Owings Mills’ Phil Smith downs Glenelg’s Jared Thomas in battle of unbeaten state champs; Owings Mills’ three champs pace the field, as does Glenelg’s six placers


(All rankings referenced are for the 2A/1A division from the latest rankings by BillyB’s Wrestling World. Team scores are not kept at the state tournament.)

by Billy Loverocket

Dunbar’s three-time state champion, No. 1 Jorden Pryor, who was VSN’s 2018 Co-Upper Weight Wrestler of the year (along with St. Joe’s Austin Stith), closed his high school career with title number three on Saturday night at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro.

The Poet has gone 68-0 over the last two years. His last loss was in the Hub Cup semifinals as a sophomore to John Birchmeier (Broad Run, VA), meaning his last loss to a Maryland wrestler was as a freshman at the state tournament.

Pryor pinned No. 7 Ernie Smith (Oakland Mills) in the second period, 2:46, of the 285lb final. Prior survived a scare in the quarterfinals when he was called for an illegal slam on Parkside’s Mike Collins. The action was not malicious in any manner, it was just the result of two big guys going at it hard and momentum taking over when Pryor switched from a single-leg to a double-leg takedown.

The Parkside coaches saw it like that too, as they did not take the win by disqualification. Instead they allowed Pryor to move onto the semifinals by forfeit since Collins was truly injured during the mayhem and could not continue.

“I had to go out with a bang,” Pryor said of the fall. “I was trying to work my stuff. I was really trying to tech him but coach was just like, get it over, so I had to get him in a pinning combination. My mindset was really, just try to get this over with. (It’s) my last ride. I start over once I get to college and go on from that.”

When it was obvious Collins would not be able to continue their match, Pryor was sickened when he realized his quest for a third title could be derailed by something incidental, so he turned to God.

“I prayed to God. Once I tried to get him down. I had a single leg. I switched the single to a double leg and tried to catch him, but you know with heavyweights it’s hard and he just went down. I just prayed to God so he could make me keep going. And he did.”

Joining Pryor on the state podium for the Poets were No. 4 De’airus Carr (145, 2nd), No. 3 Camerin Deville (120, 4th), and No. 4 Nyck Simpson (170, 5th). Carr got by No. 2 Ramy Freeman (Oakdale) in the semis, 2-1, in overtime.

Edmondson-Westside’s Brian Berry’s fifth place finish at 182 represented Baltimore City’s only other place winner. Berry (No. 7) defeated Glenelg’s No. 6 Jake Arnone twice in the tournament, in the fifth-place match, 11-3, and quarter-finals, 4-3.

In a battle of unbeaten wrestlers, Owings Mill’s Phil Smith (left) pinned Glenelg’s Jared Thomas with 22 seconds remaining in their 138lbs. final.

Owings Mills’ No. 1 Phil Smith (VSN’s 2018 Lightweight Wrestler of the Year) was involved in the most anticipated bout of the final round at 138lbs when he squared off with No. 2 Jared Thomas (Glenelg) in a battle of undefeated state champions. The match did not disappoint, and the action was too crazy to accurately describe. The melee culminated with a wild scramble in the third-period that saw both wrestlers put to their backs, but Smith would settle on Thomas for the fall with 22 seconds left in the match, 5:38.

“This one was a bit harder (than last year’s title),” Smith said. “I got in bad position and I got scared a little bit at the end. But I scrambled and I grabbed his knee, I came through with my hips and settled on him. This feels really good.

“That kids been chasing me for a while. I’ve been wanting to wrestle him again, since junior leagues. He beat me by a couple of points (last time we wrestled). This time I got payback. This one is better. There was a lot more competition than the first title. First title, I kinda walked through the competition, second title was much more harder.”

The Eagles other No. 1 grapplers, Alex Dufour (113) and Roell Ngounou (160), completed their title quests with championships number two and one respectively.

Dufour blanked Middletown’s freshman Landen Harbaugh (No. 2), 4-0. Ngounou shook off two early season losses (Archbishop Spalding’s Garrett Fisk and Leonardtown’s John Podsednik) to go on a winning streak that ended with a shutout of No. 4 Antonio Bradford (South Carroll), 7-0, in the finals.

Roell Ngounou of Owings Mills (top) blanked South Carroll’s Antonio Bradford, 7-0, to win the crown at 160.

“I feel excited,” said Ngounou. “I feel like everything was possible. That’s all I kept dreaming about this since freshman year. (I) just kept driving towards it. I believed every morning when I woke up. This was my goal and I did it. I wanted to wrestle smart this whole tournament. There are kids out here you just don’t know, you might do a move and they throw you on your back. It happened to me like twice, so I was just wrestling smart. Get the points and not let him score, which I did.”

No. 3 Diondre Space came up just short in his title bout with No. 1 Timothy Furgeson (Damascus), dropping a tough 2-0 decision. In the semis, Space took out No. 2 Joey Bunce (Kent Island), 2-1. No. 5 Machiavelli Amaya reached the semifinals on Friday night, but missed weight Saturday morning and dropped to the sixth spot at 145.

Sparrows Point had the next best showing of the Baltimore County contingency with three placers, No. 6 Richard Davis (4th at 126), No. 8 Lexx Carr (5th at 195), and No. 5 Matthew Fouts (126, 6th).

In the consolation semifinals, Davis beat No.1 Ryan Wagener (Eastern Tech), 8-4, after losing to Wagener in the county and region finals. Carr downed No. 6 Gabe Dennis (Snow Hill), 3-2, in his fifth-place match.

Wagener won his fifth-place meeting to become a three-time state placer. The Maverick was second in the state last year. Getting a taste of the bitter-sweetness of a runner-up finish for Baltimore County teams this year were, No. 4 Marquis Kemp (Loch Raven, 120), No. 1 Jimmy Kells (Hereford, 170), and No.1 Ike Kalu (Western Tech, 220).

Kemp lost a close one, 1-0, to No. 2 Alex Carbonell (Poolesville) in his championship bout. To reach the finals he got past No.1 Shane Hovermale (Smithsburg), 4-2, in the quarter-finals. Hovermale beat Carbonell in the West region finals last weekend.

Kalu finished in the second spot last year but couldn’t get anything going in his finals match to improve on that placement. Damascus’ Elijah Baisden (No. 2), who was a runner-up to Pryor at 285 last year, controlled the meeting with Kalu, hitting a big throw at the end to clinch his first crown.

Glenelg and Howard County had a strong showing as usual. The Gladiators pushed six grapplers to the podium including two champs, No. 3 Drew Sotka (170) and No. 1 Sam Alsheimer (195). Thomas’ silver was accompanied by a fifth-place showing by No. 3 Jacob Jones (160). No. 3 Kevin Hansberger (126) and Arnone (195) finished sixth.

Glenelg’s Drew Stotka upset top-ranked Jimmy Kells, 5-4, in the 170 final.

Sotka upset No. 1 Kells, 5-4, to join his brother Max (who won his title as a senior last year) as a state champion. The win avenged a loss to Kells from the Bauerlein Duals in December.

“Heading into the match I knew it was going to be a lot different than the first time we wrestled,” Sotka remarked. “The first time we wrestled was two weeks after the football season ended and my technique and conditioning were not where they needed to be yet. It’s pretty cool being a state champ and it’s something no one can take away from me. It’s awesome knowing all the hard work paid off.”

Alsheimer found himself down early in his showdown with No. 5 Jordan Gabriel (Colonel Richardson) before rallying for the fall at the 3:17 mark of the second period.

“I panicked a little bit on bottom when I realized I was down 4-0 so fast,” Alsheimer said. “But I just kept working to score the next point like the coaches have been telling us all year. That (getting the pin in the final) was my favorite moment of my high school sports career for sure, that place was so loud and watching Matt and Danny (coaches Matt and Danny Bichner) go nuts was crazy.”

River Hill saw three wrestlers bring awards home, No. 1 Will Henrickson (132, 2nd), No. 5 Eric Robinson (113, 4th), and unranked Jack Island (6th at 152). Henrickson was surprised by No. 3 Ryan Bauer (North Caroline) when the Eastern Shore grappler planted him in the second frame, 2:55.

The Scorpions of Oakland Mills had two placers, Smith (285) and No. 2 Anthony Morales (4th at 160). Hammond’s No. 6 Shehzan Dahya was fifth at 106, while Loic Tueguo (No.3) finished in the third spot. Marriotts Ridge’s No. 7 Will Vaxmonsky (145) and No. 6 Ethan Bohan (152) both finished fourth in their weights.

Bohan eliminated the No. 1 guy, Overlea’s Jarius Cannon, from contention in the first round of the consolation bracket after both grapplers lost their first matches of the championship round.

South Carroll may be down from their previous heights of winning multiple state titles, but the Cavaliers still paced the Carroll County crew with four placers, No. 1 Ryan Athey (2nd at 106), Bradford (2nd at 160), No. 3 Steven Dahl (152, 2nd) and Cam Werner, who is now a three-time state placer with his sixth place showing at 138.

Athey and Dahl were the favorites in their title bouts but did not prove the rankings to be true.

Athey was fresh off an overtime win over Mountain Ridge’s Jesse Fresh (No. 2) in the West region finals, but could not follow that up here, falling 1-0 to the Miner.

Dahl fell to No. 5 Owen Butler (La Plata), 7-2. Butler’s teammate, senior Alex Blake (No. 1), completed a two-year undefeated run in Maryland after his arrival from North Carolina with his second state crown, 4-2, over Dunbar’s Carr.

The Winters Mill’s colors were on display on the podium at 126 and 132lbs. (No. 6) Colby Unkart was sixth at 132. No. 4 Zach Kirby shocked Glenelg’s Hansberger with a 14-1 major-decision in the semifinals. In the finals, he was edged by Easton’s No. 2 Max Bentley, 5-4. Bentley was the wrestler responsible for ending the title hopes of Wagener (No. 1) from Eastern Tech with a 5-2 win in the other 126lb semifinal.

Liberty’s No. 6 Ryan Ohler earned a spot on the fifth rung of the 113lb state podium.

The UCBAC entries moved through the brackets with only three of them reaching the medal rounds. North Harford’s Josh Mitchell was third at 132. Heavyweight Jesse Fenner (No. 6 Havre de Grace) was fourth and Joppatowne’s No. 4 Chris Kalambihis took fifth at 220.

Southern from Anne Arundel County placed two, No. 8 Justin Knapp was fifth at 106 and No. 4 Andrew Ruel worked to sixth place at 113.

Pictured above: Dunbar’s Jordan Pryor works from the top before pinning Oakland Mills’ Aaron Smith in the 285 final, clinching Pryor’s third 2A/1A state title.

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

2A/1A-106
1st Place Match
Jesse Fresh (Mountain Ridge) 34-4, Jr. over Ryan Athey (South Carroll) 42-2, Fr. (Dec 1-0)
3rd Place Match
Zach Starr (Williamsport) 48-4, Fr. over Aiden Schwab (Southern-G) 43-7, Fr. (Dec 4-0)
5th Place Match
Justin Knapp (Southern-AA) 37-7, Fr. over Shehzan Dahya (Hammond) 43-7, Sr. (SV-1 10-5)

2A/1A-113
1st Place Match
Alex DuFour (Owings Mills) 41-4, Jr. over Landen Harbaugh (Middletown) 41-5, Fr. (Dec 4-0)
3rd Place Match
Zaden Meyer (Williamsport) 39-11, Jr. over Eric Robinson (River Hill) 40-11, Sr. (Dec 1-0)
5th Place Match
Ryan Ohler (Liberty) 43-9, Fr. over Andrew Ruel (Southern-AA) 37-5, Fr. (Fall 4:44)

2A/1A-120
1st Place Match
Alex Carbonell (Poolesville) 47-3, Sr. over Marquis Kemp (Loch Raven) 43-3, Sr. (Dec 1-0)
3rd Place Match
Shane Hovermale (Smithsburg) 43-4, Sr. over Camerin Deville (Dunbar) 32-4, So. (Inj. 2:02)
5th Place Match
Brogan Kealy (Southern-G) 38-12, So. over Matt Fouts (Sparrows Point) 17-5, Jr. (Inj. 0:00)

2A/1A-126
1st Place Match
Maximus Bentley (Easton) 29-2, Jr. over Zach Kirby (Winters Mill) 37-5, So. (Dec 5-4)
3rd Place Match
Michael Emerick (Damascus) 43-8, So. over Richard Davis (Sparrows Point) 46-7, So. (Fall 1:46)
5th Place Match
Ryan Wagener (Eastern Technical) 39-3, Sr. over Kevin Hansberger (Glenelg) 39-8, Sr. (Fall 0:49)

2A/1A-132
1st Place Match
Ryan Bauer (North Caroline) 40-1, Sr. over William Henrickson (River Hill) 44-1, Sr. (Fall 2:55)
3rd Place Match
Josh Mitchell (North Harford) 43-2, Jr. over Jason Guglielmini (Middletown) 40-8, Sr. (MD 12-3)
5th Place Match
Kevin Fultz (Poolesville) 45-8, Fr. over Colby Unkart (Winters Mill) 36-7, Jr. (Dec 4-0)

2A/1A-138
1st Place Match
Phil Smith (Owings Mills) 37-0, Jr. over Jared Thomas (Glenelg) 45-1, Sr. (Fall 5:38)
3rd Place Match
Wyatt McKoy (Oakdale) 27-3, Sr. over Jaron Fernandors (Fairmont Heights) 39-3, Jr. (Dec 7-2)
5th Place Match
Rhian Silsley (North Caroline) 38-6, Jr. over Cam Werner (South Carroll) 35-9, Sr. (Dec 8-4)

2A/1A-145
1st Place Match
Alex Blake (La Plata) 42-0, Sr. over De`airus Carr (Dunbar) 39-3, Jr. (Dec 4-2)
3rd Place Match
Jace Guy (Southern-G) 45-4, Sr. over Will Vaxmonsky (Marriotts Ridge) 37-7, Jr. (Dec 4-2)
5th Place Match
Ramy Freeman (Oakdale) 43-3, Sr. over Machiavelli Amaya (Owings Mills) 39-9, Sr. (For.)

2A/1A-152
1st Place Match
Owen Butler (La Plata) 47-2, Jr. over Steven Dahl (South Carroll) 40-4, Sr. (Dec 7-2)
3rd Place Match
Jake Sweitzer (Southern-G) 45-3, Jr. over Ethan Bohan (Marriotts Ridge) 16-4, Jr. (Dec 3-0)
5th Place Match
Josh Atkinson (Smithsburg) 44-3, Sr. over Jack Island (River Hill) 37-13, Sr. (Dec 7-5)

2A/1A-160
1st Place Match
Roell Ngounou (Owings Mills) 37-2, Sr. over Antonio Bradford (South Carroll) 32-8, So. (Dec 7-0)
3rd Place Match
Hunter Wilhelm (Northern-G) 28-5, Jr. over Anthony Morales (Oakland Mills) 37-6, Sr. (SV-1 3-1)
5th Place Match
Jacob Jones (Glenelg) 42-9, Sr. over Travis Fields (Catoctin) 33-13, Jr. (Fall 3:29)

2A/1A-170
1st Place Match
Drew Sotka (Glenelg) 40-6, Jr. over Jimmy Kells (Hereford) 38-2, Sr. (Dec 5-4)
3rd Place Match
Xavier Kresslein (Poolesville) 43-3, Jr. over Eli Sellinger (Parkside) 41-6, Fr. (Dec 4-3)
5th Place Match
Nyck Simpson (Dunbar) 40-8, Jr. over Jason Mohler (La Plata) 35-6, Jr. (MD 19-5)

2A/1A-182
1st Place Match
Timothy Furgeson (Damascus) 45-0, Jr. over Diondre Space (Owings Mills) 40-5, Sr. (Dec 2-0)
3rd Place Match
Dustin MacDonald (Mountain Ridge) 34-5, Jr. over Joey Bunce (Kent Island) 42-7, Sr. (Dec 7-1)
5th Place Match
Brian Berry (Edmondson/Westside) 14-3, So. over Jake Arnone (Glenelg) 34-9, Sr. (MD 11-3)

2A/1A-195
1st Place Match
Sam Alsheimer (Glenelg) 43-1, Sr. over Jordan Gabriel (Colonel Richardson) 43-4, Sr. (Fall 3:17)
3rd Place Match
Aiden Beall (Damascus) 42-9, Jr. over Hunter Park (Southern-G) 42-5, Sr. (Dec 2-1)
5th Place Match
Lexx Carr (Sparrows Point) 20-3, Jr. over Gabe Dennis (Snow Hill) 35-6, Sr. (Dec 3-2)

2A/1A-220
1st Place Match
Elijah Baisden (Damascus) 49-1, Sr. over Ike Kalu (Western STES) 34-2, Sr. (Dec 5-1)
3rd Place Match
Loic Tueguo (Hammond) 48-2, Sr. over Hadyn Blanchard (Kent Island) 43-5, Jr. (Dec 4-0)
5th Place Match
Chris Kalambihis (Joppatowne) 41-5, Jr. over Nick Harden (Mountain Ridge) 30-11, So. (SV-1 6-4)

2A/1A-285
1st Place Match
Jorden Pryor (Dunbar) 35-0, Sr. over Aaron Smith (Oakland Mills) 30-4, Sr. (Fall 2:46)
3rd Place Match
Tayquon Johnson (Williamsport) 41-1, Sr. over Jesse Fenner (Havre De Grace) 33-8, Sr. (Dec 2-0)
5th Place Match
Cole Sweitzer (Southern-G) 44-6, Sr. over Angelo Moore (Queen Anne`s) 31-7, Sr. (Dec 1-0)