Trailing 18-0 after the first three weight classes would have been doom and gloom for the Lansdowne High wrestling team in the previous two seasons. But this season the Vikings have veteran leadership, young talent and nearly all the weight classes filled.
They rallied for a convincing 51-24 victory over host Loch Raven on Thursday night.
“It’s the best feeling,” said Lansdowne’s third-year coach George Dunn, whose Vikings were 1-12 in dual meets in each of the previous two seasons.
“My goal is at least five wins,” said Catonsville resident Dunn, a day before the match.
Senior Tavon Stanley has loftier goals.
“We want to do something big this year,” said the 145-pounder. “I’m expecting big things from everybody.”
He started doing his own big thing in the highlight match of the night with Loch Raven sophomore Dawuan Jones.
The pair flipped and flopped and traded takedowns, reversals and back points for the first four minutes of the match.
At the end of the period, Stanley led 12-10 and he was on bottom for the final period.
Jones never turned him over and Stanley emerged with the two-point victory that pulled the Vikings within 18-9 in the midst of scoring 49 unanswered points.
“He was strong so I had to just keep fighting,” Stanley said. “I had him and he was fighting hard and got back, so I had to keep fighting hard. I couldn’t go down.”
His strategy paid off in the third period.
“Start of the third I made a decision, I’m not going on my back at all, no matter what,” he said. “I like those kinds of matches because you really get to push yourself.”
Loch Raven assistant coach Zach Harris, filling in for head coach Anthony Menegatti, who tore his Achilles tendon the day before the match, was impressed with his rookie grappler Jones.
“It’s his first year of wrestling and he’s just got a whole lot of athleticism,” Harris said. “He’s got a lot of fine tuning to do, but he could be really good. It was an exciting match.”
Viking seniors Romario Orellano (171) and Russell Cunningham (182), who both won with pins, have some fine tuning to do after missing the entire season last year and they look like they are well on their way.
Orellano suffered a concussion during the 2012 football season and has worked tirelessly building his strength.
“He has done a lot in the weight room,” Dunn said. “He’s chiseled and he’s got a lot of heart.”
Seeney-Cunningham broke his arm on the football field after qualifying for the state tournament as a sophomore.
The arm didn’t heal properly, so they had to surgically re-break it.
Their return gave veteran seniors Stanley and Mauricio Franco (195) a huge lift.
“Now, we’ve got Romario coming back and Russell coming back and we are all working as a family to get better every time and we like to work with the younger ones so they can get better,” said Franco, who earned a second-period pin.
Sophomore Kenard Robinson (152) and freshman Georgy Reitterer (103) also had pins for the Vikings.
Reitterer, weighing 90 pounds and under 5-feet tall, is a former junior league state champion at 80 pounds.
“He beat a couple guys in the room and he had junior league experience.” said Dunn, noting the 10-pound jump is one season is tough.
Loch Raven’s top performances came from lightweights Greg Smith (112), Tim Lutz (120) and Javier King (126) and heavyweight Dominic Tew (285), who all won with falls.
Smith was a state qualifier last season and Tew is a junior with unlimited potential.
“He’s good,” said Harris, of the 6-5, 260-pound Tew. “He’s got a lot of power and for big guy he’s very quick and very agile.”
103: (L) Georgy Reitterer fall (LR) Brian Doyle 3:00
112: (LR) Greg Smith fall (L) Wonyae Rogers 2:25
120: (LR) Tim Lutz fall (L) Raoul Meva 5:15
126: (LR) Javier King fall (L) Seth Hughes 2:36
132: (LR) Jordan Perry forfeit
138: (L) Ronnie Bryant forfeit
145: (L) Tavon Stanley dec. (LR) Dawaun Jones, 12-10
152: (L) Kenard Robinson fall (LR) Jamaal Bryant 3:11
160: (L) Collin Murphy forfeit
171: (L) Romario Orellano fall (LR) Cody Crawford 1:36
182: (L) Russell Cunningham fall (LR) Bobby Lease 2:33
195: (L) Mauricio Franco fall (LR) Luis de Valle 1:48
220: (L) Erick Suarez forfeit
285: (LR) Dominic Few fall (L) Richard Westcott 1:52