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Glenelg's Sean Twigg headlines Howard all-county wrestling team

Maryland TerrapinsBasketball

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.

At Maryland, he could get another crack at the only wrestler who beat him this year, although it will be in the practice room. Stephen Decatur's Kail has also committed to wrestle for Maryland.

Because the Terrapins already have four heavyweights, none of them seniors, Twigg knows that he will have to be patient once again before he gets his chance.

"I'll be used to it," he said. "It's going to be different. It's going to be a lot harder, but it's going to be exciting and I'm really looking forward to it."

Also named to the all-county team:

106: Michael Beck (38-1), River Hill junior

County: 1st. Region: 1st. State: 3rd.

Beck was injured late in the season, but bounced back for the county tournament and did not lose a match until the state tournament quarterfinals. He avenged that loss with a pin in the third place match, and has won more than 75 matches in the last two seasons. He scored 17 first period pins, and pinned his way to a Franklin Invitational title.

106: Jeff Hayden (36-8), Mt. Hebron sophomore

County: 2nd. Region: 2nd. State: 2nd.

One of the surprises of the 2012-2013 season, Hayden was a finalist in each of the postseason tournaments after dropping to 106 just before the county tournament.Hayden also went undefeated at the District V Duals and placed third at the Franklin Invitational.

113: Taariq Mohammed (37-6), River Hill senior

County: 1st. Region: 1st. State: DNP.

Mohammed has a bright future as a student, having recorded a perfect score on the ACT, but he is also a formidable wrestler. Mohammed scored 22 wins by pinfall, including seven in 30 seconds or less. He scored 59 of a possible 66 county dual meet points, helping the Hawks to their second straight county dual meet title, and finished with an impressive 127 career wins at River Hill.

120: Zach Hensley (38-2), Oakland Mills senior

County: 1st. Region: 1st. State: 3rd.

One of the county's best over the past four years, Hensley became Oakland Mills' eighth three-time county champion this winter. He scored 60 of a possible 66 county dual meet points, won a Snowverlea Invitational title, and finished with a sterling career record of 142-23, including a trip to the state finals last year.

126: Jordan Trinh (31-5), Wilde Lake senior

County: 1st. Region: 2nd. State: NA.

Trinh went out with a bang, winning his first county title as a senior and advancing to the regional finals, but unfortunately missed the state tournament due to illness. He finished his Wilde Lake career with 97 wins in four seasons.

132: Mason Kilcarr (36-4), Reservoir junior

County: 1st. Region: 2nd. State: 2nd.

Kilcarr still has one more year in his excellent career as a Gator, but he is already one of the school's all-time greats. His only losses in the postseason were to Broadneck's dominant Cameron Harrell, in the regional and state finals, and he scored 63 of a possible 66 county dual meet points. He already has over 100 career wins and could become Reservoir's first three-time county champ next year.

138: Austin Kraisser (38-4), Centennial freshman

County: 1st. Region: 1st. State: 2nd.

Following in the footsteps of his four-time state champion older brother, Nathan, Austin made his own name this season, winning county and region titles. After losing three matches in the season-opening War on the Shore tournament, Kraisser went on a three-month winning streak that ended in the state finals with a close decision. A polished wrestler, he scored 22 pins, 66 takedowns, and scored 62 of a possible 66 county dual meet points.

145: Malik Jackson (32-8), Wilde Lake junior

County: 1st. Region: 2nd. State: 4th.

Jackson has a chance to become Wilde Lake's fourth-ever three-time county champion next year, and finished this season with a league best 114 takedowns. In two varsity seasons, the lightning-fast wrestler has already won 65 matches.

152: Joe Kendrick (34-5), Mt. Hebron senior

County: 1st. Region: 3rd. State: 2nd.

Kendrick, who has committed to wrestle for Millersville next year, ended an excellent four-year career with his best season as a Viking. He won his first county title, went on a memorable run to the state tournament finals, and finished with a career record of 104-42.

160: Bryan Overton (40-4), Hammond senior

County: 1st. Region: 1st. State: 3rd.

Overton had one of the most dominant seasons in Howard County wrestling. His only losses were to the 3A/4A and 1A/2A state champions, and the Virginia state runner-up. The county and regional champ also recorded 71 takedowns and 21 pins, while scoring 57 of a possible 66 county dual meet points. He also finished with 120 career wins, seventh all-time at Hammond, against only 27 losses.

170: Tola Morakinyo (39-1), Wilde Lake senior

County: 1st. Region: 1st. State: 2nd.

A strong Wrestler of the Year candidate, Morakinyo did not lose until the state finals, in a close decision to Bel Air's formidable William Holder-Moore — the same wrestler he memorably beat in an epic regional championship match. Morakinyo scored 23 pins and 81 takedowns, and finished with 115 career wins.

182: Brian Kirby (32-8), River Hill sophomore

County: 1st. Region: 2nd. State: DNP.

After bumping up over 40 pounds from his freshman year, Kirby did not miss a beat, winning his first county title and advancing to the regional finals. He also won a Franklin Invitational title and has already won almost 60 matches in two seasons.

195: Cory Daniel (42-0), River Hill junior

County: 1st. Region: 1st. State: 1st.

A strong candidate for Wrestler of the Year, Daniel was the only athlete to boast an undefeated season from start to finish this year, including a Franklin Invitational title. He scored 23 pins, including 17 in the first period, and scored 59 of a possible 66 county dual meet points. Next year he will look to become River Hill's third three-time county champion, joining coach Brandon Lauer.

220: Logan Kirby (36-1), River Hill junior

County: 1st. Region: 1st. State: 2nd.

Like Morakinyo, Kirby did not lose until the state finals. He led the Hawks in pins (24), including 16 in the first period, and scored an impressive 64 (out of a possible 66) county dual meet points. Like his practice partner, Daniel, Kirby can become a three-time county champ next year.

285: Roy Kadje (37-8), Oakland Mills senior

County: 2nd. Region: 2nd. State: 5th.

Kadje lost to Twigg in the county and regional finals (in overtime in the county tournament), but finished his Oakland Mills career with over 70 wins and tied for the league-lead in pins this year with 28.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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