole Peeples (South River) TF 15-0

126 John Titow (South River) over JJ Andrews (Sherwood) Fall 2:47

132 Ben Ford (South River) over Aiden Neukam (Sherwood) Fall 1:49

Bel Air and Marriotts Ridge fall in Class 3A state dual semifinals

The Bel Air Bobcats lost the Class 3A state dual semifinals for the second straight year, Saturday, falling to host North Point of Waldorf, 39-33. North Point finished as runners-up following a 49-21 loss to Linganore of Frederick County, which reached the finals with a 70-9 rout of Marriotts Ridge.

The Bobcats did receive a pin from Austin Bacot (126) and decisions from Chris Nice (132), Gavin McDowell (138) and Cade Zengel (182).

Nice improved to 39-0, Zengel to 38-2, and McDowell to 38-3. Khalil Mobley (106), Cole Bursk (113) and Dominic Grey (120) received forfeits for the Bobcats.

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