Daiquan Anderson was the lone man out of Oakland Mills’ varsity lineup last year with Kyle Farace and Johnny Rynn being the 106- and 113-pound wrestlers for the 1A/2A state dual champions.
This year, the 106-pound senior in just his second year on the mat has proved to be invaluable for the Scorpions and their chances at another state title.
Anderson simply needed to win his final bout at the 1A/2A South region dual championships at La Plata on Wednesday to clinch the regional title for his team for the second straight season. Not only did he come out on top, he made it look easy in an 18-3 technical fall over the Warriors’ Josh Roberts to seal Oakland Mills’ 33-24 win and a spot in Saturday’s state duals at North Point High School.
“I was very happy. I didn’t really care about the pressure,” Anderson said with a grin. “I knew what I had to do for my team.”
“Looking at Daiquan coming up, we knew we had that matchup,” said Scorpions coach Brad Howell. “When we knew the draw came down to him, I said, ‘all right, whatever we need I know he can get for us.’ So our focus was on making sure he just needs a win and nothing fancy.”
Anderson ultimately left little doubt in the outcome of his match. He pounced on Roberts, earning a takedown and locking up a cradle to finish the opening period with an 8-0 lead. With Roberts fighting well off his back to avoid the fall, Anderson earned several takedowns in the third period to finish the match with a technical fall.
“I felt comfortable when I had him in the cradle. But he kept fighting so I had to keep composure, persevere through the match and finish it off strong,” he said. “It means the world to me. I never though I’d be out here achieving things like this and I never thought I’d be so good in my life. Now I’m on the map and I’m here to stay.”
The Scorpions (26-5), who knocked off No. 3 seed Kent Island, 42-28, in a semifinal before taking down top-seeded La Plata, led the Warriors most of the way. That meant little to Oakland Mills, though, which fell to the Warriors, 36-35, on a pin in the final bout at its own Scorpion Duals on Dec. 5.
“We weren’t trying to peak then,” said Howell. “I think it takes a lot of composure not trying to get out of the gates too fast. ... We like the ‘W’s, but it gave us a chance to build character and focus on the right things and let our guys focus on the right stuff. In the end, if you’re healthy and have a bunch of guys with great character and you unload the reigns, you get the best out of them.”
A pin by Cameron Butler (126 pounds) gave La Plata its biggest lead at 9-4, but used a stretch of four straight victories to take a commanding 13-point advantage.
Rynn (132) built an early 7-0 lead and held on for an 8-1 decision before seniors Justin Gatewood (138) and Dakota Thompson (145) each decked their opponents in 3 minutes, 54 seconds and 1:45, respectively.
Salomon Ulysses (152) fed off the momentum by taking a 4-0 first-period lead en route to a 4-1 decision to give Oakland Mills a 22-9 edge.
“I knew some of the lighter weights we were going to hit some tough guys against each other, and they went back and forth both ways which is to be expected,” said Warriors coach John Pankhurst. “The reality is we have some guys who wrestled some close matches and we need to continue to find and develop a way to win right there because there were some guys who were right in the thick of it.”
The large lead proved to be key down the stretch, as both teams upper weights battled in several tight bouts that could’ve gone either way.
La Plata’s Tyler Yates (160) was trailing before sticking the Scorpions’ Anthony Morales in 5:20, but Paul Johnson (170) curbed any momentum for the Warriors by taking an 8-4 decision that wasn’t decided until late in the final period.
“Composure. That’s a good word,” Howell said of his upper weights’ performances. “You work on that and when you have really good composure you have really good perseverance. You’re able to persevere through difficult situations without losing your cool. It gets very exciting, but when you go out there and stick to your game and stay true to what you do best, things work out in the end.”
Oakland Mills led 25-15, but the lead was cut to 25-18 after Andrew Vermillion knocked off Mulba Kamara at 182 pounds, 5-2, after earning a stalling point and a takedown in the closing seconds.
The back-and-forth continued at 195 pounds, as Solomon Barnes used an escape and a technical violation point to earn a 2-1 decision that extended the lead back to double digits, 28-18.
La Plata used a pair of decisions from Chris Mattera (220) and Jeremiah Mkandwise (heavyweight) to enter the final bout down 28-24.
“I knew we were going to have our hands super full,” Pankhurst said. “Honestly, I’m not disappointed with how my guys came out to wrestle. They came out and competed, we just lost to a team that is a little bit better than us.”
The differences between this year’s team and last year’s are obvious, but one thing that is clear is that both teams seem to be peaking at the perfect point in the season. Now, Oakland Mills is just two wins away from winning a second straight state dual title.
“It’s a whole new adventure and a whole new squad. These guys are different from last year, which is not a bad thing. They’re all good kids. We train them different,” Howell said. “I just let the reigns loose a couple weeks ago, so we’re really just getting our legs stretched right now. I think they’re getting better and better every day.”
The Scorpions will travel to North Point High School in Waldorf on Saturday for the 1A/2A state duals as winners of the south region. Middletown, which lost to Oakland Mills in the finals a year ago but cruised by the Scoprions, 62-10, at the Scorpion Duals, won the west region over South Carroll. The east and north region duals will be wrestled Thursday.
Howell notes that these region and state dual matches are bonus matches that few teams earn, and he is excited to take his team back for a second straight year.
“It’s just great to be in the final four. You get there and then it’s about taking advantage of that match or two matches and trying to get your boys to get better,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to get some quality wrestling and improve.”
Marriotts Ridge falls to La Plata in semifinal
Holding a 9-0 lead after two matches, things were looking up for Marriotts Ridge early in its 1A/2A South region dual semifinal against host and top seed La Plata.
By the end, though, Mustangs coach Jason Conley summed up his team’s performance by his lack of words to describe what exactly transpired.
“There’s not much to say,” he said. “The boys didn’t show up ready to wrestle.”
The Warriors used three pins, a technical fall and a come-from-behind decision to turn a 9-0 deficit into a 26-9 lead, and then reeled off four straight pins from 160 to 195 pounds en route to a commanding 50-15 lead. Two forfeits at the end of the dual when everything was out of reach made the final score 50-27 in La Plata’s favor.
“Better now than in 10 days at the county tournament,” Conley said. “La Plata wrestled well. They definitely looked like they had a scouting report on us, because we didn’t have one on them and they definitely went after the right kids. It’s just one of those things – they got here, they did what they needed to do to get here, and then they went flat. ... I think they’ll be a little disappointed looking back.”
Chris Spano (106 pounds) and Jacob Hejeebu (113) kicked things off on the right foot for Marriotts Ridge (24-6) by locking up a quick pin and a 3-2 decision, respectively. From there, everything essentially went the Warriors way.
Jack Chipps took it to the Mustangs’ Brett Gladstone (120) in a 17-2 technical fall victory, which seemed to set the tone on what was to happen next.
Marriotts Ridge’s Jake Fratta (126) and Kyle Wiggins (132) both lost by fall, but it was a 4-3 defeat from Romtin Habibi at 138 pounds when it was clear everything was unraveling.
After another pin at 145 pounds, the Mustangs’ Thomas Olson (152) briefly stopped the bleeding by notching a pin in 1:16. But La Plata answered in a big way by getting falls from Tyler Yates (160), Jackson Meadows (170), Andrew Vermillion (182) and Anthony Foster (195) to put a stamp on the dominating semifinal victory.
No. 2 Oakland Mills (26-5) 33, No. 1 La Plata 24 (final)
113: Mike Bellerose (L) dec. Chase Williams (OM), 3-0 [0-3]
120: Kyle Farace (OM) major dec. Jack Chipps (L), 12-2 [4-3]
126: Cameron Butler (L) pinned Ben Goldfein (OM), 1:54 [4-9]
132: Johnny Rynn (OM) dec. Marco Fredrico (L), 8-1 [7-9]
138: Justin Gatewood (OM) pinned Eric Lombardi (L), 3:54 [13-9]
145: Dakota Thompson (OM) pinned Matt Embry (L), 1:45 [19-9]
152: Salomon Ulysses (OM) dec. Joey Garrow (L), 4-1 [22-9]
160: Tyler Yates (L) pinned Anthony Morales (OM), 5:20 [22-15]
170: Paul Johnson (OM) dec. Jackson Meadow (L), 8-4 [25-15]
182: Andrew Vermillion (L) dec. Mulba Kamara (OM), 5-2 [25-18]
195: Solomon Barnes (OM) dec. Anthony Foster (L), 2-1 [28-18]
220: Chris Mattera (L) dec. Darrell Wade (OM), 5-0 [28-21]
285: Jeremiah Mkandwire (L) dec. Kevin Rockwell (OM), 5-2 [28-24]
106: Daiquan Anderson (OM) tech fall Josh Roberts (L), 18-3 [33-24]
No. 2 Oakland Mills (25-5) 42, No. 3 Kent Island 28 (semifinal)
106: Daiquan Anderson (OM) fft. [6-0]
113: Chase Williams (OM) tech fall Jimmy Vanlew (KI), 15-0 [11-0]
120: Kyle Farace (OM) pinned Dylan Finlay (KI), 5:28 [17-0]
126: Johnny Rynn (OM) pinned Brady Lebasseur (KI), 2:50 [23-0]
132: Justin Thomas (KI) pinned Ben Goldfein (OM) 1:35 [23-6]
138: Ryan Domogauer (KI) pinned James Pender (OM), 2:26 [23-12]
145: Justin Gatewood (OM) major dec. Ryan Salus (KI), 16-3 [27-12]
152: Nick Leisenring (KI) pinned Dakota Thompson (OM), 4:56 [27-18]
160: Anthony Morales (OM) dec. Jake Hipps (KI), 9-4 [30-18]
170: Brady Loveless (KI) pinned Mulba Kamara (OM), 3:37 [30-24]
182: Paul Johnson (OM) dec. Michael Scott (KI), 3-1 [33-24]
195: Solomon Barnes (OM) dec. Arne Nelson (KI), 8-3 [36-24]
220: James Connor (KI) major dec. Darrell Wade (OM), 11-3 [36-28]
285: Kevin Rockwell (OM) fft. [42-28]
No. 1 La Plata 50, No. 4 Marriotts Ridge (24-6) 27 (semifinal)
106: Chris Spano (MR) pinned Josh Roberts (L), 30 [0-6]
113: Jacob Hejeebu (MR) dec. Michael Bellerose (L), 3-2 [0-9]
120: Jack Chipps (L) tech fall Brett Gladstone (MR), 17-2 [5-9]
126: Rob Hughes (L) pinned Jake Fratta (MR). 3:33 [11-9]
132: Cameron Butler (L) pinned Kyle Wiggins (MR), :33 [17-9]
138: Marco Fredrico (L) dec. Romtin Habibi (MR), 4-3 [20-9]
145: Eric Lombardi (L) pinned Justin Hooper (MR), 3:54 [26-9]
152: Thomas Olson (MR) pinned Matt Embry (L), 1:16 [26-15]
160: Tyler Yates (L) pinned Austin Cestone (MR), 5:00 [32-15]
170: Jackson Meadows (L) pinned Michael Hurd (MR), 3:53 [38-15]
182: Andrew Vermillion (L) pinned Jamal Akund (MR), 1:53 [44-15]
195: Anthony Foster (L) pinned Stephen Alam (MR), 1:03 [50-15]
220: Joey Naidu (MR) fft. [50-21]
285: Nick Rosen (MR) fft. [50-27]