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Lansdowne's Riley Bozeman, top, battled with Wootton's Eric Liau during the state championship match in the 106-pound class at the Class 4A/3A meet in 2019.
Lansdowne's Riley Bozeman, top, battled with Wootton's Eric Liau during the state championship match in the 106-pound class at the Class 4A/3A meet in 2019. (Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media)

Before George Dunn started his 10th season as head wrestling coach at Lansdowne High, the coach marveled at the possibility of getting at least five or six wrestlers to the state tournament at College Park.

How the team does during the regular season depends on how well some of the varsity newcomers improve.

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“We have some great young guys who have been around the program, they know what it takes, they want it, they want to be there and work hard,” Dunn said.

The top returning wrestler from last season is junior tri-captain Riley Bozeman.

Bozeman was second in the states, regionals and counties last year and finished 29-6.

In the Class 4A-3A state finals at 106 pounds, he lost to Thomas Wootton’s unbeaten Eric Liau, 6-0, who finished 41-0.

Bozeman started this season at 120 pounds, but will eventually land at 113.

“He’s bigger and stronger, he’s been training all summer,” said Dunn, noting getting off the bottom against elite wrestlers was his Achilles Heel. “He lost county finals because he couldn’t get off the bottom, so that is something we’ve focused on."

Junior tri-captain Kyree Briscoe (170 pounds) returns after taking a break last season.

As a freshman, Briscoe finished 33-6 and was a Baltimore County tournament finalist. “He took a year off and he is back and he is looking real good,” Dunn said.

Senior Jacob Lipscomb (132) returns as a two-time state qualifier and is the team’s third captain. He was second in the Baltimore County tournament and fourth in the regional tournament last season.

Lansdowne Jacob Lipscomb, top, is back for his senior year after qualifying for the state tournament two years in a row.
Lansdowne Jacob Lipscomb, top, is back for his senior year after qualifying for the state tournament two years in a row. (Jeffrey F. Bill / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

“Having those good guys around will bring those young guys around fast,” Dunn said.

Although Altof Meraj (182) is a senior, he is new to the program and a first-year wrestler who transferred in from Afghanistan.

“His dad is a translator for the Army,” said Dunn, noting his freshman brother, Ishmael, is also on the team. “He (Ishmael) is a work in progress, but he is going to be good,” Dunn said.

Junior Idriss Zoutina (138) was good enough to win 17 matches last year as a sophomore.

“We are looking for big things. This could be a breakout year for him,” Dunn said.

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Mountaha Ndiaye (220) and Marcus Heath (285) are the heavyweights.

Rookies and JV promotions will fill out the rest of the lineup.

Sophomore first-year wrestlers Lucas Kirby (106) and Jacob Young (126) move to the mat from the regional-champion cross country team.

Scott Snyder (113) is another first-year wrestler looking to make an impact, along with sophomores Luca Espozito (120 or 126) or Lamont Campbell (152).

Last year’s squad won 10 matches, but missed the dual meet regional tournament because they lost a tie-breaker to Kenwood.

“I like the young talent coming in. I like the JV guys ready to step up,” Dunn said. “They don’t realize they have it yet, but they have some really good wrestlers around them.”

The Vikings (2-1) opened the season with a 60-18 dual-meet win over Patapsco.

In a tri-meet, they defeated Overlea, 48-28, and lost to Sparrows Point, 72-12.

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