For years, Glenelg wrestling was a state powerhouse in 1A/2A. But now, for the first time in program history, the host Gladiators claimed a 3A/4A East region dual championship with a 36-33 victory over No. 2 seed Bel Air.
“When we were in 1A/2A we always looked up to wrestling the bigger schools and proving we can do it as a small school. But now we’re up there and we’re still a small 3A school, we kind of got the monkey off our back,” said Glenelg coach Matt Bichner, who won a state title as a Gladiator in 2006. “We made it to the regional duals the last two years and lost in the first round, and this year we thought we had the squad to do it. I’m just happy we showed up and wrestled today because the guys came out and were ready to go and they won the close matches and got pins and stayed off their back. So I was pretty happy.”
In the end, the top-seeded Gladiators made both the finals victory over Bel Air and a semifinal win over Broadneck look easy because of the depth of their lineup. They never trailed in either dual, and held leads as large as 21 against the Bobcats and 24 against the Bruins.
Sophomore Logan Gwin, who kicked things off with a 47 second pin in the opening bout of the championship dual, said the steadiness of the lineup and being without many holes was too much for either team to overcome.
“They’re all really good,” he said of his middleweight teammates. “I always believe that they’re going to go out there and win, and I always think they’re going to go out there and get pins also.”
After a decision for Bel Air cut the lead to 6-3, Glenelg (28-1) flexed its muscle and turned things on in a hurry. Sam Kraus held on for a 6-5 decision at 126 pounds before Collin Silk (132 pounds) and Jacob Jones (138) notched falls in less than a minute to build a 21-3 lead.
It wasn’t until Parker Griffie’s bout against the Bobcats’ Liam Bowers at 145 pounds that the Gladiators started to feel comfortable, though. Griffie and Bowers split low-scoring matches at the 3A/4A East regional tournament last year, and this time Griffie broke a 1-1 tie in the third period with a late takedown en route to a 3-2 victory.
“I think we got a lot (of momentum) from that one,” Gwin said. “We knew that was going to be a really hard match, and he got that one at the very end. That just put the setting for the matches after that.”
“I think for the dual meet, that one was huge to keep the momentum going,” said Bichner.
Bel Air’s Scott Miser stopped the run of four straight Glenelg wins with a first-period pin at 152 pounds, but Glenelg once again had an answer. Garrett Murray (160) used a dominating top-position ride to cruise to a 6-0 win, and Max Sotka (170) put the crowd in a frenzy by overcoming a 4-1 deficit to Sam Queen to force overtime after a takedown in the final seconds of regulation.
Queen was then called for stalling a third time in the extra period, which resulted in a point for Sotka and the sudden death, 5-4, victory. The decision extended Glenelg’s lead to 30-9.
“Like I’ve said, our big thing in the beginning of the year was mental toughness and wearing guys out,” Bichner said. “We don’t want to be coasting into the third period; we want to be pushing and getting bonus points and Max really bought into that. As a sophomore captain, he’s really stepped up and is doing that. ... I think he wore that kid out mentally by just staying on him.”
The Gladiators needed just one more victory in the final five matches to seal the championship, and Sam Alsheimer got the job done with a fall in 5:12 at 195 pounds. That win put Glenelg up 21 with only three bouts left, meaning it could forfeit the matches at 220, 285 and 106 pounds.
Bel Air coach Craig Reddish said his team looked a little flat against Glenelg after his guys overcame a 17 point deficit to beat Old Mill, 31-29, in an emotional dual. Heavyweight Dakota Crawford earned his 100th win and beat the Patriots’ Zach Acosta, 1-0, in a winner-take-all bout to seal the Bobcats' semifinal victory.
“Glenelg is really technical. They’re very slick. ... We wrestled a little flat against Glenelg, but they’re a very solid team,” Reddish said. “The close matches, they won. They won a one-point match, and the kid comes back and wins at 170. Those were huge.”
Glenelg also made quick work of No. 4 seed Broadneck in a semifinal. It won five of the first six matches and eventually built a 38-12 lead over the Bruins before forfeiting the final three matches like it did against Bel Air. To read about Old Mill and Broadneck falling short in the semifinals, click here.
The Gladiators are the No. 1 seed for Saturday’s state duals at North Point High School in Waldorf and will face No. 4 Oakdale in a semifinal at 2 p.m. Bichner knows his team will have their hands full with the Bears.
“We told our guys really that whoever has the better day that day usually comes out on top – state tournament, county tournament, guys are feeling it, and that’s the same thing for team tournaments,” he said. “We know it’s a steep challenge against Oakdale, Huntingtown and Damascus, but we’re not going to show up there happy to be there. We’re going after it and we’ll wrestle 14 matches and see what happens. If at the end of the day we’re standing on top, that wouldn’t surprise me. But it’s going to take all 14 of our guys to wrestle tough and doing the little things.”
No. 1 Glenelg 36, No. 2 Bel Air 33 (championship)
113: Logan Gwin (G) pinned Cody Seibel (BA), :47 [6-0]
120: Zach Alascio (BA) dec. Antonio Campanile (G), 8-2 [6-3]
126: Sam Kraus (G) dec. Jacob Reed (BA), 6-5 [9-3]
132: Collin Silk (G) pinned Tyler Ham (BA), :48 [15-3]
138: Jacob Jones (G) pinned Grant Cole (BA), :55 [21-3]
145: Parker Griffie (G) dec. Liam Bowers (BA), 3-2 [24-3]
152: Scott Miser (BA) pinned Jonathan Spiropoulos (G), 1:55 [24-9]
160: Garrett Murray (G) dec. Trevor Proctor (BA), 6-0 [27-9]
170: Max Sotka (G) dec. Sam Queen (BA), 5-4 OT [30-9]
182: Tom Gomez (BA) pinned Robbie Baxter (G), 2:41 [30-15]
195: Sam Alsheimer (G) pinned Alex Dixon (BA), 5:12 [36-15]
220: Dakota Crawford (BA) fft. [36-21]
285: Jack Brink (BA) fft. [36-27]
106: Brent Lorin (BA) fft. [36-33]
No. 2 Bel Air 31, No. 3 Old Mill 29 (semifinal)
106: Brent Lorin (BA) pinned Marquis Raysor (OM), :48 [6-0]
113: Casey Payne (OM) pinned Cody Seibel (BA), 1:49 [6-6]
120: Ray Duenas (OM) pinned Zach Alascio (BA), 2:29 [6-12]
126: Robbie Fleming (OM) major dec. Jacob Reed (BA), 11-1 [6-16]
132: Kerwin McClendon (OM) dec. Tyler Ham (BA), 10-6 [6-19]
138: Chase Pennell (OM) major dec. Grant Cole (BA), 9-1 [6-23]
145: Liam Bowers (BA) dec. Kevin Bilzer (OM), 1-0 [9-23]
152: Scott Miser (BA) pinned Juwan Edwards (OM), 4:56 [15-23]
160: Trevor Proctor (BA) dec. Boris Beltran (OM), 10-4 [18-23]
170: Sam Queen (BA) dec. Kyre Adams (OM), 4-1 [21-23]
182: Nate Hammond (OM) pinned Alex Dixon (BA), 2:25 [21-29]
195: Tom Gomez (BA) major dec. Nasir Bakare (OM), 12-3 [25-29]
220: Jack Brink (BA) dec. Cortez Floyd (OM), 13-8 [28-29]
285: Dakota Crawford (BA) dec. Zach Acosta (OM), 1-0 [31-29]
No. 1 Glenelg 38, No. 4 Broadneck 30 (semifinal)
106: Kevin Hansberger (G) pinned Justin Cassidy (B), 2:45 [6-0]
113: Logan Gwin (G) pinned Nick Schardt (B), :48 [12-0]
120: Seth Davis (B) pinned Brandon Reese (G), 2:53 [12-6]
126: Sam Kraus (G) dec. Justin Baluyat (B), 1-0 [15-6]
132: Collin Silk (G) dec. Owen Joyce (B), 6-0 [18-6]
138: Jacob Jones (G) tech fall Mack Groah (B), 17-1 [23-6]
145: Josh Lynch (B) dec. Jonathan Spriopoulos (G), 7-5 [23-9]
152: Parker Griffie (G) pinned Alex Kille (B), 2:49 [29-9]
160: Garrett Murray (G) pinned Zackary Doyle (B), 5:13 [35-9]
170: Wyatt Thompson (B) dec. Max Sotka (G), 5-4 UTB [35-12]
182: Sam Alsheimer (G) dec. Noah Genovese (B), 5-3 [38-12]
195: Grant Haas (B) fft. [38-18]
220: Matt Ristaino (B), fft. [38-24]
285: Ryan McNeal (B) fft. [38-30]