Standing alongside his teammates Saturday, South Carroll sophomore Janero Marchany walked around the mat smiling from ear-to-ear wearing a king’s crown.
The young wrestler earned that crown, notching the pin that officially clinched the Class 1A state championship for the Cavaliers. With a 45-25 victory over Northern-Garrett, the program secured its first state dual meet championship.
South Carroll, which has long been a top tournament team riddled with individual state champions, was previously a state dual finalist in 2005 and semifinalists in 1995, 1999, 2001 and 2010. Marchany’s pin 49 seconds into his match at 195 pounds electrified the Cavaliers bench, as a sea of black and gold jumped up and down on the mat’s edge. It proved to be the final chapter of South Carroll’s 25-0 undefeated season and one of its five victories by fall throughout the dual.
“I had no clue that I was going to clinch the match,” Marchany said of his victory. “I heard everyone screaming and jumping around. There were so many emotions wrapped in my head it was crazy.”
Beyond clinching the first state dual-title in school history, the victory meant even more for Cavaliers coach Matt Thomas. It also represented the completion of a journey that Thomas and the Cavaliers committed to several months ago, before the season began.
“It’s the first state title for South Carroll as a dual team and it comes against my alma mater where I went to high school against my old friends, the guys I used to wrestle with,” Thomas said. “It’s a great feeling, family and friends being here at the same gym against each other getting our first state title that way. I couldn’t be more proud of our kids. We set that goal day one Nov. 15 and we accomplished it.”
The match didn’t start how South Carroll would’ve hoped with a forfeit at 106 pounds and a loss by decision at 113 pounds. However, the Cavaliers quickly reversed the momentum with three consecutive victories to take the lead, 14-9. That stretch was highlighted by a pin in 17 seconds from junior Gage Owen (132), who improved to 30-0.
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After Northern-Garrett notched back-to-back victories to take a 19-14 lead, the Cavaliers turned to some of their most accomplished wrestlers for critical victories. Both Manny (152) and AJ Rodrigues (170) dominated with pins in the opening 90 seconds, while Brandon Athey (160) and Rylan Moose (182) notched several early takedowns to establish an early advantage in their bouts.
Leading 33-19 with three weight classes remaining, it was Marchany’s turn to feed off the energy of his teammates. The sophomore did exactly that in his most important match as a Cavalier.
South Carroll’s journey to the state championship was challenging, including regular-season duals against Glenelg, 2A state semifinalist Sparrows Point and 2A runner-up Middletown. Through those tough battles, South Carroll only grew stronger, finishing the season as both county and state champions.
“I would honestly say the Sparrows Point match, after we won that,” Athey said of the pivotal dual meet on Dec. 21. “Coming into that match, it was highly anticipated — I think we were ranked No. 8 and they were ranked No. 9. We handled the match really well and it just showed what we could do together as a team.”
“I would also say Sparrows Point,” AJ Rodrigues added. “It showed what we can do against a tough opponent. We all wrestle for each other, we didn’t quit.”
South Carroll 45, Northern-Garrett 25
106: Nate Wilhelm (NG) fft.; 113: Matthew Beitzel (NG) dec. Evan Owen (SC) 11-7; 120: Ryan Athey (SC) maj. dec. Austen Slaybaugh (NG) 17-4; 126: Michael Pizzuto (SC) maj. dec. Caleb Brenneman (NG) 8-0; 132: Gage Owen (SC) pinned Austin Ravenscraft (NG) 0:17; 138: Chase Taylor (NG) pinned Kaden Cyrus (SC), 1:11. 145: Jacob Brenneman (NG) maj. dec. Anthony Bond (SC) 13-4. 152: Manny Rodrigues (SC) pinned Nick Reilly (NG) 0:42; 160: Brandon Athey (SC) dec. Devin Smith (NG) 5-2; 170: AJ Rodrigues (SC) pinned Jayden Fike (NG) 1:12; 182: Rylan Moose (SC) maj. dec. Jamison Warnick (NG) 10-1. 195: Janero Marchany (SC) pinned Trey Looney (NG) 0:49; 220: Jarnell Davis (SC) pinned Scott Beitzel (NG) 0:55; 285: Jake Beeman (NG) pinned Logan Brightful (SC) 1:03.