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Top-seeded Catonsville wrestling squad falls in Class 4A North Region dual meet semifinals to Montgomery Blair

The top-seeded Catonsville High wrestling team may have lost in the semifinals to Montgomery Blair, 40-30, in the Class 4A North Region tournament, but the Comets still have a chance to do something no other team in school history has ever done on the mat.

Should the Comets defeat underdog Chesapeake in a makeup dual meet match on Feb. 12, they would finish regular-season dual meet competition with a 14-0 record.

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No previous Comet grapplers have ever gone undefeated and no other team has reached 14 wins.

They weren’t so fortunate in the postseason as the normally pin-happy squad didn’t earn as many falls as they normally get.

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“I think we were on the same level as them, but wrestling-wise, they were tougher on the mat and all the matches we lost we were giving up pins and we didn’t pin them when we got our wins, so they deserved to win, they were the better team,” Catonsville coach Eric Warm said.

The only pins for the Comets came from senior Deontae’ Frederick (152) and junior Mateen Kareem (285).

Frederick (29-4) pinned Loann Daeninckx in 1:39.

That gave the Comets a 12-10 lead after five matches.

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Kareem (23-8) had a fall on Steven Castelbunos in 1:07, pulling the Comets with four, 28-24, with three matches left.

But pins by Brian McCaw (1:47), at 106, and Muhammad Baig (:46), at 113, sealed the match for the Blazers (12-3 region, 19-4 overall).

“We were talking about getting pins because it was going to come down to who pins who, but when I pinned my kid, I wanted to boost the team up and give them confidence, so they could go out there and be like ‘we can pin them’ ” Frederick said.

The Blazers also got pins from Jason Kaplin (5:57), at 145, Brandon Ntankeu (4:16), at 182, Elias Chen (:37), at 195, and Mervin Mancia (1:06), at 220.

Catonsville’s other points came from decisions won by Ewan Hemmis (29-5), Seth Murray-Jones (25-11), Michael Bowers (22-12) and Anointe’ Dewitt (21-8). Parker Ritter (21-12) won by forfeit.

Kaplan’s fall of Tye Perry (20-13) was a pivotal swing match.

With the score tied at 6-6 with under 30 seconds left in the third period, Perry nearly got a takedown, but Kaplan earned one instead, with 23 seconds left, and won with a pin 20 seconds later.

“That was huge,” Blair coach Tim Grover said. “He (Kaplan) was down and that kid is a real tough kid and he is a really hard worker and he’s done a good job this year. He’s taken some losses to some really tough competition, but I think that got him ready for a stage like this. That kid was pretty tough too, but he was in good shape and we were able to capitalize at the very end there. If that goes the other way, that’s a 9-point swing.”

Despite the loss, Frederick has cherished his second full season as a starter.

“This has been the most exhilarating experience I’ve ever been a part of in my years at Catonsville, he said. “The atmosphere and all the people in the stands make you want to wrestle better and they show that they care about us. As a team, we really appreciate that and we want to do better, we want to go 14-0.”

Frederick also has loftier postseason goals.

“My goal is to get on that state-placing banner,” Frederick said. “I went last year, so this time I’m trying to place this year. I’ve been working hard, put in work in the off-season to make sure I can get back in there.”

Coach Warm hopes the Comets soak in the learning experience.

“Even now, they are not down, they are motivated,” Warm said. “If we didn’t wrestle in this tournament, we had a couple weaknesses exposed and now we’ve got to go correct where we are weak and get ready to wrestle for that next tournament.”

The next tournament will be the Baltimore County tourney at New Town High on Feb. 15 and 16.

The Class 4A North Region tournament will be held at Paint Branch on Feb. 23.

Results

Montgomery Blair 40 Catonsville 30

126: Ewan Hemmis (Cat) dec. Nikolai Tochillin (MB), 3-0

132: Biruk Tona (MB) maj. dec. Chase Ritter (Cat), 13-4

138: Seth Murray-Jones (Cat) dec. Junior Kim (MB), 10-6

145: Jason Kaplin (MB) pin Tye Perry (Cat), 5:57

152: Deontae’Frederick (Cat) pin Loann Daeninckx (MB), 1:39

160: Michael Bowers (Cat) dec. Steven Vilmenay (MB), 10-7

170: Anointe’Dewitt (Cat) dec. Shalom Ayivi (MB), 10-4

182: Brandon Ntankeu (MB) pin Gabe Martin (Cat), 4:16

195: Elias Chen (MB) pin Grant Nyland (Cat), :37

220: Mervin Mancia (MB) pin Que’rell Montague (Cat), 1:06

285: Mateen Kareem (Cat) pin Steven Castelbunos (MB), 1:07

106: Brian McCaw (MB) pin Josh Sampson (Cat), 1:47

113: Muhammad Baig (MB) pin Matt Obie (Cat), :46

120: Parker Ritter (Cat) won by forfeit

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