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Western Tech's Ike Kalu, right, fights to maintain control of Middletown's Cam Farrow in the championship match of the 195-pound weight class in the state wrestling tournament at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. Kalu lost in triple overtime and finished second.
Western Tech's Ike Kalu, right, fights to maintain control of Middletown's Cam Farrow in the championship match of the 195-pound weight class in the state wrestling tournament at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. Kalu lost in triple overtime and finished second. (Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Western Tech sent four wrestlers to the Maryland state tournament, but junior Ike Kalu (31-2) was the one that advanced the farthest in the Class 1A-2A competition.

Wrestling at 195 pounds, state runner-up Kalu opened with an 8-0 decision over Winters Mill’s Hunter Lowe.

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He knocked off Snow Hill’s Jordan Bishop in the second round, 5-1, and scored a 10-1 major decision over North Caroline’s Alex Grable in the semifinals.

In the finals, Kalu lost in the ultimate tiebreaker to Middletown’s Cam Farrow.

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The score was tied, 2-2, at the end of regulation, one-minute overtime and two 30-second overtimes.

Farrow had the top position in the ultimate overtime and rode out Kalu for the 30 seconds.

“His only two losses this year were just like that, triple overtime, top-bottom rideouts,” Western Tech coach Juan Solera said. “He gave it his all and he came up short, but it pays off for a great off-season, because if I thought he was working hard before, I can only imagine that he is going to work 10 times harder to make sure that never happens again.”

That off-season should come soon as Solera plans to enter Kalu in the NHSCA High School Nationals Junior Division in Virginia Beach, March 23-25.

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“I’m talking with his parents about doing junior nationals and he’s definitely going to do national duals,” Solera said.

Last year, Kalu finished fourth in the state tournament at 170 pounds and had a 35-3 record.

His 66-5 record over the past two years and 85-17 mark over three years is even more remarkable, considering his lack of experience.

“That’s pretty impressive for a guy that never touched a mat before high school,” Solera said.

During a match against Lansdowne, he was doing wind sprints, while the match was still going on, after he defeated his opponent.

“That’s what matters, conditioning matters,” said Kalu, who has also improved other aspects of his wrestling. “My top body game used to be terrible, but nowadays, I feel like nobody can get me.”

Kalu’s brother, Chukwudi, was third in the state as a heavyweight last year and is wrestling at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

After watching Ike Kalu win the regional and county titles this year, Solera is confident he can wrestle at a higher level in college, but for now he is looking forward to getting him back at Western Tech next year.

“It’s awesome because he’s got a good team behind him that are going to be following his path,” Solera said.

Joining Kalu at this year’s state tournament were seniors Mohammed Sow (145 pounds, 31-15), Jonathan Jacobs (170, 30-14) and Edmond Harrison (220, 30-7).

Sow lost his first match, but won his next two in the consolation round.

His quest to wrestle for fifth place ended in a 3-2 loss to Perryville’s Jarrett Hunter.

“Mohammed was 2-2 and he wasn’t even supposed to be in the tournament. He was the alternate and made it into the tournament and had a great fight and he lost a close match just before the placement round, but he put up a good fight for us,” Solera said. “He did really well for us this year as a senior.”

Jacob missed weight by .1 pounds and forfeited his two matches. It was the first time in his career he missed weight.

Harrison won his first bout, 9-4, over Surrattsville’s Thomas Hedgepeth, but lost twice in the consolation round.

Vikings, Comets shine in postseason

Lansdowne went undefeated during the regular season in dual meets and the Vikings sent a pair of wrestlers to the state tournament where they competed in the Class 3A-4A meet.

At 113, senior Desean Hunter (30-9) lost his first-round match, 3-2, to Bowie’s Brian Commock and he was eliminated by James M. Bennett’s James Hugues in the consolation bracket’s first round, 6-1.

At 126, Da’Montez Rawlings (27-14) lost a technical fall, 16-1, in the first round to Huntingtown’s Alex Kephart.

In the consolation round, Rawlings eliminated North Point’s Brandon Gonnella with a 9-1 major decision.

Rawlings’ career ended with a 14-7 loss to Springbrook’s Billy Madden.

Rawlings, who was fourth in the Class 4A-3A North Region tournament, was also fifth in the Baltimore County wrestling tournament.

Other Lansdowne wrestlers who placed in the top six for the fifth-place Vikings at the county meet were Kyree Briscoe (2nd, 170), Riley Bozeman (4th, 106), Jacob Lipscomb (4th, 120), Herberth Franco (5th, 195), Brandon Ngyuyen (6th, 220) and James Alston (6th, 285).

Catonsville junior Deontae Frederick (21-15) was the lone Comet at the state tournament.

Frederick was pinned in the first round by top-seeded Alejandro Lopez (41-4), of Quince Orchard.

Frederick lost to Huntingtown’s Kaleb Dolina, 10-1, in the consolation bracket.

Frederick, who was fourth in the regionals, was also fourth in the county tournament.

Catonsville’s Ewan Hemmis (113) was third at the county meet and Parker Ritter (106) was fifth.

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