Beating your rival on senior night is a memorable accomplishment for any team. But beating your rival on senior night by 47 points to cap an undefeated county and regular season and capture your third straight county title deserves its own celebration, one that the Glenelg wrestling team earned on Tuesday night.
In front of a packed home gym, the Gladiators won 12 of 14 bouts against River Hill and consistently set the tone early and often. The result was a 56-9 dominating victory for Glenelg that in all likelihood clinched home-field advantage for the 2A South regional duals on Feb. 7 as it pursues a third straight region dual championship.
It’s also the Gladiators’ 33rd consecutive county win and the 43rd in their last 44 overall for the senior class.
“It’s great. The county is tough this year; there are a lot of great teams and fortunately we were able to squeak out a couple of them earlier in the season,” Glenelg coach Matt Bichner said. “... We have a good feeder program with the Warhawks that keeps us stocked with some tough kids and we just try to get them used to high school wrestling. It usually works out pretty well.”
Glenelg had relied on its conditioning throughout much of the year to get through several tight duals, but on Tuesday it pushed the pace early on and saw immediate results. It scored the first point in 12 of 14 matches overall and won 11 of those bouts, including six by fall and another by technical fall.
Bichner said the game plan entering the night was to put the Hawks away early in matches to make sure they don’t gain any confidence or momentum.
“I like it. It’s good to know we’re scoring first,” he said. “There’s got to be a study out there that the guy who scores first has a better [winning] percentage, that makes sense, so it’s good.”
For River Hill, its lowest team total before Tuesday night in county duals was 27 against Atholton and Hammond. Coach Kevin Cannon said the result wasn’t particularly surprising considering he saw how the Gladiators handled Century, 66-6, in a double dual on Jan. 18. The Hawks barely got past Century, 39-28, the same night.
“We saw it against Century and we knew they could do it to us,” Cannon said. “Not surprised when my kids are wrestling state-ranked kids — keeping it close, which is good — but they’re trying to win matches using rec league or JV moves.”
Glenelg won the coin toss and used it to its advantage right out of the gate. Max Sotka picked up a quick pin at 170 pounds, and after Zach Wasilewski checked in for River Hill at 182, the Gladiators answered with Sam Alsheimer, who returned from a football injury less than two weeks ago.
Alsheimer, despite the long absence, delivered by building a 4-1 lead after one period and a 10-1 advantage after two en route to a 17-2 technical fall to give Glenelg an 11-0 lead.
Alex Wasilewski got the Hawks on the board with a 4-3 decision at 195, but Robbie Baxter scored all six of his points in the final minute in a 6-1 victory at 220, and Charlie Whitsett won by fall to extend the Gladiators’ lead to 20-3.
Eric Robinson cut the deficit to 20-9 with a pin at 106, but that was the last time any of the Hawks had their hands raised and the start of a run of close victories for Glenelg in tightly contested bouts.
Logan Gwin broke a 4-4 tie after two periods to beat Jonah Richardson, 8-6, at 113, Kevin Hansberger scored three of the final four points to edge freshman Michael Crisitello, 6-4, at 120, and Reed Kraemer used a third-period escape to beat Matt Greenlee, 3-2, at 126.
With Glenelg up 29-9, the most anticipated match of the night took place at 132 pounds. Glenelg junior Jared Thomas said he felt like he had something to prove against newcomer and Colorado transfer student Will Henrickson, who recently suffered his first defeat since arriving in early January, and he showed it throughout the first four minutes. Thomas quickly took a 5-0 lead and nearly secured the fall in the first minute, and he scored five more points, including two takedowns, in the second period to enter the final stanza with a 10-3 advantage.
Henrickson, however, never quit. He picked up three takedowns in the last two minutes and outscored Thomas, 8-5, in the third but ultimately fell by the score of 15-11.
“I love wrestling out-of-state kids, especially when they transfer to our state. Growing up and going to tournament it’s about who you can beat and beating kids from other states and stuff like that,” Thomas said. “I wanted to prove there shouldn’t have been so much talk about him.”
Ian Gwin (138), Jake Durkin (145) and Drew Sotka (152) all won by fall in 1:08 or quicker, and Jacob Jones (160) secured eight takedowns before closing the dual with another fall.
Glenelg (11-0 county, 19-0 overall) — 56, River Hill (7-4, 22-8) — 9
170: Max Sotka (G) pinned Jack Sheppard (RH), 0:57 [6-0]
182: Sam Alsheimer (G) tech fall Zach Wasilewski (RH), 17-2 [11-0]
195: Alex Wasilewski (RH) dec. Jake Arnone (G), 4-3 [11-3]
220: Robbie Baxter (G) dec. Kai Uecker (RH), 6-1 [14-3]
285: Charlie Whitsett (G) pinned Anand Ambrosi (RH), 3:17 [20-3]
106: Eric Robinson (RH) pinned Andres Lopex Campos (G), 5:38 [20-9]
113: Logan Gwin (G) dec. Jonah Richardson (RH), 8-6 [23-9]
120: Kevin Hansberger (G) dec. Michael Crisitello (RH), 6-4 [26-9]
126: Reed Kraemer (G) dec. Matt Greenlee (RH), 3-2 [29-9]
132: Jared Thomas (G) dec. Will Henrickson (RH), 15-11 [32-9]
138: Ian Gwin (G) pinned Billy Szeliga (RH), 0:32 [38-9]
145: Jake Durkin (G) pinned Daniel Han (RH), 1:08 [44-9]
152: Drew Sotka (G) pinned Christian Bond (RH), 1:05 [50-9]
160: Jacob Jones (G) pinned Tyler Hopkins (RH), 4:26 [56-9]
Mt. Hebron (10-1, 19-3) — 54, Hammond (7-4, 30-5) — 13
Long Reach (3-8, 3-10) — 40, Howard (3-8, 4-15) — 34
106: Trey Mitchell (Ho) pinned Joseph Reilly (LR) 0:40 [0-6]
113: Arjun Kundu (Ho) dec. Garrett Clotti (LR) 4-0 [0-9]
120: Sam Levine (LR) pinned John Collins (Ho) 1:21 [6-9]
126: Brad Foote (Ho) major dec. Mark Tong (LR) 13-0 [16-13]
132: Ryan Keeley (Ho) pinned Karl Lorena (LR) 3:30 [16-19]
138: Mohammad Shaelir (LR) pinned Gavin Romberger (Ho) 2:16 [12-19]
145: Shayan Kassiri (Ho) dec. Nahun Elias Rivera (LR) 10-4 [12-22]
152: Ien Saffer (LR) major dec. Nathan Gabriel (Ho) 9-0 [16-22]
160: Joshua Liu-Tricu (LR) fft. [22-22]
170: Dave Schlichtig (LR) pinned Chris Hallums (Ho) 2:49 [28-22]
182: Reginald Love (LR) fft. [34-22]
195: Lino Gomez (LR) pinned Spencer Lefever (Ho) 1:41 [40-22]
220: Jake Wrisk (Ho) fft. [40-28]
285: Ritchy Pierre (Ho) pinned Sean Hicks 0:21 [40-34]
Marriotts Ridge (7-4, 16-5) — 54, Centennial (3-7, 6-14) — 20