Some of the very best high school athletes use four years of varsity competition to cement their athletic legacy. But Glenelg senior Sean Twigg needed only half of that time to become one of the best heavyweight wrestlers to ever come through Howard County.
Twigg, who wrestled on JV as a freshman and sophomore, went a combined 81-6 in his two varsity seasons, winning a county title, two regional titles, and two state titles. This year he also won the highly competitive Mount Mat Madness tournament and has been named the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times Wrestler of the Year.
"Heavyweight matches are often decided by one point or one mistake. Sean's ability to win these types of matches time and again against many gifted opponents shows his strategic wrestling knowledge and athleticism in an unpredictable weight class," coach Chris Rosas said.
Along the way, Twigg defeated a pair of state place winners from Howard County — Oakland Mills' Roy Kadje (5th) and River Hill's Justin Nestor (3rd) — a combined five times, the Carroll County champion (Winters Mill's Jake Utz) twice, the Baltimore County champion (Dundalk's Wayne Maddox), the Frederick County champion (Urbana's Nick Keller), the 3A/4A state finalist (Huntingtown's Dalonte Holland), the 3A/4A South regional champion (Northern's Cliff Armentrout) and two Maryland Independent School place winners: Pallotti's Antonio Santoro (2nd) and Mount St. Joseph's Shane Lowman (3rd).
In fact, Twigg's only loss came in the very first weekend of the season, in the finals of the War on the Shore tournament.
Twigg, who also lost in the finals of the War on the Shore tournament last year, lost a 1-0 decision to Stephen Decatur's Ryan Kail.
"I was pretty upset for a couple of reasons: one, I didn't get to win War on the Shore, which was one of my goals; and two, I didn't get to wrestle that kid again," said Twigg, who is the first Maryland wrestler to win two heavyweight state titles since Oakland Mills' Robert Scott in 2000. "I had some goals this year and I didn't reach all of them."
But that was the last match he would lose all season, going on to win 37 straight from Dec. 11 to March 2, when he defeated Utz, 1-0, for the 1A/2A state heavyweight title.
"That match (with Kail) was a combination of two things: conditioning and single mindedness," he added.
Twigg — whose father wrestled growing up — actually came to the sport after his younger brother Austin, a Glenelg sophomore this year, took it up at around age six.
Prior to becoming a wrestler, Sean Twigg had tried basketball and soccer, and eventually also became a standout football player for Glenelg High School.
"I didn't like basketball," Twigg said. "I'm awful at basketball, and that's an understatement."
By the time he came to high school, Twigg was a seasoned wrestler. But weighing over 200 pounds as a freshman, wrestling varsity against 17 and 18 year olds was out of the question.
By his sophomore year, Twigg had grown bigger and stronger, and felt that he was ready to wrestle varsity heavyweight. But an injury and an incumbent senior prevented him from moving up. He finished undefeated that season, winning a JV county title.
"Sophomore year was a little weird, but it was just something you had to deal with," he said.
Last year, Twigg finally got his chance. Coming into the season, he said, his stated goal was to "really just place at states and just feel it out."
Twigg finished 37-5 that season, with most of his losses coming to River Hill's Jason Johnson, the 2012 3A/4A state champ. But his wins included the regional and state titles.
This year, Twigg had the pressure of repeating as state champ, but he also got to wrestle alongside his younger brother Austin, who finished 30-12 this year at 195 pounds with third place finishes in the county and region.
"We're really close but we're also really competitive. It's fun when we get to wrestle in practice but there's too much of a weight difference between us," said Twigg, who also has a sister who is a freshman at Glenelg.
Next year, Twigg has committed to wrestle for the University of Maryland, where his mother teaches nursing. He plans to study law, with the goal of one day becoming a lawyer.