Wilde Lake’s Zathy Ndiang was in a tough spot prior to Saturday’s 189-pound semifinal against Catonsville of Baltimore County’s Tyler Weedon.

Earlier in the round, the senior had watched teammates, Alex Polonsky (112), Marcus Coffield (135) and Alvin Harris (171), respectively, go down to excrutiating losses.

Polonsky, last year’s 103-pound state champ as a sophomore, was pounded by Aberdeen’s Shayduan Velez (38-1) by 17-4. Coffield was similarly handled, 16-1, by Magruder’s state runner-up, Jordan Tolbert (28-0).

Harris, meanwhile, dropped an overtime, 6-3, decision to Stephen Decatur’s Mike Meekins a week after having edged him, 3-2, in the semfinals of the Class 4A-3A East Regional semifinals.

Ndiang’s match up wasn’t any easier against Weedon, a wrestler who came in with a record of 32-1, who had placed third, and, fourth, in previous state tournaments, and who had pinned his first round and quarterfinal opponents.

“I was just thinking, ‘Do not lose at all costs. It’s my senior year. I can’t afford to lose.’ Especially after watching Alvin lose, just to see the look on his face,” said Ndiang, who wrestled Weedon on the same mat following Harris’ loss.

“I also wanted to cry, because I knew how much it meant for Alvin to be in the finals,” said Ndiang. “I was like, ‘I can not lose. I have to do it. I have to make the finals.'”

Ndiang (29-1) did just that, scoring a buzzer-beating takedown for a 3-1 decision over Weedon, this, on a move that began with the scored tied at 1-all and 20 seconds remaining.

But the road doesn’t get any easier for Ndiang, whose title bout opponent is North Point of Charles County’s Anthony Zoscak (35-2). Ndiang defeated, 4-3, for third place at last year’s state tournament.

In victory, Ndiang wants to emulate former state champion, Zack Brown, of Wilde Lake, who was third, second, and, first, respectively, in the Class 4A-3A state tournament — the last effort coming in 2007.

Varsity Sports Network caught up to Ndiang for this Q&A moments after his victory over Weedon.

VSN: Were you aware that he was a thrower and a lateral-dropper?

ZN: I think so. I heard his coach asking him if he thought that he could take me down again after he let me up the first time. He was like, ‘I’ll try.’

So I knew that he was going for the legs. I thought, ‘Well, you know, I’ve got speed on him.’ So I caught him walking in. I could tell that the shot was going to be there.

When we were in the neutral stance, I thought, ‘Well, I’ll take that opportunity to get my shot off. All that I need to do is win by one and I’m in the finals.’

VSN: What was the shot?

ZN: I was like, peeking over, and I saw that there was like 35 seconds left. And I was just thinkiing, ‘I’ve got to go for it.’ And I heard the ref say, ’20 seconds.’

I came back in, and I think that it was like a leg sweep. Because I had his leg and his head was hanging down. So I decided to lock it up and lock around the leg.

I took him to the mat and I started there. And I won the match.

VSN: As a fourth-year wrestler, what is it like to go from a guy who knows nothing about the sport to a guy who had a lot of pressure on him and who is now a potential state champion?

ZN: I mean, it’s a very humbling experience to have both coach [Lloyd] Keaser with all of his knowledge and passion, and coach Azmar [Hagler,] with all of his toughness and his never giving up on us.

So I just thought, ‘If I don’t do it for myself, I’ve got to do it for my family, my coaches, my friends. I just can’t lose here.’

It’s just that I’m thankful for what they’ve done for me. All of the guys I’ve ever drilled with. I just have this pride and I’ve also got to win this one last match.

VSN: Can you discuss how much Azmar has told you that you could be like Zack Brown?

ZN: I’ve heard it a lot, especially last year. Because when I came out for wrestling, I told coach Azmar that I was going to break every single one of Zack’s records.

Even though I was a first-year wrestler. And he laughed at me. And I was like, ‘What do I have to do to prove that to you?’

He was like, ‘Win a state championship.’ So as I went on, I got better, and then even when Zack came into the rooms sometimes, he was like, ‘If you want to break my record, you’ve got to win more matches.’

I just laughed. I was kind of like, ‘I will win states and then you can wrestle me and see how good I’ve gotten.’