Not too many wrestling coaches would get overly excited about taking second in a tournament.
But Century coach Steve Willingham seemed more than satisfied with finishing second in the Jeff Yingling Memorial Wrestling Tournament on Wednesday at Francis Scott Key High School.
It must be considered that the winner, Frederick County’s Tuscarora (207.5 points), had twice as many wrestlers in the finals and Century is a more inexperienced team than the squad that won the event the past two years.
“We are trying to win, trying to be No. 1,” said Willingham, whose team crowned two champions in freshman Lorenzo Lira (106 pounds) and junior Tom Morey (220). “But I am happy with our performance.”
Francis Scott Key had four champions on its home mats — juniors Dontae Smith (126) and Kane Richardson (195), sophomore Nathan Perry (132), and senior Nate Imes (182).
Imes (6-1) wrestled Century senior Eli Freas (6-5) in the only tournament final that featured two county grapplers. It was the second year in a row Imes faced a Knight in the championship bout, and he needed only 1 minute, 26 seconds to record a pin this time.
“Last year, I faced Cody Davis, and lost,” Imes said of match in which he got pinned with seven seconds remaining to the eventual county champion. “This year, I really wanted to make a statement and win.”
Francis Scott Key senior Nate Imes talks about winning the FSK tourney title.
Key’s Richardson (4-1) and Perry (7-6) also won by pin.
Richardson took down Tuscarora’s Hunter Suter in 2:05, and Perry decked Tuscarora’s Paul Kirkpatrick in 4:00.
Smith (11-1) repeated as champion, but his points came late in the match in the 9-0 triumph over Tuscarora’s Vinnie Catania. Smith scored three points on a near fall late in the second period and six more in the final period on an escape, takedown, and back points.
He said he felt a lot of pressure going into the match.
“I set the bar kind of high last year when I won it,” Smith said. “So I was like, ‘I am going to win, I am going to win, I am going to win.’ And everybody was like, ‘Man, you are going to win. We have a lot of faith in you.”
Morey (4-0) also repeated as champion and he had to come from behind to win in the closest match of the 14 finals. He edged Tuscarora’s Troy Hillard, 2-1, scoring on a stalling point in the middle of the third period, then prevailing on an escape in the final seconds.
Lorenzo (8-2) had a 4-1 lead before pinning Tuscarora’s Mitchell Markoff in 3:03.
After finishing third last season, Gerstell sophomore Rami Tadros placed second. Brunswick’s Shane Cockerham pinned Tadros in 5:45.
“He was in it until the end,” Gerstell coach Patrick Lloyd said. “I know it says fall on the bout sheet, but that does tell the story of how well Rami wrestled. He did a great job. The kid from Brunswick had a real good turn and he got caught.”
106 Lira Lorenzo (C) pin Mitchell (T) 3:03
113 Garrett Cioff (LR) by forfeit
120 Shane Hovemale (Smi.) pin Stephen Hurst (C) 1:40