Above: Owings Mills’ Phil Smith (right) battles North Caroline’s Ryan Bauer in the 120lb state final

Thomas and Sotka gain state supremacy for Gladiators, Dufour and Smith top the competition for the Eagles; Dunbar’s Jorden Pryor repeats as champ

by Billy Loverocket

-Team scores were not kept at the state tournament

-All rankings are based on BillyB’s Wrestling World’s 4A/3A state rankings unless noted with the overall tag

The local grapplers flexed their muscles at the MPSSAA 2A/1A State Tournament on Monday night at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, securing championships in six of the fourteen weight classes. Glenelg and Owings Mills led the way with two champions each.

Glenelg’s No.4 Jared Thomas was caught off guard by La Plata’s No.3 Marco Frederico in the South Region finals last weekend. Thomas was favored to win that bout, but Frederico had other plans. The Gladiator bounced back from that disappointment to capture the state crown at 132lbs when he edged Dunbar’s No.5 Jalen Jones, 8-7. Thomas picked off top-ranked Tyson McDuffy (Owings Mills) in the quarter-finals, 3-1.

“(I wanted to) get a little payback from regionals,” Thomas continued. “I didn’t like how that ended. I just tried to put an exclamation point on this tournament, get back for regionals. I knew I had to finish my shots (going into the third period). The only points he scored were off my shot. He never took a real shot. I just need to finish mine to get the points.”

Max Sotka reached the 4A/3A state finals last season where North Hagerstown’s Aaron Brooks shot down his title hopes. The senior was determined to remedy that outcome on this journey, and did so with an impressive display, tallying a major-decision, 14-3, over No.6 Joe Embleton (Southern Garrett).

“I just didn’t want to be there again (losing in the finals),” Sotka said. “I think it drove me to win this year because of all the extra effort I put in to make sure it didn’t happen again. All year, our coaches have been saying the mantra of score the next point. I think I did that in that match. It was ringing in my head the whole time, just keep scoring. I felt like that drove me to give my best effort the whole match.”

Two of Glenelg’s finest had to settle for silver, No.1 Sam Alsheimer (182) and No.6 Robbie Baxter (220). No.2 Jacob Jones (160) was fifth at 160 and Kevin Hansberger (No.25 overall) was sixth at 120.

Owings Mills’ Alex Dufour (106) and Phil Smith (120) lived up to their top billing, as both won their golds with pins in the finals.

Dufour worked into the third period before flattening No.2 Michael Emerick (Damascus) in four minutes, twenty-seven seconds. The sophomore failed to place last year after being disqualified in the consolation rounds.

“I put in work over the summer,” said Dufour. “I came in harder and showed the work I put in. I came here to dominate and win this championship.”

Smith was up big on No.3 Ryan Bauer (North Caroline), winning 18-4 before securing the fall at the 4:36 mark of the third period of his finals match. The sophomore was third in the 4A/3A class while wrestling at Franklin. A loss to DuVal’s MaMadou Diallo in the quarter-finals last year is the only blemish on Smith’s two-year record, 88-1.








“I wanted to dominate every match, dominate all three periods and run up the score,” Smith added. “In the finals match, I felt I could have done a little bit better in the first and second periods, but all in all, I think I had a good year. I felt like I lacked in my semi-final match. I felt like I held back a little too much. Coming back from being third last year, all the way to winning it, this feels great.”

Going home with bronze for the Eagles were McDuffy and No.4 Roell Ngounou (152). McDuffy pinned No.7 Wyatt McKoy (Oakdale) in his consolation final match. Ngounou beat No.2 John Allan Furgeson (Damascus), 7-4, for his win. Ngounou pinned Furgeson in the quarter-finals as well.

Dunbar crowned one champ, No.1 Jorden Pryor, and equaled Owings Mills’ four place-winners. Pryor won the 220lb title last year and added the heavyweight crown this year with an 11-5 decision of Damascus’ No.4 Elijah Baisden.

“It (the second title) feels great,” Pryor remarked. “I think I could have pushed myself harder, but I’m trying to pace myself. My arms jacked up from the Edmondson kid (Keon Hunter) the last few weeks. I was waiting for him (Baisden). I thought he was going to attack, attack, attack, but he was just in defense. So, I knew, I had to attack, attack, attack. You gotta break pipes. That’s how you become a two-time state champ. Woo!”

In addition to Jones’ silver, No.3 Dwayne Johnson won a bronze at 182lbs coming out ahead of No.4 Marcus Folk (Mountain Ridge), 12-7, and No.5 Camerin Deville was fourth at 113.

The aforementioned Hunter landed in the fifth spot at 285, winning by disqualification against No.2 Jose Vazquez (Parkside).

Patterson Mill’s No.2 Hunter Crowley returned to the mat after the Christmas break once his recovery from a spiral fracture to the fibula healed. The football injury didn’t derail the senior from improving on his previous two third-place finishes at the state tournament.

In the 182lb finals, Crowley squared off with Glenelg’s Alsheimer, whose season also got a late start due to a leg injury. The two battled into the overtime portion with Crowley earning the win, 3-2.

“It was a struggle,” Crowley continued. “A lot of physical therapy. A lot of taking it slow. I was behind for a while on cardio and stuff, but we got it back up. This feels incredible. It’s what I’ve been waiting for. It wasn’t how I usually wrestle. He has a fantastic defense. I couldn’t really get in on him, doubles or anything. There was a lot of stalling going on.”

Two Damascus wrestlers earned the state’s highest honor, No.1 Johnny McLaughlin (126) and No.1 Ryan Lawrence (145).

McLaughlin took on a gamely Ryan Wagener (No.5) from Eastern Tech. The junior improved on his prior third place finishes as a freshman and sophomore with a 7-2 victory for his first state championship.

Lawrence won his second in a row putting up a major-decision, 11-3, in the 145lb final with Sparrows Point’s Skyler Minutelli (No.5).

Two other grapplers captured title No.2 of their careers, Catoctin’s Zach Bryant and North Caroline’s Tyler Bauer.

Bryant (No.1) faced Smithsburg’s No.3 Shane Hovermale in the finals at 113. Bryant beat Hovermale 9-1 in the region finals and slapped down a 6-3 victory here.

Bauer won his first title last year while putting up a perfect 47-0 record. The sailing wouldn’t be as smooth this year, but the senior showed off his mental toughness by avenging both of his losses this season. He lost to Snow Hill’s Evan Mansfield in December and corrected that with an impressive display in the Severna Park Scuffle finals. At the state duals, Bauer was pinned by Glenelg’s Jones, who he beat in the semi-finals on Saturday, 4-2.

His opponent in the 160lb final owned a win over Jones and came in as the No.1 guy in the weight. Bauer shrugged that off and wrestled a smart match that saw him get back on top with a 4-2 victory.

A Boonsboro wrestler gave the school its first ever state champion when No.3 Tristen Cook was crowned the winner at 220lbs. Cook stuck Glenelg’s Baxter with 12 seconds remaining in the first period.

La Plata’s Alex Blake (No.4 at 138) came to Maryland by way of North Carolina where he was a fourth-place finisher at the state tournament. The junior steadily moved up the state rankings in Maryland, putting together an undefeated campaign heading into the big show. Blake proved that was no fluke as he added four more wins to his tally, including a 4-1 showing in his finals showdown with No.1 Camren Ritchey (Mountain Ridge). The victory left him with a 39-0 record.

No.1 Jordan Day (Northern Garrett) improved on last year’s runner-up performance by bringing home his first state title. Day won the 152lb title with a 9-5 win versus No.3 Josh Paige (Middletown).

At 195, Middletown’s Cam Farrow (No.3) put a damper on No.2 Ike Kalu’s day as he beat the Western Tech grappler in the ultimate tie-breaker period of a match that saw both athletes leave it all on the mat.

Overlea’s Jarius Cannon (152) went from a wrestler who failed to qualify for regions last year at Mervo, to a state placer this year. Cannon was fourth in Baltimore County and third in the 1A North Region. In the opening round, he reversed a loss from the SnOverlea Tournament finals to defeat No.7 Dylan Watt (Oakland Mills). In the fifth-place match, Cannon surprised No.5 Cale McMurdy (Hereford), 11-6. McMurdy pinned Cannon at the regions.

“I had the mindset that I wanted to beat this whole tournament,” Cannon said. “But I couldn’t so I came back hard and won that match (fifth place bout). I feel great about placing. Coming out last year, I didn’t get to make it in 4A/3A, I didn’t even get to make regionals. This year I made it and I got to place so I’m happy about that.”

Loch Raven’s Marquis Kemp (120) is another Baltimore County competitor to come out of nowhere and place. The unranked Kemp shocked No.5 Ethan Bohan (Marriotts Ridge) in the quarter-finals, after beating No.6 Zach Kirby (Winters Mill) in the opener.

Ryan Bauer cooled Kemp’s heels in the semis, but Kemp wasn’t done. He downed Glenelg’s Hansberger in the consolation semi-finals, 3-1 in overtime. Bohan would come out ahead of their overtime rematch in the consolation finals to leave Kemp in the fourth spot, 4-2.

Hereford’s Jimmy Kells (No.4) was third at 160 picking up a 9-4 win over Catoctin’s No.5 Josh Small in the bronze medal match.

Oakland Mills’ Kyle Farace will be one of the stars on “the best wrestlers to never win states” list after bringing home a bronze medal. The three-time state runner-up did exact a bit of revenge on No.3 Will Henrickson (River Hill) in the consolation final, flattening the Hawk 53 seconds into the match. Henrickson beat Farace by a point in the Howard County finals and pinned him in the South Region final.

River Hill’s Eric Robinson (No.7 at 106) lost to Oakdale’s Jeremey Welch (No.4) in the fifth-place showdown, 3-2. Robinson beat Welch in overtime, 5-3, to kick off the tournament.

Marriotts Ridge’s Justin Hooper (No.25 overall) forfeited his final match to Glenelg’s Jones to take sixth at 160lbs.

Three unlikely stars emerged from the UCBAC Conference, Perryville’s Hunter Zacerous and Jarret Hunter along with Havre de Grace’s Jesse Fenner.

Zacerous was fifth at 138 putting a 6-2 win over No.6 Jake W. Sweitzer into the books. Hunter lost his final match to No.6 Mike Bellerose, 4-0, to take sixth at 145. Hunter got things started with a first round fall over No.7 Victor Allen (New Town).

Fenner pinned Parkside’s Vazquez, a state runner-up in 2017, in the consolation semi-finals to propel him into the bronze medal bout. Fenner dropped a close one to Williamsport’s No.7 Tayquon Johnson, 2-0, to finish fourth.

No.2 Silas Filliaux (Rising Sun) capped of his career with a fourth-place finish at 138lbs. The senior was pinned in the consolation final by Poolesville’s Colin Savage (No.3), 4:09.

North Harford’s Josh Mitchell (No.24 overall) took sixth at 132 losing to La Plata’s Frederico, 9-2.

In a rare occurrence for a team that won the last four 2A/1A state tournaments, South Carroll had just one wrestler reach the podium, No.2 Dakota Bowers (120). Last year’s state runner-up ended in the fifth slot this year with a technical-fall of Glenelg’s Hansberger, 15-0.

Liberty’s No.3 Jake Griffin (170) came back from a heartbreaker in the semis with Glenelg’s Sotka to place fourth. Griffin lost the bronze to Damascus’ Ben Lokos (No.4) in the ultimate tie-breaker. Griffin beat Lokos, 3-1 in overtime, in the regional semis last week.

Alex Miller’s sixth place showing at 220lbs signified Winters Mills only presence on the awards stand.

2A/1A State Champions

Results of All Placement Matches:

2A/1A – 106

1st Place Match

Alex DuFour (Owings Mills) 42-2, So. over Michael Emerick (Damascus) 41-4, Fr. (Fall 4:27)

3rd Place Match

Jesse Fresh (Mountain Ridge) 27-3, So. over Zaden Meyer (Williamsport) 41-9, So. (Dec 7-3)

5th Place Match

Jeremy Welch (Oakdale) 29-10, Sr. over Eric Robinson (River Hill) 40-7, Jr. (Dec 3-2)


2A/1A – 113

1st Place Match

Zach Bryant (Catoctin) 38-1, Sr. over Shane Hovermale (Smithsburg) 24-8, Jr. (Dec 6-3)

3rd Place Match

Alex Carbonell (Poolesville) 44-3, Jr. over Camerin Deville (Dunbar) 35-6, Fr. (Dec 4-2)

5th Place Match

Adam Roberts (Thomas Stone) 31-10, Sr. over Maximus Bentley (Easton) 28-3, So. (For.)


2A/1A – 120

1st Place Match

Phil Smith (Owings Mills) 45-0, So. over Ryan Bauer (North Caroline) 43-5, Jr. (Fall 5:20)

3rd Place Match

Ethan Bohan (Marriotts Ridge) 47-5, So. over Marquis Kemp (Loch Raven) 42-7, Jr. (UTB 4-2)

5th Place Match

Dakota Bowers (South Carroll) 40-4, So. over Kevin Hansberger (Glenelg) 39-11, Jr. (TF-1.5 5:00 (15-0))


2A/1A – 126

1st Place Match

Johnny McLaughlin (Damascus) 42-6, Jr. over Ryan Wagener (Eastern Technical) 42-2, Jr. (Dec 7-2)

3rd Place Match

Kyle Farace (Oakland Mills) 29-5, Sr. over Will Henrickson (River Hill) 25-4, Jr. (Fall 0:53)

5th Place Match

Jake E. Sweitzer (Southern-G) 43-6, Sr. over Ethan Fuss (Catoctin) 32-10, Sr. (DQ)


2A/1A – 132

1st Place Match

Jared Thomas (Glenelg) 41-3, Jr. over Jalen Jones (Dunbar) 32-2, Fr. (Dec 8-7)

3rd Place Match

Tyson McDuffy (Owings Mills) 47-2, Sr. over Wyatt McKoy (Oakdale) 39-7, Jr. (Fall 1:36)

5th Place Match

Marco Frederico (La Plata) 33-7, Sr. over Joshua Mitchell (North Harford) 36-5, So. (Dec 9-2)


2A/1A – 138

1st Place Match

Alex Blake (La Plata) 39-0, Jr. over Camren Ritchey (Mountain Ridge) 29-3, Sr. (Dec 4-1)

3rd Place Match

Colin Savage (Poolesville) 40-6, So. over Silas Filliaux (Rising Sun) 40-5, Jr. (Fall 4:09)

5th Place Match

Hunter Zacerous (Perryville) 33-13, Sr. over Jake W. Sweitzer (Southern-G) 39-10, So. (Dec 6-2)


2A/1A – 145

1st Place Match

Ryan Lawrence (Damascus) 48-0, Sr. over Skyler Minutelli (Sparrows Point) 42-4, Sr. (MD 11-3)

3rd Place Match

Dylan Finlay (Kent Island) 41-5, Sr. over Jace Guy (Southern-G) 44-4, Jr. (SV-1 6-4)

5th Place Match

Mike Bellerose (La Plata) 37-5, Sr. over Jarrett Hunter (Perryville) 33-11, Sr. (Dec 4-0)


2A/1A – 152

1st Place Match

Jordan Day (Northern-G) 41-4, Sr. over Josh Paige (Middletown) 35-4, Sr. (Dec 9-5)

3rd Place Match

Roell Ngounou (Owings Mills) 39-5, Jr. over John Allan Furgeson (Damascus) 48-5, Sr. (Dec 7-4)

5th Place Match

Jarius Cannon (Overlea) 28-7, So. over Cale McMurdy (Hereford) 32-12, Sr. (Dec 11-6)


2A/1A – 160

1st Place Match

Tyler Bauer (North Caroline) 43-2, Sr. over Timothy Furgeson (Damascus) 46-4, So. (Dec 4-2)

3rd Place Match

Jimmy Kells (Hereford) 42-4, Jr. over Josh Small (Catoctin) 37-7, Sr. (Dec 9-4)

5th Place Match

Jacob Jones (Glenelg) 40-6, Jr. over Justin Hooper (Marriotts Ridge) 42-11, Sr. (Inj. 0:00)


2A/1A – 170

1st Place Match

Max Sotka (Glenelg) 35-7, Sr. over Joe Embleton (Southern-G) 44-3, Sr. (MD 14-3)

3rd Place Match

Ben Lokos (Damascus) 45-7, Sr. over Jake Griffin (Liberty) 42-4, Sr. (UTB 3-2)

5th Place Match

Evan Mansfield (Snow Hill) 46-5, Sr. over Jake Hipps (Kent Island) 28-14, Sr. (MD 9-1)


2A/1A – 182

1st Place Match

Hunter Crowley (Patterson Mill) 38-0, Sr. over Sam Alsheimer (Glenelg) 17-2, Jr. (TB-1 3-2)

3rd Place Match

Dwayne Johnson (Dunbar) 35-4, Sr. over Marcus Folk (Mountain Ridge) 29-6, Sr. (Dec 12-7)

5th Place Match

Maurio Goings (Oakdale) 33-11, Jr. over Joey Bunce (Kent Island) 31-11, Jr. (Dec 3-1)


2A/1A – 195

1st Place Match

Cam Farrow (Middletown) 38-6, Sr. over Ike Kalu (Western STES) 31-2, Jr. (UTB 2-2)

3rd Place Match

Brandon Oyster (Williamsport) 35-8, So. over Jordan Gabriel (Colonel Richardson) 41-4, Jr. (Dec 14-11)

5th Place Match

Jordan Bishop (Snow Hill) 43-6, Sr. over Alex Grable (North Caroline) 39-12, Sr. (Dec 4-1)


2A/1A – 220

1st Place Match

Tristen Cook (Boonsboro) 35-3, Jr. over Robbie Baxter (Glenelg) 33-12, Sr. (Fall 1:48)

3rd Place Match

Loic Tueguo (Hammond) 43-5, Jr. over Hadyn Blanchard (Kent Island) 15-6, So. (Dec 3-1)

5th Place Match

Hunter Park (Southern-G) 36-9, Jr. over Alex Miller (Winters Mill) 33-12, Sr. (Fall 4:34)


2A/1A – 285

1st Place Match

Jorden Pryor (Dunbar) 33-0, Jr. over Elijah Baisden (Damascus) 46-2, Jr. (Dec 11-5)

3rd Place Match

Tayquon Johnson (Williamsport) 46-5, Jr. over Jesse Fenner (Havre De Grace) 27-12, Jr. (Dec 2-0)

5th Place Match

Keon Hunter (Edmondson/Westside) 7-4, Sr. over Jose Vazquez (Parkside) 33-4, Sr. (DQ)