Heading into Thursday night’s Class 1A South Region semifinals, the Loch Raven and Western Tech wrestling coaches knew the first and last two matches would be forfeited. That made for plenty of drama.
Loch Raven trailed 36-24 when Raiders senior Eddie Somerville-Williams took the mat for his 220-pound bout against Elijah Smith with a chance to win it all.
Somerville-Williams was aggressive early and pinned Smith in 35 seconds, and two forfeit wins from Ahmad Robinson (285) and Noah Goocharin (106) clinched Loch Raven’s 42-36 victory. However, the Raiders lost to Lackey in the following regional championship match by the same 42-36 score.
But just getting to that point took several clutch performances.
“I was thinking win,” Somerville-Williams said. “I know it’s crunch time, I’ve got to go 100%.”
“Eddie has been a solid contributor for four years,” Loch Raven coach Anthony Menegatti said. “Eddie has been real tough out there. He’s wrestled heavyweights before so coming down to 220 was no problem.”
Somerville-Williams’ match followed the most compelling bout on the night at 195 pounds, a 12-10 victory by Western Tech’s Mame Thiam over Loch Raven’s Thomas Oswald. Thiam secured a takedown 22 seconds into overtime for the win.
Thiam, a female state champion as a freshman and county and regional champ last year, built a 6-1 lead despite suffering a back injury that nearly ended the match. She continued to battle on and appeared to win, 10-9, despite a late takedown by Oswald. After a check at the scorer’s table, Oswald was awarded another point and the match was tied.
Did Western Tech coach Juan Solera have confidence in Thiam in overtime?
“I did. I knew on her feet she is really hard to beat,” he said. “She wrestles with me and some of the best coaches in Maryland every day and we give her everything she can handle, so when she wrestles these boys at 195 pounds she is making good work of it.”
Her fighting through the back injury was not a surprise either.
“Mame is something special, we know that for sure,” Solera said. “She’s a warrior, that’s all we can ask for out here, somebody that is a warrior is going to leave it all on the mat and she does that.”
After the Raiders’ Lila Jones (113) and Leian Wright (120) accepted forfeits to open the match, Clarence Torevillas bumped Western Tech’s lead to 15-0 with an 11-7 decision over Chris Beegan at 126.
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Dev Waters finally got the Raiders on board with a third-period pin of Brandon Thompson at 132. Aiden Torevillas pinned Nate Wenrich at 138 and the Wolverines led 21-6.
Back-to-back early pins by Loch Raven’s Malik Paige (145) and Jacob Latorre (152) pulled the Raiders within three before Western Tech’s Saul Mena (160) and Samson Menefee (171) answered with pins to give the Wolverines a 33-18 lead.
At 182, Loch Raven’s Nahki Brown pinned Vincent Bello with two seconds remaining in the first period while leading 2-0.
“I think that pretty much won the match for us there at 182 with a pin,” Menegatti said. “They had two pins right there in a row at 160 and 170 and they had some momentum going and Nahki stepped in there and stomped it.”
Thiam’s overtime decision appeared to get some momentum back for the Wolverines, but Somerville-Williams didn’t let that affect his match.
“I just cleared my head and focused on mine,” he said. “I knew my teammates would come through so I just focused on my next match.”
“We try to make it as exciting as we can,” Solera said. “We brought as many people as we could today, we tried to fill as many holes. We knew they were sitting on the 12 points the whole match, so in my mind I was always having 12 points added on there.”