The 2017 Varsity Sports Network Upper Weight Wrestler of the Year, Sparrows Point’s Ethan Smith, capped off his high school career by winning a national title at FloWrestling’s FloNationals on Saturday night, in Indiana, Pa.
The future Ohio State Buckeye came into the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 170 and delivered the title. Smith, who won his second consecutive Maryland state title in March, finally was pushed to the edge. In the finals, Smith edged Kentucky’s No. 2 seed Casey Cornett, 6-5. In the semifinals, Smith got by New York’s Tyler Barnes, 7-5.
“The amount of work it took in preparation for Flo was exhausting,” Smith said. “(I want to give a) huge shout out to my coaches Kramer Whitelaw and Brandon Philips. It was awesome representing Ground Control Wrestling Academy on the big stage. Winning the belt this year was a stepping stone for me. Falling short last year in the semis was painful. So, I’ve been looking forward to getting my vengeance for a while. The hard work paid off and I finally did it.”
Smith won his first state title at Aberdeen last year with three technical-falls and a pin. This year he captured the crown with four pins. Smith was third at FloNationals last year and eighth as a sophomore.
St. Paul’s Dale Tiongson (4th at 160) reached the semi-finals where he dropped an 8-2 decision to the eventual champion, Pennsylvania’s Trent Hidlay. The future Princeton product bounced back to reach the consolation finals where he was pinned by Ohio’s Georgio Poullas.
Joey Thomas (South Carroll) dropped his first bout of the tournament to Pennsylvania’s Dalton Rohrbaugh, 5-3, and had to take the long road back to reach the podium. Thomas, who will be plying his trade at Pittsburgh next year, was up for the challenge, landing in the eighth spot at 113lbs. Thomas reeled off six straight wins before dropping his final two matches.
Former Pallotti wrestler, Mansur Abdul-Malik, who wrestled for Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania this season, placed third at 220lbs.