Glenelg made its run to the 3A/4A state wrestling duals at North Point High School look easy, as it took down Broadneck and Bel Air to win the East regional on Wednesday.
Against the North region champions Oakdale on Saturday, the Gladiators were handed a dose of their own medicine in a 54-18 defeat to the Bears.
“We knew some of the swing matches were early on and things obviously didn’t go our way,” said Glenelg coach Matt Bichner. “We pride ourselves on not giving up those bonus points, but we got some tough matches, they have good kids and we gave up pins. In a tight dual meet, when you give up the bonus points it kind of takes the wind out of your sails.”
The Gladiators kept close tight early on, as they trailed by one, 7-6, after four matches and 19-18 after seven. But Oakdale showed a dominating display on the mat in the last half of the dual meet by winning the final seven bouts, six of which ended by fall and the other being a tech fall.
Fourth-year Bears coach T.J. Salb said this postseason run has been years in the making, and he made sure his guys weren’t going to fall flat on the biggest stage his program has ever reached.
“We’ve just been culminating this for four years, and the system has been set and kids are buying in. We’re just working a lot,” said Salb, who also noted how the toughness of their schedule helped them get to the state finals for the first time. “... We don’t have a lot of holes. We have some guys who don’t have all the experience, but we go on two weight-class runs of studs, essentially.”
Those studs include returning state finalists Kyle McDonald (132 pounds) and Logan McKoy (138), as well as several potential state place-winners in Carson Cunha (113) Cameron Delucia (126) and Chase De Maille (160), and each of those grapplers came away with a pin, tech fall or major decision.
The Bears broke away from the Gladiators after Kevin Hansberger’s pin at 106 pounds helped Glenelg cut the deficit to 19-18.
“I knew we needed to score some points early because that stretch of their lineup from 113 to 138 is really, really tough,” Bichner said. “We knew that was where they were going to score a lot of their points. We had hoped to win a few of those swing matches at 152 and 160, and then Palaganas and those guys do a little bit better, and obviously not giving up pins against some of their tougher guys and staying off our back.”
Cunha, Wyatt McKoy (120) and Delucia each secured first-period falls to extend the lead to 37-18, and McDonald followed with second-period pin over Collin Silk.
Logan McKoy won a 25-7 tech fall over Gladiators freshman Jacob Jones, and Spencer Reimnitz (145) closed out the dual meet with a pin of Jonathan Spiropoulos.
“We hit a row of guys, and we know we’re pretty confident when we go through there that we are going to be able to compete with anybody, and that’s usually where we get a lot of our points,” said Salb, whose team will face defending state champions Damascus in the final.
The Gladiators finish their dual meet season with a 28-2 record, and Bichner said he is looking forward to transitioning to the individual part of the postseason.
“I’m proud of our guys,” he said. “It wasn’t unexpected for us to make it here this year, and we have a lot of seniors going but a good group of freshman and a lot of younger guys. We get a couple of pieces next year and we’ll be right back.”
Oakdale 54, Glenelg 18 (3A/4A state semifinal)
152: Jake Nielson (O) dec. Parker Griffie (G), 6-0 [3-0]
160: Chase De Maille (O) major dec. Garrett Murray (G), 8-0 [7-0]
170: Max Sotka (G) dec. Ryan Shubert (O), 7-6 [7-3]
182: Sam Alsheimer (G) dec. Zach Grenier (O), 1-0 [7-6]
195: Bryce De Maille (O) pinned Robbie Baxter (O), :44 [13-6]
220: John Yacoubian (O) pinned Nick Palaganas (G), 5:02 [19-6]
285: Jamie Cooch (G) fft. [19-12]
106: Kevin Hansberger (G) pinned Jeremy Welch (O), 2:53 [19-18]
113: Carson Cunha (O) pinned Logan Gwin (G), 1:51 [25-18]
120: Wyatt McKoy (O) pinned Brandon Reese (G), 1:32 [31-18]
126: Cameron Delucia (O) pinned Sam Kraus (G), 1:00 [37-18]
132: Kyle McDonald (O) pinned Collin Silk (G), 3:27 [43-18]
138: Logan McKoy (O) tech fall Jacob Jones (G), 25-7 [48-18]
145: Spencer Reimnitz (O) pinned Jonathan Spiropoulos (G), 3:44 [54-18]