Three more Maryland prep wrestlers earned All-American honors after competing in the 2014 Cadet and Junior Freestyle National Championships in Fargo, N.D., this week.
Two Cadets -- the younger of the two age groups -- brought home hardware after placing among the top eight in their respective weight classes.
“They wrestled well and competed well,” Team Maryland coach Jay LaValley said. “This year, we expected guys to go out and battle. And that’s exactly what they did.”
South Carroll’s Joseph Thomas went 5-2 and placed fifth at 100 pounds. Thomas won his first two matches to reach the quarterfinals, but lost to Pennsylvania’s Max Murin, 10-0.
River Hill’s Brady Daniel went 4-3 to place eighth at 170 pounds. Daniel dropped his second match of the tournament to eventual finalist Kamal Bey of Illinois, but battled back through with three straight wins to earn a spot on the podium.
One Junior freestyler also earned All-American honors. Archbishop Spalding’s Logan Breitenbach went 6-2 and took fifth place at 160 pounds. Breitenbach won his first three matches to reach the quarterfinals, but fell to the backside after losing to Pennsylvania’s Chris Weiler, 15-14.
“It was heartbreaking to lose in the quarterfinals. I really wanted that national title,” Breitenbach said. “But I battled back. I proved to myself that I can do it and that I’m among the best in the country.”
It was Breitenbach’s second time earning All-American honors. Last year, he took fourth place as a Junior in the Greco-Roman national tournament at 152 pounds.
Thomas also became an All-American for the second time. He placed eighth last year at 88 pounds as a Cadet.
“The experience of being there before paid off,” LaValley said. “They knew what they needed to do to place.”
Team Maryland finished the Freestyle and Greco-Roman National Championships with six All-Americans — three in each style — a downtick after churning out 73 All-Americans in the previous five years, including 17 in 2013.
The Junior Greco-Roman team turned in the best collective performance, placing 14th in the team competition. The Cadet and Junior Freestyle teams placed 24th and 31st, respectively. The Cadet Greco-Roman team failed to score a single point.
“Mostly, the team was just young and inexperienced,” LaValley said. “It was rough watching some of those guys go out and not have the success they wanted.
“You have to be on your game for this tournament. Everybody at this level is tough. You just have to be ready to go.”
LaValley said the experience the wrestlers earned this year will bode well for their futures.
“The expectations are always high,” he said. “If you don’t set the bar high, the program will suffer.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun