Winters Mill state champ

Sam Willingham, of South Caroll, left, tries to avoid a takedown attempt by Cody Sharkey, of Winters Mill, in the championship match of the Class 2A/1A 152-pound weight class during the Maryland State Wrestling Tournament in College Park on March 2. (Staff photo by Brian Krista, Patuxent Publishing / April 8, 2013)

In March, 2012, Cody Sharkey was nearing the pinnacle of his wrestling career.

Then a junior at Winters Mill High School, Sharkey was just three wins from a wrestling state championship.

But a torn meniscus in his left knee forced Sharkey to default in his state quarterfinal match, ending his undefeated season.

One year later, Sharkey completed his mission.


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The Westminster resident completed a 44-1 season by winning the state title at 152 pounds with a 15-3 major-decision over Sam Willingham of South Carroll at Cole Field House in College Park.

It was the culmination of a year of rehabbing his knee followed by success in the most competitive weight class in Carroll County. The closest pursuers to the 2012 county and regional champion were Willingham, who finished 36-5, and North Carroll's Billy Fritz, who closed with a 38-7 record and finished fourth in the state.

"I was thinking about how my coaches, my parents, and my friends supported me," Sharkey said of the moment that he won the title. "I appreciated about how much they pushed me to get where I am now."

An unselfish team player, Sharkey finished as the winningest wrestler in Winters Mill history with a 138-28 mark. Twenty of his 44 victories ended in pins.

His only loss was an early-season decision to McDonogh School's Toby Hague, who finished second in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament.

But Sharkey's life isn't all wrestling.

The son of Anthony and Therese Sharkey set an example in the classroom as well. He carried 3.5 unweighted and 3.9 weighted grade point averages into his final semester of high school.

"I made sure that school was the top priority," he said. "I went to practice every day, then went home and got my homework and studying done."

He also found the time to complete more than over 300 hours of community service.

That overall performance made the Winters Mill senior the choice as the Carroll Eagle's Winter Sports Student-Athlete.

"I put so much work in last year, and to come up short because of the injury made me push harder to get it this year," Sharkey said. "I got all the strength back in my leg, and this year, I got what I came for."

Sharkey's work ethic made the difference in his mental and physical recovery from the injury. He combined squatting exercises with running, and began wrestling in August for a Gettysburg club team known as the Gladiators.

"Cody works all the time," said coach John Lowe, in his ninth year as the Falcons' head coach. "Not only is he one of the hardest workers in the room during the season, but he's still going when spring and summer come along. He's driven to be great, and having his knee go only made him more focused."

In the most successful season for Carroll wrestling in several years, Winters Mill was clearly the class of the county, region and state. The Falcons clinched a third consecutive Class 2A/1A state championship this winter, easily outdistancing second-place Owings Mills by 33.5 points.

Sharkey's championship was one of several outstanding performances for the champs, who became the first Carroll team to have three individual champions since the 2008 South Carroll squad.

Senior Wes Cook (145 pounds) won his second consecutive state title, and Chase Cullison earned a state crown at 170 pounds.