Four of Glenelg’s current wrestlers were in middle school when Oakland Mills defeated the Gladiators late last year to end their hopes of a county title.
On Tuesday, though, those grapplers – now freshmen – helped their older teammates exact some revenge, as Glenelg edged the visiting Scorpions, 39-26, to become the lone undefeated team in the county and in move into the driver’s seat for a league title and postseason berth.
“We just have a great group of kids. The freshmen that came in have really helped push the room, and the seniors have really stepped up,” said Gladiators coach Matt Bichner. “Everybody is working hard and we’re not getting complacent. ... We just want to keep staying aggressive. The guys know we’re accomplished some good things so far, but they’re not finished in where they want to go.”
No match ended up meaning more than the 113-pound bout between Glenelg freshman Kevin Hansberger and Oakland Mills’ Chase Williams. Trailing by just six points in the team score, Williams earned the first takedown and put Hansberger on his back, but couldn’t quite seal the pin before the first-period buzzer.
Facing a 5-0 deficit, Hansberger had thoughts of just trying to prevent the pin instead of battling for the victory.
“When I was on my back I didn’t think I was going to win that, but once I got back up and got on top I got a lot more confident,” he said.
Hansberger battled back, and midway through the second period he turned Williams and was able to finish the match with a pin.
“I just kept on wrestling,” Hansberger said. “I never want to be pinned or in that situation, so I fought off my back, took a shot and got on top and pinned him. Everyone was screaming and cheering; it felt really good.”
“Hansberger has been a real surprise,” Bichner said. “[Logan] Gwin dropped down to 106 and Kevin hasn’t complained and he’s just getting it done. I was a little worried about him out there, but he fights off his back well.”
The victory gave Glenelg a 24-12 lead, which was much needed with two of the Scorpions top guys coming up. Kyle Farace put on a clinic in a 15-0 tech fall victory at 120 pounds, and Johnny Rynn controlled his match in an 8-2 win, cutting the Gladiators lead to 24-20.
Any chances of an Oakland Mills rally was stopped when Collin Silk scored several late takedowns to earn an extra bonus point in a 19-4 tech fall win at 132 pounds, and another freshman – Jacob Jones – continued his strong season by locking up a cradle and pinning his opponent in just 46 seconds.
“This year we focused on being mentally tough and really wearing guys out,” Bichner said. “One thing that’s gotten us in trouble in the past is we have good wrestlers but sometimes they get gassed and they don’t have the mental toughness they need to win those close matches. We really focused on getting that done.”
The wins gave Glenelg a commanding 35-20 lead with just three matches left, and Justin Gatewood’s 3-1 decision over Gladiators freshman Jonathan Spiropoulos cut the Scorpions’ deficit to 12 with two matches left, meaning both Dakota Thompson and Anthony Morales needed to get pins.
Thompson, in his first match of the season after offseason knee surgery, had defending county champion Parker Griffie on his back in the third period, but couldn’t hold him down. It resulted in a 5-3 win, but not enough to give Oakland Mills the team victory. Garrett Murray (160) put an exclamation point on the Glenelg win with a 9-0 major decision to close out the dual.
The win not only keeps Glenelg undefeated in county, but undefeated overall at 15-0. With wins over River Hill, Marriotts Ridge, Reservoir, Mt. Hebron and now Oakland Mills, the toughest part of the Gladiators’ schedule is behind them.
“I think our schedule is more front loaded ... We kind of control out own destiny, but some of those teams left can very easily have a great day and we can have a bad day. I don’t think we’ve quite reached our peak,” Bichner said. “The freshmen – Alsheimer, Spiropolous, Hansberger, Jones – are still getting used to different styles of wrestling. I just hope we can peak at the right time and keep building and getting better each match. It would be nice to go undefeated and get into those regional duals and see what we can do.”
Sophomore Max Sotka (170), freshman Sam Alsheimer (182) and seniors Nick Palaganas (220) and Jamie Cooch (heavyweight) also earned victories for Glenelg. Alsheimer and Cooch both notched one-point wins, while Palaganas and Sotka overcame slow starts and won by fall.
For Oakland Mills, it’s the first county defeat since the 2013-14 season. Coach Brad Howell said it was hard for his team to overcome some of the pins by Glenelg and two early one-point decisions.
“I thought we had a little bit of a composure issue, and it started early on and cost us an early match. I think the [pins] were big throughout the match,” Howell said. “We win a match, then give up six – that’s tough. Every good dual meet, not everything goes as planned; there’s always the upsets. You just hope that you get the upsets, and we didn’t have that today. They got a few swing matches to go their way and that was the difference in the dual.”
Glenelg (6-0 county, 15-0 overall) 39, Oakland Mills (5-1, 12-3) 26
170: Max Sotka (G) pinned Mulba Kamara (OM), 3:54 [6-0]
182: Sam Alsheimer (G) dec. Paul Johnson (OM), 3-2 [9-0]
195: Aaron Smith (OM) fft. [9-6]
220: Nick Palaganas (G) pinned Solomon Barnes (OM), 4:32 [15-6]
285: Jamie Cooch (G) dec. Kevin Rockwell (OM), 1-0 [18-6]
106: Daquan Anderson (OM) pinned Logan Gwin (G), 2:57 [18-12]
113: Kevin Hansberger (G) pinned Chase Williams (OM), 3:13 [24-12]
120: Kyle Farace (OM) tech fall Brandon Reese (G), 15-0 [24-17]
126: Johnny Rynn (OM) dec. Sam Kraus (G), 8-2 [24-20]
132: Collin Silk (G) tech fall Ben Goldfein (OM), 19-4 [29-20]
138: Jacob Jones (G) pinned James Pender (OM), :46 [35-20]
145: Justin Gatewood (OM) dec. Jonathan Spiropoulos, 3-1 [35-23]
152: Dakota Thompson (OM) dec. Parker Griffie (G), 5-3 [35-26]
160: Garrett Murray (G) major dec. Anthony Morales (OM), 9-0 [39-26]
Reservoir (4-2, 12-2) 51, Long Reach (1-5, 1-6) 21
138: Elias Rivera (LR) pinned Jairo Dumas (Re), 3:59 [0-6]
145: Todd Del Tufo (Re) pinned David Schlictig (LR), 1:59 [6-6]
152: Chance Bowman (LR) fft. [6-12]
160: Max Reed (Re) fft. [12-12]
170: Christian Right (LR) pinned Nathan Rand (Re), 2:52 [18-12]
182: Michael Malin (Re) pinned Sudeep Behara (LR), 3:08 [18-18]
195: AJ Strott (Re) fft. [24-18]
220: Shawn Hamilton (Re) fft. [30-18]
285: Tyler Ecker dec. Phillip Watters (LR), 8-6 [33-18]
106: Reese Kilccar (Re) pinned Mark Tong (LR), :34 [39-18]
113: Double forfeit
120: Dalton Kleinhen (Re) pinned Rostam Rad (LR), 1:22 [45-18]
126: Connor Tayman (Re) pinned Reggie Cooper (LR), 3:05 [51-18]
132: Nick Epstein (LR) dec. Hayoung Park (Re), 6-1 [51-21]
River Hill (4-2, 10-6) 49, Howard (2-4, 2-4) 18
113: Ryan Keeley (Ho) pinned Nickinson (RH) [0-6]
120: Matt Shealy (RH) fft. [6-6]
126: Vineyard (RH) major dec. Larson (Ho) [10-6]
132: Jack Island (RH) pinned Kyle Williamson (Ho) [16-6]
138: Darian Kassiri (Ho) pinned Kenny Dustin (RH) [16-12]
145: Sims (Ho) dec. Lee (RH) [16-15]
152: Brad Smith (RH) dec. Hall (Ho), 7-2 [19-15]
160: Nathan Dustin (RH) pinned Sharini (Ho) [25-15]
170: Sean Guthier (RH) fft. [31-15]
182: Jack Connolly (RH) pinned Anderson (Ho) [37-15]
195: Murray (RH) pinned Cisna (Ho) [43-15]
220: Ben Massey (Ho) dec. Kai Uecker (RH), 5-1 [43-18]
285: Brett Schwab (RH) dec. Soop (Ho), 4-2 2OT [46-18]
106: Matt Greenlee (RH) dec. Strawlee (Ho), 7-1 [49-18]
Howard (2-4, 3-4) 45, Northeast 27
106: Strawley (Ho) pinned Phillips, 4:22 [6-0]
113: Keeley (Ho) fft. [12-0]
120: Larsen (Ho) pinned Veazy (N), 1:30 [18-0]
126: Sanchez (Ho) pinned Spence (N), 1:45 [24-0]
132: Williamson (Ho) pinned Wilson (N), 1:17 [30-0]
138: Darian Kassiri (Ho) dec. Preston (N), 4-3 [33-0]
145: Simms (Ho) pinned Johnson (N), 1:24 [39-0]
152: Doyle (N) dec. Hall (Ho), 10-5 [39-3]
160: Rush (N) pinned Churefee (Ho), 1:25 [39-9]
170: Anderson (Ho) pinned L. McWilliams, 1:26 [45-9]
182: J. McWilliams (N) pinned Sizna (Ho), :43 [45-15]
195: Double forfeit [45-15]
220: DeBouser (N) pinned Ben Massey (Ho), 1:06 [45-21]
285: Wedderburn (N) pinned Soop (Ho), 1:02 [45-27]
Centennial (3-3, 5-11) 63, Wilde Lake (1-4, 1-5) 9
106: Peter Gruys (C) dec. Sam Schmidt (WL), 10-8 OT [3-0]
113: Cameron Neilon (C) pinned Donyea Harris (WL), 3:39 [9-0]
120: Jacob Blyukher (C) fft. [15-0]
126: Chris Baker (C) pinned Bryan Castillo (WL), 1:00 [21-0]
132: Jason Kraisser (C) pinned Ayan Kazi (WL), 3:01 [27-0]
138: Saleem Jackson (WL) dec. Savya Konkalmatt (C), 4-3 [27-3]
145: Ammar Narmouq (C) pinned Thomas Carey (WL), :48 [33-3]
152: Dwight Leiva (C) pinned Christopher Fiorini (WL), 3:44 [39-3]
160: Austin Kraisser (C) pinned Amennu McGruder (WL), 1:20 [45-3]
170: Parker Subasic (C) pinned Hezekioh Saunders (WL), 4:52 [51-3]
182: Darrell Cornelius (WL) fft. [51-9]
195: Lucas Shapiro (C) pinned Taylor Brosnan (WL), 4:40 [57-9]
220: David Uribe (C) fft. [63-9]
285: Double forfeit [63-9]
Mt. Hebron (4-2, 4-3) 44, Hammond (0-5, 4-10) 24
Marriotts Ridge (3-3, 10-4) 51, Atholton (2-4, 7-16) 21