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South Carroll shines on Day 1 of Carroll County Athletic League wrestling tournament

South Carroll had a chance for four wrestlers to repeat as champions during Tuesday’s first day of action at the Carroll County Athletic League wrestling tournament, and the Cavaliers went 4-for-4.

Meanwhile, Winters Mill senior Zach Kirby capped his high school career with another county title as the tournament got through its 106- through 145-pound weight classes at Westminster High School.

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Carroll wrestling’s winter season is ending, despite COVID-19 modifications, with its annual county tournament, which is set to conclude Wednesday at Winters Mill High School with the 152 through 285 weight classes. Everyone involved seemed appreciative of the moment.

“It feels pretty good ... just thankful to have another season,” said SC junior Ryan Athey, who won his third career county title with a major decision against Manchester Valley’s Lee Seipp in the 120-pound final. “Most areas in the state didn’t have [this]. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

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Athey was joined by Cavaliers teammates and champions Michael Pizzuto (126), Gage Owen (132), and AJ Rodrigues (145), all sophomores who won county titles last season. Athey won as a freshman and sophomore himself (he was Times Wrestler of the Year in 2019).

Pizzuto blanked MV’s Travis Green in the 126 finals, Owen pinned WM’s Damian Claypool at 132, and Rodrigues took care of Liberty’s Ryan Ohler at 145 with a major decision in the finale.

There was no team scoring at this year’s county tournament, and teams were allowed to enter more than one wrestler in each weight class. Century had a pair of county champions in freshman Caleb Barnhill (106) and senior Carson Fitzgerald (120), who posted pins in their finals.

And Kirby decisioned Man Valley’s Jake Boog to win a county title for the second time in three seasons.

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Kirby, who reached 100 career wins last season, paused to reflect a few moments after his match. He reached a Class 2A-1A state final as a sophomore and got to the county finals last season before falling to SC’s Rodrigues. Losing that match was more than enough motivation to finish strong — Kirby wrapped up his high school career with a 111-24 record.

“I’ve been doing this for four years in high school, and 12 years altogether, since I was in first grade,” Kirby said. “It felt good to go out with a win.”

CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

106: Caleb Barnhill (C) pin Kirin Naganna (W) 5:09

113: Carson Fitzgerald (C) pin Ethan Dell (WM) 2:42

120: Ryan Athey (SC) m-dec. Lee Seipp (MV) 8-0

126: Michael Pizzuto (SC) dec. Travis Green (MV) 6-0

132: Gage Owen (SC) pin Damian Claypool (WM) 1:10

138: Zach Kirby (WM) dec. Jake Boog (MV) 9-5

145: AJ Rodrigues (SC) m-dec. Ryan Ohler (L) 9-1

CONSOLATION FINALS

106: Adam Slicher (L) pin Lance Chapman (MV) 0:43

113: Payton Collins (MV) m-dec. David Howard (MV) 14-0

120: Jake Hurst (C) dec. Ryan Postlethwait (WM) 7-0

126: Alex Vagnier (WM) pin Tyler Beaver (W) 2:08

132: Anthony Bond (SC) pin Zach Pramik (W) 0:30

138: Luis Lopez (L) dec. Ryder Eckenbarger (W) 3-1

145: Blake Ray (MV) pin Ivan Allen (W) 3:11

GIRLS LIGHTWEIGHT

Summer Shackelford (MV) Andrea Atunez (WM) 1:23

GIRLS HEAVYWEIGHT

Deborah Flores (WM) pin Arabella Canby (MV) 5:15

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