Howard County wrestlers traveled throughout the state and as far north as Ohio last weekend looking for a challenge, and they found it. Read on for a rundown of several tournaments involving local teams on Dec. 10 and 11.
Since there is no Mount Mat Madness tournament this year, Centennial's three-time county and state champion Nathan Kraisser found an even tougher tournament: the 2011 Walsh Ironman at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Kraisser, who was ranked fifth in the nation at 126 pounds by Intermat, competed in a weight class that featured five other wrestlers ranked in the top ten in the country.
Kraisser started off with three decisive wins, defeating wrestlers from Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Aurora, Illinois, by tech fall, pin and major decision, to make it to the championship quarterfinals. In that round, he defeated an old nemesis, Wyoming Seminary's Dom Malone, 3-1, with an overtime takedown. Kraisser beat Malone for the Mount Mat Madness championship last year after twice losing to him at that tournament as a freshman and sophomore.
But in the semifinals, Kraisser lost to Derry (Pennsylvania) senior Jimmy Gulibon, a Penn State recruit and the top-ranked 126-pounder in the nation, 10-3. Gulibon scored four takedowns and two nearfall points in the win.
Then, in the consolation semifinals, Kraisser fell to Christiansburg (Virginia) senior Joey Dance, 13-5.
Last October, Kraisser defeated Dance, who is ranked third in the nation and has committed to wrestle at Virginia Tech, to become Maryland's first ever champion at the Super 32 tournament in North Carolina.
Finally, in the fifth place match, Kraisser — who has committed to wrestle for the University of North Carolina next year — lost his rematch with Malone, 3-1.
War on the Shore
Defending 2A state dual meet champion Glenelg placed tenth out of 32 teams at the very competitive War on the Shore tournament in Salisbury.
The Gladiators' best individual finisher was heavyweight Sean Twigg, who finished second to LaPlata's Jon Boarman. Glenelg's best performances came in the upperweights as Anthony Pagnotta (170) and Glenn Lucas (195) each placed seventh, and Justin Jung (220) finished fifth.
Aberdeen Golden Eagle Duals
Marriotts Ridge was 3-3 in the qualifying rounds of the Aberdeen Golden Eagle Duals tournament, and lost to North Hagerstown, 51-27, in the fifth place match. The Mustangs defeated Havre de Grace, Annapolis and Aberdeen, and lost to Fallston, Perryville and Bel Air.
At North County High School, River Hill, Wilde Lake and Hammond represented Howard County well in the annual Butch Keaser Classic. The tournament honors former Wilde Lake assistant coach Lloyd Keaser, a silver medalist at the 1976 Olympics and a world champion in 1973.
River Hill finished in a tie for fourth with Leonardtown at 4-2. Wilde Lake was sixth at 3-3 and Hammond finished 2-4 to take eighth.
Hammond's Raven Coleman-Brooks (145), Jonathan Goodwin (152) and Michael Waters (182), River Hill's Mike Beck (106) and Wilde Lake's Alex Polonsky (113) all won their individual weight classes.
Hammond's Bryan Overton (160) and River Hill's Cory Daniel (170) finished as finalists while Wilde Lake's Tola Morakinyo (160) and River Hill's Omar Messallam (182) were third.
As the only local representative in its own tournament, Oakland Mills finished 5-3 at the Scorpion Duals as Zach Hensley (106) and Tony Farace (120) each finished 8-0.
Howard 54, Carver Vo-Tech 24
In the weekend's only dual meet involving a Howard County team, Howard defeated Carver Vo-Tech, 54-24. Freshman Nick Williams (106) and Bryan Crumback (120) both scored third period pins. Vincent Schiavone (132), Steve Eastman (152), Drew Williams (160), Chris Loiselle (170), Nick Loiselle (182) and Jayden Nagel (195) all scored pins as well for the Lions.