Photos and videos courtesy of Tim Schwartz

LaPlata of Charles County crowned sophomomore John Papanicolas (103), freshman John Llopez (152), senior Connar Zimmerman (160), with senior Daniel Brannon (140) and junior Jon Boarman (285) finishing second on the way to easily winning their third Class 4A-3A state tournament title on Saturday night at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House.

LaPlata totaled 132.5 points to 79 for runner-up and last year’s champion, Reservoir of Howard County, as the victory added the Warriors’ third tournament crown to their third state duals title, which they earned three weeks ago by defeating Urbana of Frederick County.

“There’s a tremendous sense of pride in our team’s winning the state tournament after taking the state duals,” said Zimmerman. “All of us worked hard as a team to accomplish this goal.”

Papanicolas (41-3) won a clash of sophomores, 5-3, over Duval’s Thierno Diallo (31-2), whom Papanicolas had beaten, 8-4, in their previous weekend’s Class 4A-3A South Regional title bout.

Papanicolas trailed, 1-0, after Diallo’s escape early in the second period, but the match was even at 1-1 with 1:25 left in the match after Diallo was penalized a point for an illegal hold.

Papanicolas added a reversal for a 4-1 lead with 44 seconds left. That countered a reversal by Diallo, who then allowed an escape in a failed attempt to earn a bout-tying takedown.

Llopez (40-2) earned a 7-3 title bout victory over Thomas Stone’s sophomore Garrett Lineberger (32-4), against whom Llopez is 3-0, having pinned him for the second time in last weekend’s Class 4A-3A South Regional finals.

Lineberger had earned a semifinal, 10-7, decision over Tuscarora junior Austin Wenzlaff (35-2), a third place finisher last year.

Llopez’s lone defeats this year have come by 14-3 major decision to Archbishop Spalding’s Charlie Lynch, who went 60-0 for the Maryland private schools and National Preps Tournament titles, and by 5-3 in overtime to Jacob Crawford, a three-time Virginia state champion from Milbrook High.

“I’m the heaviest freshman to win states. I didn’t wrestle well at all. I could have done a lot of things better. I definitely want to concentrate on my conditioning and try to do it again,” said Llopez.

“It’s good that people think that I’m a pretty good wrestler, but talk is cheap. I have to speak with my actions on the mat,” said Llopez. “My initial tournament, I don’t thik that I did all that great, but in the end, I got it done.”

Zimmerman (42-1) scored an overtime, 7-3 semifinal decision over Tuscarora’s Jake Cummings (35-2), setting up his 3-0, title bout shutout of Elad Covaliu (42-1) of Montgomery County’s Walter Johnson.

“Losing last year in the final was a heartbreaker, but I really feel like, in the end, it was a good thing for me,” Zimmerman, who lost last year’s 145-pound final, 5-3, to Reservoir of Howard County’s Mark Colabucci.

Colabucci“That loss helped me to work harder and to push myself,” said Zimmerman. “Losing in the finals last year really helped me to wake up and to realize how close I was to winning it.”

For Reservoir, 171-pound Mark Colabucci (37-1) easliy earned his second straight state title, building an eight-point lead on the way to winning, 11-5, over Stephen Decatur’s Mike Meekins (38-7).

Colabucci earned career wins No. 143, earning a title-bout berth on a fall in 3 minutes, 10 seconds over Northern of Calvert County’s Alex Cranford, and a 17-2, technical fall over Blake of Montgomery County’s Edwin Callender, and a 16-1 technical fall over Huntingtown’s Billy Hayden (35-3).

Colabucci is a two-time Class 4A-3A East Regional champion, having earned that honor with last weekend’s 6-0 shutout of Wilde Lake’s Alvin Harris (31-2).

The win over Harris avenged a 7-5 loss in the Howard County Tournament final, a clash of returning county titlists that ended Colabucci’s streak of 75 straight wins that had included his 44-0 mark that capped last year’s 145-pound state title run.

Meekins avenged an earlier, 3-2, loss to Harris in the semifinals, this after earning a 6-3, in overtime semifinal victory.

“My dad [Kevin Colabucci] is my biggest motivator,” said said Colabucci, whose father, Kevin, was a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion at the University of Maryland. “He’s always pushing me to work harder and to get extra work in, and that’s paid off for me.”

Centennial’s 125-pound junior Nathan Kraisser (41-0) won a battle of returning champions, 11-3, over Parke Overmiller (33-2) of Magruder, nearly decking him in a cradle with 52 seconds left.

A three-time Howard County and Class 4A-3A state titlist, Kraisser has won 116 career bouts and has a 62-match winning streak.

Kraisser (116-3 career) is looking to join Aberdeen of Harford County’s Matt Slutzky, Owings Mills of Baltimore County’s Steve Kessler, Hereford of Baltimore County’s Josh Asper and Southern of Garrett County’s Bubba Scheffel as Maryland’s only four-time state titlists.

“I’m pretty tired. It was good. He came out and he was battling right away. There were no easy points. I had to work for every point that I got. Mentally, he made me tired in the match, but I kept pushing through,” said Kraisser.

“I wanted to keep scoring points and scoring points and racking them up on the mat,” said Kraisser. “My next goal is to win my next tournament and keep working up the ladder and to face guys who are ranked higher than me in the national rankings.”

Brannon (41-3) lost his title bout, 4-2, on a takedown with 11 seconds left by junior Salaman Riddell (37-1) of Old Mill, who was pinned in last year’s final by Tanner Wrublik of Tuscarara of Frederick County.

“I saw that there was, like, 17, 15 seconds left and that the clock was winding down,” said Riddell, who had defeated Brannon in last year’s quarterfinals, 7-3.

“The winning shot was off of a block, and I was able to take a re-shot and spin behind,” said Riddell. “I thought a lot about last year. It was on my mind all year long. This feels a whole lot better.”

Riddell’s triumph inspired Old Mill teammate Ron Vaughters, who rose to 29-2 and became the Patriots’ first-ever three-time state titlist with a 5-4 victory over Northern of Calvert County’s Eric Hoffman (37-1).

A returning third place finisher who pinned all three of his rivals to reach this year’s final, Hoffman had lost to Vaughters, 7-3, in last year’s state semfinals, and was equally tough on Saturday night.

“Watching Salaman win just pumped me up even more, but I was already ready to go. I knew that no one was going to stop me,” said Vaughters, who has 149 career wins.

“I had no doubt in my mind that I would be Old Mill’s first three-time champioon,” said Vaughters. “This feels amazing. It feels like I have accomplished everything that I’ve worked hard for.”

At 130, junior state runner-up Tyler Goodwin (130) of Arundel continued his quest to earn a state title after being a runner-up following last year’s 4-3 loss to three-time state titlist, Adam Krop, of Urbana.

A two-time Anne Arundel County and Class 4A-3A East Regional champion, Goodwin rose to 39-0 after building a 10-0 first period lead and scoring 11 nearfall points in a 16-0, technical fall victory over Reservoir of Howard County sophomore Seth Rowell (33-7).

rice“I just wanted to go out and go after it. I know that after our last match, I was able to tilt him a couple of times,” said Goodwin, who had beaten Rowell by the same score a week earlier in the finals of the Class 4A-3A East Regional finals.

“Second-period, I was going to go down, but he cut me and I had to go on our feet,” said Goodwin. “I knew that he was going for something big, so I didn’t want to get caught in a spladle or something like that.”

Goodwin’s only route-going efforts were a pair of decisions over Chesapeake of Anne Arundel County’s 135-pound Alex Rice, who is 39-2 breaking a 4-4 tie with a fall over previously unbeaten Jordan Tolbert (28-1) of Magruder with 26 seconds left in their title bout.

“I just kept wrestling the whole time, even when he had a 4-0 lead on me. When I popped the half nelson in, I felt his arm sort of give in when I went to turn him,” said Rice, a junior. “I just took advantage. This is probably the greatest moment of my life. I’ve never experienced anything better.”

Tolbert was a  runner-up to Goodwin’s graduated older brother, Frankie, last year.

The 189-pound final featured Wilde Lake of Howard County’s Zathy Ndiang (30-1) overcoming a 3-0, second-period deficit for a 4-3 victory over North Point of Charles County’s Anthony Zoscak (35-3), whom Ndiang had beaten by the same score for third place at last year’s state tournament.

Down, 3-2, with 15 seconds left, Ndiang scored a takedown off of a low, single-leg attack, then crawled up Zoscak’s body for the lead.

Ndiang was called for stalling with four seconds left, but he managed to milk the remaining time off the clock after the restart for the win.

Ndiang had earned the finals berth in semilar fashion, taking a 3-1, semifinal victory over Catonsville of Baltimore County’s Tyler Weedon (33-2), who had placed third, and, fourth, in past state tournaments. Against Weedon, Ndiang required a buzzer-beating takedown to win, yet again.

“On the restart, there was about 15 seconds left, just like time was winding down against Tyler Weedon. I knew that I could take him down, but, oh, God, is this amazing,” said Ndiang, who was 5-18 as a first-year freshma, being pinned in all of his losses.

“I was pinned all 18 times as a freshman. God, that was embarrassing. But to be able to come this far really means a lot to me,” said Ndiang. “I mean, I honest to God don’t know what to say right now. I’m just happy that I had this opportunity to take the state title over the last six minutes of my senior year. I’m just overwhelmed with emotions right now.”

At 112, Aberdeen senior Shayduan Velez (39-1) won a rematch, 7-2, over junior Logan Reece (34-6) of Arundel, against whom he leads the series going in, 3-1.

Velez trailed 2-0, after an early takedown, but scored the next seven points for the victory. Velez, who defeated Reece, 5-3, in last weekend’s Class 4A-3A East Regional semifinals, became Aberdeen’s first state champion since Matt Kunkel (189), a titlist in 1999.

Velez’s lone loss this year was against Oakland Mill’s three-time Class 2A-1A state champion, Tony Faraces, by 10-2.

“I felt like I came in with a big emotional advantage as the UCBAC champ, the regional champ, and I knew that I had to win this last one,” said Velez, who scored a 17-4, semifinal victory over junior defending state champion, Alex Polonsky of Wilde Lake.

“When I was behind, I told myself that I had to at get one point and then two points and then just build off of that,” said Velez. “I did what I had to do, wrestling one match at a time and I came out on top.”

Boarman (40-4) avenged a loss from last year when he decked state runner-up Josh Hamilton (35-1, 31 pins) in their overtime quarterfinal, then edged Lorenzo Maddox of North County, 2-1, in the semifinals to reach the title bout against Jamal Saunders (35-3) of Bladensburg.

Saunders, who made the finals on two pins and a decision, edged Boarman, 10-8, in overtime of last weekend’s Class 4A-3A South Regional finals, and did so, yet again for Saturday night’s 3-1, overtime victory that made him his program’s first-ever state champion.

Seneca Valley senior Bernard Wolley (215) repeated as champion with a 5-2 decision over North County junior Pat Hyde (35-4), this, after having taken only 55 seconds to finish off Tuscarora’s Matt Elgin, blanking Eleonor Roosvelt’s Tommie Boozer, 6-0, in the quarterfinals, and River Hill’s Jacob Benedict, 3-0, in the semifinals.

Wolley, who ends the year at 33-0, earned last year’s title by dethroning returning champion, Mwanza Wamalumba of Meade in overtime of their title bout.

Top 15 Team Scores.

1 132.50 LaPlata

2 79.00 Reservoir

3 70.50 Perry Hall

4 68.00 Tuscarora

5 67.00 Old Mill

6 65.00 Arundel

7 61.00 Wilde Lake

8 58.00 Magruder

9 56.00 North County

10 52.50 Cheaspeake

11 46.00 Whitman

12 42.50 Urbana

13 42.00 Stephen Decatur

14 41.00 Eleanor Roosevelt

15 39.00 Clarksburg and Seneca Valley

Championship finals:

103- John Papanicolas (LAP) d. Thierno Diallo (DUV), 5-3.

112- Shayduan Velez (AB) d. Logan Reece (AR), 7-2.

119- Hunter Sutton (CHUR) d. Xavier Spruill (TUS), 1-0.

125- Nathan Kraisser (CEN) mj. Parke Overmiller (MAG), 11-3.

130- Tyler Goodwin (AR) tf. Seth Rowell (RS), 16-0.

135- Alex Rice (CHS) p. Jordan Tolbert (MAG), 5:34.

140- Salaman Riddell (OM) d. Daniel Brannon (LAP), 4-2.

145- Ron Vaughters (OM) d. Eric Hoffman (NOR), 5-4.

152- Josh Llopez (LAP) d. Garrett Lineberger (TS), 7-3.

160- Connar Zimmerman (LAP) d. Elad Covaliu (WJ), 3-0.

171- Mark Colabucci (RS) d. Mike Meekins (STD), 11-5

189- Zathy Ndiang (WL) d. Anthony Zoscak (NTP), 4-3.

215- Bernard Wolley (SV) d. Pat Hyde (NCT), 5-2.

285- Jamal Saunders (BLA) d. Jon Boarman (LAP), 3-1, OT.

Consolation finals:

103- Zeke Salvo (PH) d. Jeremy Morrow (CH), 4-2

112- Austin Alley (SR) d. Mac Raum (CLK), 10-7

119- Eli Bienstock (QR) d. Nick Frank (U), 3-0

125- Matt Swiger (HR) mj. Seth Goggin (STD), 15-3

130- Eric Harder (WW) d. Raheem Williams (WLA), 4-3

135- Steve Kidwell (AR) d. Marcus Coffield (WL), 4-3

140- Jesse Garrett (TOW) d. Eddie Madden (JHB), 5-2

145- Luke Stocky (NWD) p. Kevin Pastana (ANN), 0:39

152- Austin Wenzlaff (TUS) mj. Andrew Follman (WW), 10-0

160- Jake Cummings (TUS) d. Jared Weaver (CLK), 4-2

171- James Cannon (CHO) d. Joe Rimel (U), 6-4

189- Tyler Weedon (CAT) d. Collins Nitcheu (BCC), 4-3

215- Kian Magruder (WLA) mj. Andrew Huber (PH), 16-6

285- Josh Hamilton (RS) p. Lorenzo Maddox (NCT), 0:18