Western Tech senior wrestler Chukwudi Kalu knows the feeling of a heart-breaking defeat.
So, when was in the top position, clinging to a 1-0 lead over Woodlawn’s Alon Hough at the start of the third period in the 285-pound match at the Baltimore County tournament, he wasn’t going to let it happen again.
Kalu, who lost a 5-4 overtime decision to Franklin’s Eric Ostrow in the championship finals last year, stayed on top for the entire two minutes and emerged a champion.
“When that kid [Hough] took bottom in the third period, I didn’t think he would get up,” Western Tech coach Juan Solera said.
Kalu earned the only point of the match with an escape 10 seconds into the second period.
Kalu improved to a perfect 30-0 and now moves on to the regional tournament.
The second-seeded Wolverine advanced to the finals with a pin over Milford’s Jordan Johnson (3:26) in the quarterfinals and fall of Catonsville’s Everett Miller (:09) in the semifinals.
“He’s had a phenomenal year and we are only just getting started,” Solera said.
Kalu helped Western Tech finish seventh with 82 points in the meet won by Sparrows Point (184).
Defending Baltimore County champion Noah Johnson (195 pounds) was third, Edmund Harrison (220) was fifth and Ike Kalu (170) was sixth.
Catonsville finished ninth with 78 points.
The Comets were led by senior Brent Johns (152), who lost in the finals to Roell Coole Ngounou, 3-0.
Ngounou took a 1-0 lead on an escape early in the third period and held on.
Late in the period, Johns shot, while attempting a takedown, and Ngounou countered and scored his last two points with one second left.
Johns is currently 31-3 heading into the regional tournament.
“He’s just got to be able to rebound from this and wrestle well,” Catonsville coach Eric Warm said. “To be honest, this wasn’t one of his best tournaments. Having two and a half weeks off, just practicing, slowed him down a little bit because he had a lot of momentum at the end of the year.”
After a first-round bye, Johns won a pair of 3-1 decisions to get to the finals.
“This is over and done and we are moving forward to the regions and if he wrestles at the top of his game he will go to states and see how that goes,” Warm said.
Four other Catonsville wrestlers placed in the top six.
Ewan Hemmis (113) and Devin Dunlap (170) were fourth, Everett Miller (285) was fifth and Donte Reid (220) was sixth.
“Ewan Hemmis beat a Dulaney kid [Phillip Bramucci],who beat him earlier in the year,” Warm said. “After he beat him, he beat the No. 2 seed [Joel Turner-Rogers] from Woodlawn.”
Hemmis lost his third-place match, 6-5, to New Town’s Chris Barnes.
“He has wrestled more state-ranked wrestlers than anyone on the team and obviously it paid off for him in this tournament,” Warm said.
The Catonsville coach also praised Dunlap’s performance.
“Devin Dunlap taking fourth is big for him because he didn’t get to wrestle last year,” Warm said.
Reid emerged to place sixth as the 13th seed, beating Lansdowne’s Tom Weedon, 10-6, in the consolation round and avenging a loss to him early in the season.
Miller defeated Dundalk’s top-seeded Yeabsira Tilahun in the consolation round on his way to fifth.
Tilahun was undefeated coming into the tournament, but went 1-3 and placed sixth.
Lansdowne finished 10th in the team standings with 75 points.
Senior Gorsha Reiterer (113) was the top Viking as he placed second, losing in the finals to Chesapeake’s Jerry Vo, 8-7.
Trailing Vo 6-1 heading into the third period, Reiterer rallied to tie 6-6 after an escape, take down and two back points with 50 seconds left.
Vo got a reversal to go up, 8-6, with 30 seconds left, but Reiterer answered with an escape three seconds later, making it 8-7.
“I just fought. Usually I do best when I’m in a situation where I’ve got to do good,” Reiterer said. “I was nervous in the first period and then I had to start kicking it up and start getting better.”
He nearly got a takedown with three seconds left, but the wrestlers were ruled out of bounds.
“I saw the line and I was trying to get it,” Reiterer said. “I had three seconds left and I was in a bad spot.”
Vo’s bloody nose 20 seconds into the match and with 27 seconds left in the second period led to a pair of blood timeouts that affected Reiterer.
“They hurt, 100 percent, my head was messed up,” Reiterer said. “I just wanted to wrestle and it was messing me up.”
Reiterer finished fifth in the county tournament as a sophomore, but missed weight last year.
Lansdowne coach George Dunn wasn’t surprised by his comeback.
“He’s been battling for six minutes all year,” Dunn said. “He’s had a couple of big comebacks. He’s come back to win against some very tough guys. He’s always in it until the end so I give him a lot of credit for that.”
Next up for Reiterer and the Vikings is the regional tournament.
“Give him all the credit in the world. He went after it on the big stage and this was his first time,” Dunn said. “Now, he’s got to be ready for the regional tournament and get to the states. That has been his goal all year. When he gets there, anything can happen.”
Other place finishers for the Vikings were Desean Hunter (fourth, 106), Jacob Lipscomb (sixth, 120), Raoul Meva (sixth, 145) and Luis Martinez (sixth, 152).
Sparrows Point 184, Owings Mills 171, Hereford 149.50, Franklin 97.50, Milford Mill 95, New Town 84, Western Tech 82, Eastern Tech 81, Catonsville 78, Lansdowne 75.
106: Phil Smith (FR) maj. dec. Alex DuFour (OM), 15-4
113: Jerry Vo (Ches) dec. Gorsha Reiterer (Lans), 8-7
120: Jimmy Cavin (Here) dec. Ryan Wagener (ET), 6-0
126: Tyson McDuffy (OM) dec. Tyrell Armstrong (PH), 4-3
132: Max Hammond (SP) dec. Cade Hudson (Here), 5-0
138: Ethan Hoenig (SP) dec. Camryn Grindle (PH), 8-7
145: David Hollingsworth (OM) fall Jimmy Kells (Here), 5:43
152: Roell Coole Ngounou (OM) dec. Brent Johns (Cat), 3-0
160: Robert Doetsch (Dun) dec. Rasim Aliyev (Pik), 9-2
170: Jamaal Abdulah-Aleem (Rand) dec. Aarow Dow (Dul), 8-6
182: Ethan Smith (SP) fall Mike Walker (Dun), 2:49
195: Elijah Solomon (FR) dec. Drew Cheezum (KW), 3-1
220: Gerard Nutter (NT) dec. Tyler Woodard (Dul), 6-3
285: Chukwudi Kalu (WT) dec. Alon Hough (Wood), 1-0