For the 15 Harford County wrestlers who will make the trip to College Park today (Friday) for the Maryland State Wrestling Championships, only Fallston senior Zach Cullison has had any real success.
Cullison, a Class 1A-2A, 119-pound state champion as a Patterson Mill Huskies wrestler last year, is back and a contender for this year's 1A-2A 132-pound title, but as a Cougar.
Cullison is one of five Cougars to qualify for the tourney. Fallston's five is more than all other Harford schools.
Cullison, 32-1, will begin his title quest versus Marriotts Ridge sophomore Andrew Blaylock (10-22).
Teammate Joe Medicus (29-7), a junior, will also open with a Marriotts Ridge opponent, senior Jeff Barbera (31-7) in a 106 bout.
CJ Austin (34-1), a Fallston junior and the Cougars other region champ, will begin his 145 bracket against Middletown senior Vincent Wilkes (36-6).
Also competing for the Cougars are juniors Austin Rutkowski and Ridge Myers. Rutkowski, 30-10, will compete at 182 pounds with a first-round match against Sparrows Point junior James Krug (40-1). Myers, 30-3, will compete at 220 pounds, with a first-round match against Loch Raven senior Ryan Schanberger (34-6).
Bel Air will send three wrestlers into the 3A-4A battle. Leading the Bobcats is 170-pound region champion William Holder-Moore. Holder-Moore, a 34-3 junior, will open against Paint Branch senior Taylor Van Meers (29-11).
Senior Jeff Taylor, a region and UCBAC runner-up at 132, will battle at that weight, with a first-round match against DuVal junior Lionel Green (24-4).
Bel Air sophomore John Cross is the final Bobcat entry, competing at 152 pounds. Cross, 31-9 and younger brother of former Bel Air state champion Matt Cross, will open against defending state champion, LaPlata sophomore Josh Llopez (40-1).
Aberdeen's lone qualifier, senior Jasaan Beck, is also competing at 152 pounds. Beck (29-11) will begin with a match against Clyde McBride, a 27-6 junior from Charles Flowers.
Harford's other region champion, Dillon Brush, is also Harford Tech's lone state qualifier. Brush, a 38-2 senior, will face Lansdowne sophomore Russell Cunningham (18-15).
Patterson Mill will send two wrestlers into the mix, Jake Nikkila and Corey Myers. Nikkila, a 33-5 freshman at 126 pounds, will get his first taste of state action with a first-round match with Northwestern senior Marcus Whiting (26-6).
Myers, a 31-7 senior, will open against Mountain Ridge's Jason Wright, a undefeated senior at 39-0.
C. Milton Wright will also be represented by two wrestlers, Doug Their and Ty Rochester.
Their, a 29-10 sophomore at 170, will begin his tourney against Springbrook senior Aaron Perez (29-4).
Rochester, a 31-8 senior at 220, will open against Hereford junior Mike Swiger (20-4).
North Harford has one entry in Jordan Avig, a 28-9 sophomore at 113 pounds. Avig's tournament will get started with a first-round bout against Tuscarora's Anthoney Savage, an undefeated sophomore at 36-0.
The state wrestling tournament gets under way today inside the University of Maryland's Cole Field House in College Park. Preliminaries, quarterfinals and consolation preliminaries will fill out today's action, starting at 2:30 p.m. and running to approximately 10:15 p.m.
Wrestling will resume Saturday at 9:30 a.m. with consolation bouts, while championship semifinals will begin at 11 a.m. Consolation quarters, semis and finals will run from 1:15 to 6 p.m., while state championship bouts will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The 1A-2A title matches will run from 106 to 285 pounds and 3A-4A title matches will run from 285 to 106 pounds.