Bel Air’s Lorin and Linganore’s Blake grab third titles

by Billy Loverocket

The story of the 4A/3A state wrestling championships on Saturday night at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro was Centennial’s Jason Kraisser and his pursuit to join brother Nathan and six others (Josh Asper – Hereford, Danny Bertoni – Middletown, Aaron Brooks – North Hagerstown, Steve Kessler – Owings Mills, George Scheffel – Southern Garrett, and Matt Slutzky – Aberdeen) in the four-time public school state champ club.

The stage was set for greatness on an evening when Nathan was inducted into the Maryland Wrestling Hall of Fame prior to the start of the finals. Kraisser’s finals opponent was a familiar foe, Huntingtown’s No. 2 Josh Stokes.

The senior posted a major-decision, 16-3, over Stokes in last year’s final. Kraisser replicated the major-decision in this meeting albeit, with two less points, 14-3. The Eagle took an early lead and kept the pressure on Stokes adding points to the board as time ticked off the clock.

A standing ovation greeted Kraisser at the conclusion of win No. 159. His only career losses have occurred at Mount Mat Madness (three as a freshman, one as a sophomore – and only two to Maryland guys at his first go-round at MMM).

Asked about the pressure and build-up to the tournament, Kraisser had this to say.

“It was cool in a weird way. It was a little bit of pressure, but it was good pressure. Pressure I like to have. I’m trying to prove myself, going out there saying, “Hey look, I started off strong, I’m gonna finish strong too. The mindset was, he might know what I’m doing, but I’m gonna go out with heavy hands the whole time, working him down, tiring him out the first two periods, then really going after it in the third period.”

On joining the four-time champ club.

“It’s awesome, it feels like you are part of something special now,” Kraisser added. “It’s really great but now I gotta set new goals. Going into college, become an All-America, always look towards bigger things.”

Bel Air’s Brent Lorin (113) controls from top in winning his third state crown.

On any normal night Bel Air’s Brent Lorin (No. 1) may have had the spotlight to himself. The senior won state titles, and was undefeated, as a freshman and sophomore. Last year he fell to third but got back to the top of the state podium this year with a 9-4 victory over No. 3 Jagger Clapsadle (Stephen Decatur) in the 113lb final. Lorin, named VSN’s Lightweight of the Year in 2017, had beaten Clapsadle at the 3A state duals so the confidence factor favored the Bobcat.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Lorin continued. “Last year, obviously, didn’t go how I thought it would. But I refocused myself and I made it back. And I can’t be prouder of what I achieved and it’s not just my work. It’s the work of coaches, my teammates, who helped me get to here because wrestling is not a one man sport. You see two guys out there wrestling, but they have their whole team, their whole family, everyone that supports them behind them. I can’t be more thankful to these guys.

“This may be my favorite one yet, you know. It’s the hard work that makes it better. Losing makes winning better. You gotta refocus yourself. You gotta work even harder to earn it. Jagger is a great wrestler. He knows what he’s doing. And the fact that I was able to control him throughout the match, how I wanted to. I feel like that reflects on the work that I’ve done, it reflects on me as a wrestler, being able to beat high level guys like that.”

Joining Lorin as a three-time champ was Linganore’s No. 1 Earl Blake (132), whose first title was a memorable comeback victory over North Hagerstown’s Brian Stuart two years ago. Last year he had a relatively easy run to the title, but No. 2 Eli Guttentag (Bethesda-Chevy Chase) pushed the Lancer in this year’s final before eventually falling 10-7. In an interesting twist, the West region final between the two ended the same way, a 10-7 win for Blake.

C. Milton Wright sophomore James Riveira (top) won his second state crown and has his eyes set on winning four.

Looking to exceed Lorin and Blake’s three titles is Lorin’s recent nemesis, C. Milton Wright’s No. 1 James Riveira (120). Riveira was the wrestler that ended Lorin’s undefeated run in high school last year. The Mustang used that momentum to pocket a state title last year.

Riveira followed that up with his second title this year and has his sights set on joining that four-timer club. He used a 9-3 decision over former state champion No. 2 Sean Vosburgh (Leonardtown) for this year’s trip to the top.

“It feels great,” Riveira said. “It feels like I need to go get two more. I had to wrestle every match the same. I felt a little bit more pressure this year, but I didn’t really let that get to me. I just knew if I wrestled the same, I’d win. I feel like I could have done better. I got a little gassed. But I still came out with the victory, so I can’t complain.”

Fellow Mustangs who climbed aboard the state podium were, No. 5 Constantinos Gourgoulianis (3rd at 113) and No. 3 Teddy Stinson (4th at 182). Gourgoulianis defeated No. 2 David Panda (Atholton), 9-8, in the ultimate tie-breaker period, in the consolation finals.

Another two-time champion was South River’s No. 1 Ka’Ron Lewis (285). The senior won his first title last year and repeated this year with an overtime nail-biter with No. 3 Aimrick Nya (Springbrook), 3-1. In the semis, Lewis squared off with No. 2 Christian Bryant (Eleanor Roosevelt) for the third time this season. The Seahawk won the rubber-match, 7-2.

“Honestly, coming in, I wasn’t even thinking about winning,” Lewis remarked. “This being my last year, I just wanted to have fun. I have a good relationship with a lot of the heavyweight wrestlers, a lot of the coaches, so this is all just fun to me. All things to God. All glory to God. None of this would be possible without him. It really puts an exclamation point on the last one because people said I didn’t deserve the last one, it was a fluke. This really shows that I did deserve that one.”

No. 3 Trenton Puccinelli didn’t experience the same success as Lewis in his final encounter with No. 1 Trevor Crowley (Leonardtown). The South River senior dropped a 5-3 decision to settle for silver. Puccinelli did avenge a state duals loss to No. 2 Sahid Antar (Springbrook) in the semis, racking up a pin in the third round, 5:39.

No. 3 Isaac Barber (4th at 120) and No. 5 Mason Smith (106, 6th) filled out the Seahawks’ state medalists.

Broadneck’s Mike Garlington (No. 4) upset the top dog at 138 In the semi-finals, South Hagerstown’s Caleb Everhart, and followed that up by downing No. 2 Jose Echenoa (Quince Orchard), 6-5, in the finals. Garlington was down early in the match after a scramble ended with Echenoa on top of the Bruin with what was essentially a leg half. Garlington staved off the pin and fought back.

“It feels fantastic,” Garlington exclaimed. “I’m not gonna lie. Last year, I came here, I didn’t even win a match. I swore after that, I told my coach, I looked Mitch (Miller) right in the eye and said, “I’m placing here next year. I don’t care.” And yesterday, I won that quarter-finals match and knew I placed, I felt satisfied, but then I went out and wrestled my hardest in the semi-finals match and I won. Then I just realized I was in it to win it. It feels good to have all that hard work pay off.

“I had a (neck) stinger this season that bothered me a little bit, started feeling it again. Then I came back with that big takedown. I saw 6-5, I was winning. I saw ten seconds left. I was holding on for dear life. I could taste it. It was so close.”

Joining Garlington on the awards stand were No. 3 Nick Schardt (132, 4th) and No. 7 Vinny Facciponti (6th at 195).

North County’s DeShawn Madison came into the state tournament ranked 10th in the 4A/3A division. He outperformed that prognostication and more with his third place showing at 195. Annapolis’ Nate Ditmars (No.7) was sixth at 132. Arundel’s No.4 Caleb Chaves brought home a bronze at 126. Old Mill’s Caron Tull (No. 7) won his fifth-place match at 138 with a pin of No. 6 Chad Schaffer (Manchester Valley), 3:29. At 220, No. 7 Conor Bowes (Severna Park) tallied his own upset, 5-2, over No. 3 Wafeu Fuondjing (Paint Branch) in his match for fifth.

In addition to Kraisser, Howard County crowned one more champ, Atholton’s No. 1 Sean Billups (170). Heading into the East region finals, Billups was No. 2 to Leonardtown’s John Podsednik’s No. 1. Billups surprised the defending state champ with an 8-5 victory and proved it was no fluke with a 9-6 win for his first state championship.

“I wanted to wrestle the same type of style that I wrestled him previously,” Billups said. “Obviously adapting to the new things that he’s put in. For example, I knew with that roll, that Peterson, I knew I was gonna have to give up either one, or two, or five, and two or five was not an option. It feels great just knowing that all your hard work you put in for the last four plus years finally pays off.”

Atholton pushed two more grapplers to the podium, both were fourth, Panda at 113 and No. 3 Drew Pruett at 126. Howard’s Shayan Kassiri (No. 3) was shocked in the first round by Linganore’s Hayden Parkhurst (pin at 5:38) but battled all the way back to equal his ranking, grabbing the bronze with a 4-3 win over No. 2 Kaleb Dolina (Northern Calvert).

Howard County’s final award winners were, Mount Hebron’s No. 7 Bryce Kampert (6th at 145) and Reservoir’s No. 7 Dylan Altman (5th at 285).

Franklin’s Elijah Solomon (top) completed his four-year quest to claim a state crown with his title at 220.

Franklin’s No. 1 Elijah Solomon was responsible for Baltimore County’s only big school championship. The senior, who owns a win over Western Tech’s Ike Kalu from the county finals, used a big takedown to the back in the third period to secure his 6-2 win over No. 2 Joseph Bannister (Huntingtown).

“It’s about time,” Solomon said. “I took sixth in tenth grade, third in eleventh grade. Now it’s about time I get one. I worked hard. My coaches helped me. I just got better as a wrestler over the years, so I think god for that.

“(It’s) time to end it, finally. I got it, I got the match over with. He was a strong kid. I just saw an opportunity with a blast double and had to finish it.”

Kenwood’s No. 4 Daylon Duncan (145) became his school’s first finalist since 2005. Duncan decked No. 2 Dolina in the quarterfinals, 3:39. His finals’ opponent was No. 1 Chris Sanchez (Sherwood) and the rankings held true as Sanchez rang up a 16-5 major-decision.

No. 7 Riley Bozeman (Lansdowne) picked off No. 3 Kielin Huff (North Point), 18-9, in the quarterfinals, then reached the finals with a pin of Wise’s Caleb Kearney, 4:39. The Viking’s magic ended there, however, as No. 1 Eric Liau (Wootton) pitched a shutout for the title, 6-0.

Woodlawn had two Warriors bring home hardware, No. 3 Joel Turner-Rogers (3rd at 152) and No. 5 Antonio DeShields (5th at 195). Turner-Rogers pushed No. 4 Sam Bloch into the fifth-place match with his 5-4 consolation semi win. Bloch beat Turner-Rogers in the county finals, but the Warrior turned the tables in the region finals and ends their rivalry with a 2-1 edge. Bloch took fifth here.

No. 6 Demetrius Daniels (Parkville) bested his ranking by two, finishing fourth at 285. Poly’s Mervyn Crawford (No. 4) landed in the fourth spot at 195.

Manchester Valley had two wrestlers place, Schaffer (6th at 132) and No. 9 Thomas Chenoweth (6th at 152).

Pictured above: Centennial Jason Kraisser (left) works for back points against Huntingtown’s Josh Stokes, as he became only the eighth wrestler in state history to win four state titles, with a 14-3 major decision over Stokes.

Full list of state placers with placement match scores and wrestler’s records:

1st Place Match
Eric Liau (Wootton) 41-0, So. over Riley Bozeman (Lansdowne) 29-6, So. (Dec 6-0)
3rd Place Match
Pierre Jean (Springbrook) 38-8, Jr. over Caleb Kearney (Dr. Henry A. Wise) 24-4, Jr. (MD 11-2)
5th Place Match
Shamar Baines (Stephen Decatur) 32-11, Jr. over Mason Smith (South River) 45-8, Sr. (Dec 9-7)

1st Place Match
Brent Lorin (Bel Air) 46-1, Sr. over Jagger Clapsadle (Stephen Decatur) 43-4, Jr. (Dec 9-4)
3rd Place Match
Constantinos Gourgoulianis (C. Milton Wright) 39-5, So. over David Panda (Atholton) 39-3, Jr. (UTB 9-8)
5th Place Match
Garrett Lee (Leonardtown) 41-6, Sr. over Thomas Monn (North Hagerstown) 39-7, Fr. (Inj. 0:00)

1st Place Match
James Riveira (C. Milton Wright) 40-1, So. over Sean Vosburgh (Leonardtown) 42-4, Jr. (Dec 9-3)
3rd Place Match
Nico D`Amico (Stephen Decatur) 44-6, So. over Isaac Barber (South River) 37-9, Jr. (TB-1 5-2)
5th Place Match
Wafeeq Iqbal (Magruder) 40-4, Sr. over Breezhon Stell (Charles H. Flowers) 30-10, Sr. (Inj. 0:00)

1st Place Match
Noah Reho (Stephen Decatur) 45-5, Fr. over Siavash Sarvestani (Northwest) 41-3, Jr. (Dec 7-1)
3rd Place Match
Caleb Chaves (Arundel) 40-5, So. over Drew Pruett (Atholton) 38-5, Sr. (Dec 2-0)
5th Place Match
Austin Rohn (Urbana) 32-8, Jr. over Yoseph Yilma (Wheaton) 26-14, Jr. (Dec 7-4)

1st Place Match
Earl Blake (Linganore) 45-0, Sr. over Eli Guttentag (Bethesda-CC) 43-5, Sr. (Dec 10-7)
3rd Place Match
Brian Bieshelt (Leonardtown) 39-7, Jr. over Nick Schardt (Broadneck) 37-4, Sr. (Dec 8-2)
5th Place Match
Sayfore Sieh (Springbrook) 39-9, Jr. over Nate Ditmars (Annapolis) 26-7, Jr. (Dec 11-4)

1st Place Match
Michael Garlington (Broadneck) 35-6, Sr. over Jose Echeona (Quince Orchard) 39-8, Sr. (Dec 6-5)
3rd Place Match
Caleb Everhart (South Hagerstown) 49-2, Jr. over Jacob Bernstein (Walter Johnson) 22-3, Sr. (Dec 5-0)
5th Place Match
Caron Tull (Old Mill) 39-8, So. over Chad Schaffer (Manchester Valley) 43-9, Jr. (Fall 3:29)

1st Place Match
Chris Sanchez (Sherwood) 36-0, Sr. over Daylon Duncan (Kenwood) 47-5, Jr. (MD 16-5)
3rd Place Match
Shayan Kassiri (Howard) 36-5, Jr. over Kaleb Dolina (Northern-C) 33-3, Jr. (Dec 4-3)
5th Place Match
Drew Guttentag (Bethesda-CC) 41-6, So. over Bryce Kampert (Mt. Hebron) 31-11, Jr. (Dec 6-2)

1st Place Match
Jason Kraisser (Centennial) 40-0, Sr. over Joshua Stokes (Huntingtown) 40-3, Jr. (MD 14-3)
3rd Place Match
Joel Turner-Rodgers (Woodlawn) 38-2, Sr. over Jeo Martinez (Bethesda-CC) 40-9, Jr. (Dec 8-7)
5th Place Match
Sam Bloch (Dulaney) 33-5, Sr. over Thomas Chenoweth (Manchester Valley) 40-14, Jr. (Fall 1:39)

1st Place Match
Trevor Crowley (Leonardtown) 44-3, Sr. over Trenton Puccinelli (South River) 39-5, Sr. (Dec 5-3)
3rd Place Match
Dalton Pearl (Linganore) 45-3, Sr. over DeVon Muhammad (North Point) 38-9, Sr. (MD 12-3)
5th Place Match
Sahid Antar (Springbrook) 39-4, Sr. over James Parana (Stephen Decatur) 13-7, Fr. (Dec 7-3)

1st Place Match
Sean Billups (Atholton) 38-3, Sr. over John Podsednik (Leonardtown) 43-2, Sr. (Dec 9-6)
3rd Place Match
Joey Bromley (Linganore) 46-2, Sr. over Jaedyn Harris (Gaithersburg) 35-10, Jr. (Dec 3-0)
5th Place Match
Andrew Chavarria (Tuscarora) 32-3, Sr. over Yoann Olympio (Northwest) 41-11, Jr. (Dec 5-4)

1st Place Match
Michael Bromley (Linganore) 45-2, Sr. over Marquez Cooper (Quince Orchard) 35-7, Jr. (Dec 4-1)
3rd Place Match
Dakota Cram (Huntingtown) 46-6, Sr. over Theodore Stinson (C. Milton Wright) 39-5, Jr. (SV-1 3-1)
5th Place Match
Lukas Layton (Stephen Decatur) 39-12, Sr. over Adam Pfeiffer (Sherwood) 34-10, Jr. (Inj. 1:36)

1st Place Match
Kevin Makosy (Urbana) 35-1, Sr. over Austin Smith (Paint Branch) 42-2, Sr. (MD 13-5)
3rd Place Match
Joseph Murray (Huntingtown) 50-2, Sr. over Mervyn Crawford (Baltimore Polytechnic) 39-3, Sr. (Dec 6-0)
5th Place Match
Vinny Facciponti (Broadneck) 30-4, Sr. over Antonio DeShields (Woodlawn) 38-5, Sr. (SV-1 6-4)

1st Place Match
Elijah Solomon (Franklin) 44-1, Sr. over Joseph Bannister-Pesce (Huntingtown) 34-1, Sr. (Dec 6-2)
3rd Place Match
DeShawn Madison (North County) 37-5, Sr. over Jevon Coche (Clarksburg) 36-11, Sr. (Fall 3:58)
5th Place Match
Conor Bowes (Severna Park) 33-6, Sr. over Wafeu Fuondjing (Paint Branch) 40-7, Sr. (Dec 5-2)

1st Place Match
Ka`Ron Lewis (South River) 47-1, Sr. over Aimrick Nya (Springbrook) 40-4, Sr. (SV-1 3-1)
3rd Place Match
Christian Bryant (Eleanor Roosevelt) 41-2, Sr. over Demitrius Daniels (Parkville) 35-6, Sr. (Dec 8-3)
5th Place Match
Dylan Altman (Reservoir) 38-10, Jr. over Elijah Fontem (DuVal) 29-8, Jr. (Fall 1:38)