Carroll County is sending 31 boys into action at the state wrestling tournament, which begins Friday, March 6 at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. Here’s a look at preview capsules for each wrestler:
Stephen Hurst, senior
First match: La Plata’s Max Hayes (23-11)
Outlook: The Knights’ lone state qualifier placed second at regionals, and his two No. 1 seeds on the bottom of the bracket are Decatur’s Noah Reho (34-3) and FSK’s Nathan Perry (33-6). Hurst beat Perry for the Carroll County championship two weeks ago.
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Bodey Griffin, freshman
First match: Boonsboro’s Darby Bryant (41-1)
Outlook: Griffin’s state tourney debut will be a tough one, with Bryant in his opener and unbeaten Owen Butler (23-0) of La Plata likely waiting in the next round. Owings Mills’ Phil Smith, a state champ at 138 last season, is also in Griffin’s bracket.
Wyatte Johns, senior
First match: Randallstown’s Abdulbasit Bamidele (24-14)
Outlook: Johns gets a No. 1 seed in his bracket after going 1-2 at 220 last year at states and he’s one eight wrestlers with 30 or more wins. Johns is coming off a regional title at the 2A-1A North tourney where he had three first-period pins.
Sam Kinloch, senior
First match: Stephen Decatur’s Micah Bourne (31-5)
Outlook: Kinloch’s up against a tough foe for starters, and Xavier Kresslein (45-2) of Poolesville is his likely quarterfinal foe if he gets past Bourne. Kresslein took third at 170 at states a year ago.
Nathan Perry, senior
First match: Queen Anne’s Eric Smith (33-1)
Outlook: Perry went from county runner-up to regional champ, and a potential third matchup with Century’s Stephen Hurst looms in the semifinals. Perry beat Hurst during the regular season, but Hurst clipped Perry to win the CCAL title.
First match: North Caroline’s Trenton Hilliard (27-7)
Outlook: Butler fell short of a regional title but won the consolation final and goes into states with a little momentum. Glenelg’s Drew Sotka (41-2) won a state title at 170 last winter, and he’s at the top of Butler’s bracket.
Anthony Marsico, junior
First match: Easton’s Maximus Bentley (30-2)
Outlook: How’s this for an opener — Bentley won a state title at 126 pounds last season, he’s a Bayside Conference champion, and took third at War on the Shore in 2020. Marsico took third at the county tournament and fourth at the 2A-1A West tourney.
Ryan Ohler, sophomore
First match: La Plata’s Gabe Jackson (29-9)
Outlook: Ohler was added to the field because of another wrestler’s injury — Southern’s Kolton Lee, who edged Ohler in overtime at regionals, took second there but couldn’t compete this weekend. Ohler has Winters Mill’s Colby Unkart (34-3) on his side.
Jake Boog, freshman
First match: Northeast-AA’s Michael Carnes (29-12)
Outlook: Nobody has more wins in this weight class than Boog, but he’s got a top-ranked wrestler on his side in Leonardrown’s Sean Vosburgh (36-3). Boog won his consolation final at the 4A-3A East tourney to roll into states.
Thomas Chenoweth, senior
First match: Churchill’s Jaden Selby (20-6)
Outlook: Chenoweth wrestled back and placed sixth at states a year ago at 152, and the good news is four-time state champ Jason Kraisser of Centennial graduated. Marriotts Ridge’s Ethan Bohan (35-0) in on the other side of the bracket, and defeated Chenoweth 8-4 in the regular season.
Hunter Green, senior
First match: Quince Orchard’s Rodrigo Cornejo (37-7)
Outlook: Green gets a No. 1 seed in his opening bout with Cornejo, and C. Milton Wright’s James Riveira (33-0) is in this bracket as well. Riveira won a state title at 120 last year, and the Mavs moved away from him when they faced C.M. Wright in the 3A state duals semifinals.
Travis Green, freshman
First match: Bel Air’s Gavin McDowell (35-7)
Outlook: Green’s reward for getting past McDowell likely means a quarterfinal matchup with Jason Liau (36-0) of Wootton. Liau’s brother Eric won the 4A-3A state crown at 106 a year ago. Green enters the state tourney as a county and regional runner-up.
Connor Livingston, senior
First match: Linganore’s Chase Shultz (18-3)
Outlook: Livingston bumps down one weight class for the state tourney this year (he went 0-2 at 195 in 2019). He didn’t get to face Shultz when the Mavericks beat Linganore 45-26 on Dec. 18, but the Lancers sophomore was ranked fourth across 4A-3A at 182. Livingston was fifth.
Adam Mattson, senior
First match: Franklin’s Cole Kreshtool (27-18)
Outlook: Mattson is looking to better his state tourney experience from a year ago, when he went 1-2 at 160 pounds. His senior season includes county and regional titles, and 26 pins. Top-ranked Greg Griffith of Chopticon (40-1) is on Mattson’s side of the state bracket.
Grant Warner, senior
First match: Clarksburg’s Santiago Burke-Carreno (19-6)
Outlook: Two of Warner’s defeats have come in the postseason, one in the state duals finals and the other last weekend in the 4A-3A tourney. Severna Park’s Ty Broadway (39-0) won the region title by major decision, but he’s on the other side of the state bracket.
Brandon Athey, sophomore
First match: Carver Vo Tech’s Justin Jackson (30-6)
Outlook: Athey is one of four Carroll grapplers in this weight class, as he joins Century’s Stephen Hurst, FSK’s Nathan Perry, and WM’s Hunter Merson. Athey has Merson on his side of the bracket, along with Jackson in his opener.
Ryan Athey, sophomore
First match: Perryville’s Chase Rondone (31-7)
Outlook: A state finalist last year at 106 and the reigning Times Wrestler of the Year, Athey enters his second state tourney foray with a county title and a regional runner-up. If he wants a rematch with Northern’s Jacob Brenneman, the 2A-1A West champ, it will have to be in the state finals.
Antonio Bradford, junior
First match: Sparrows Point’s Jake Lure (27-14)
Outlook: Bradford reached a state final last winter at 160, so he has something to defend and improve upon in 2020. Tough customers loom in Decatur’s James Parana (33-1) and La Plata’s Jason Mohler (43-2).
Rylan Moose, freshman
First match: Stephen Decatur’s Kyle Elliott (25-8)
Outlook: Moose is one of the Cavaliers’ four rookies making a state tourney debut. A win over Elliott in his first bout likely brings Fairmont Heights’ Jaron Fernandors (37-1) in the quarterfinals.
Michael Pizzuto, freshman
First match: Fairmont Heights’ Toluwalase Adetosoye (27-9)
Outlook: Pizzuto is the last unbeaten county wrestler, and perhaps his biggest challenges are on the other side of the bracket. Mountain Ridge’s Jesse Fresh is 29-3, and Williamsport’s Zach Starr is 43-5 — Pizzuto edged them both 4-3 at the 2A-1A West tourney last weekend.
Gage Owen, freshman
First match: Overlea’s Marcus Chase (19-12)
Outlook: Owen cruised to a regional title and has plenty of steam in time for states. And he could face a former SC wrestler in Stephen Decatur senior Jagger Clapsadle (38-3) if they each advance to the finals.
Jake Rippeon, junior
First match: Loch Raven’s Connor Persaud (31-17)
Outlook: After losing his regional opener to WM’s Colby Unkart, Rippeon got hot and won three matches to place third. Decatur’s Nico D’Amico (38-1) and Dunbar’s Cameron Deville (35-3) could make it tough for Rippeon past his first bout.
AJ Rodrigues, freshman
First match: Perryville’s Jeffrey Leonard (31-4)
Outlook: Rodrigues and Williamsport’s Landen Harbaugh are tied for the most wins in the weight class, and Harbaugh claimed the 2A-1A West title last weekend while Rodrigues placed third. A rematch could take place in the state finals.
Richie Summerlin, senior
First match: Loch Raven’s Tony Dong (19-13)
Outlook: Summerlin has 2A-1A West champ Zach Brady of Middletown (30-3) on his side of the bracket, and SC’s senior lost the consolation final last weekend. Patterson Mill’s Mason Sprinkel (39-1) could be a semifinal opponent as well.
Jack Conrad, senior
First match: Northwest’s Yoann Olympio (28-4)
Outlook: Conrad’s path to a state final might include Man Valley’s Connor Livingston (42-7), a county foe who is on the Owl’s side of the bracket. Conrad won his consolation final at the 4A-3A East tourney to place third after failing to place at the county tournament.
Cayden Beard, senior
First match: North Harford’s Theodore Stinson (9-0)
Outlook: Beard got pinned by Liberty’s McClain Butler in the consolation finals at regionals, and now he has to face a top seed in his opening bout. Glenelg’s Drew Sotka (41-2), a state champ at 170 last season, is on Beard’s side of the bracket.
Zach Kirby, senior
First match: Queen Anne’s Pete Lemmons (27-5)
Outlook: Kirby is 0-3 against SC’s AJ Rodrigues and 34-1 against the rest of the state. He could get a rematch with Williamsport’s Landen Harbaugh, who beat him 8-4 at regionals, if they each win two matches at states.
Cian McCauley, junior
First match: Dunbar’s Pat Ford (27-6)
Outlook: Getting past Ford likely means a quarterfinal matchup with Stephen Decatur’s Johnny Hofman (34-6). But McCauley comes into the tournament with momentum, having won the consolation final at regionals with a 9-3 win over Middletown’s Chad Hoy.
Hunter Merson, senior
First match: Southern-AA’s Christian Taylor (21-14)
Outlook: Merson won a regional title last weekend by blanking Century’s Stephen Hurst 7-0, which gives him a better path toward reaching the state finals. Merson is ranked fifth in 2A-1A, and might have to deal with Carver’s Justin Jackson (30-6) in the semifinals.
Colby Unkart, senior
First match: Fairmont Heights’ Edgardo Fernandez (21-14)
Outlook: Unkart is back at states after placing sixth at 132 last season. He also enters the field as a regional champ, won by injury default last weekend. Stephen Decatur’s Nick D’Amico (38-1), ranked first in 2A-1A, looms on the other side of the bracket.
Outlook: Vagnier hit a snag at regionals and took fourth, which means his road to state title will be a challenging one. SC’s Gage Owen is with Vagnier on the top of the bracket, and Owen pinned him in the second period at regions last weekend.