The annual Duals at Westminster wrestling tournament seems to come at just the right time for those grapplers looking to keep the holiday break at bay.
It’s two days full of competition, which concluded Friday at Westminster High School. It’s a field of 13 teams from around the region. And it’s a chance for those involved to rack up their share of matches along the way.
Those who want to succeed know they need to impose a self limit on the traditional Christmas treats, and maintain a consistent workout during the holiday break from school, to stay sharp and win.
“Very gritty, very hard,” said Liberty’s Noah Wienclawski. “Especially making weight two days in a row. It’s very challenging. But whenever it’s at the end of the tournament, you see the light at the end of the tunnel. And you’re like, ‘All right, time to finish it out.’”
Wienclawski helped the Lions go 8-1 at the Duals, with their only loss coming in their finale against Linganore on Friday afternoon. Liberty took fourth in the team standings — Dunbar won the crown, with the Lancers placing second and Hammond taking third.
Wienclawski went 9-0, while Ryan Ohler, Sammy Nehme, and McClain Butler each going 8-1. Jacob Gaskin and Anthony Marsico went 7-2 for Liberty. Daniel Bird and Matthew Slowikowski both finished 6-3.
Manchester Valley and Westminster also represented Carroll County in the Duals, now in its sixth year. The Mavericks went 5-4, and the Owls finished 5-5 (they competed in a bonus round at the end of the event).
Wienclawski said he was proud of Liberty’s performance, which could very well be a springboard for the remainder of the season. The Lions take an 11-1 dual-meet record into 2019, and get back into Carroll County Athletic League competition next Wednesday with a tri-meet back at Westminster High.
Adam Mattson posted a 9-0 record for Man Valley, while Chad Schaffer went 7-2. Thomas Chenoweth, Grant Warner, Connor Livingston, and Nate Renfro all went 6-3 (Brayden Safely finished 5-3).
Mavericks coach Dave Dodson said his team missed out on a few opportunities for wins along the way — Liberty clipped MV 39-36, and Queen Anne’s took a 39-38 decision — but was happy for the chance to participate.
"It gives you something to focus on over the holidays … it keeps them focused on their weight and conditioning,” Dodson said. “That’s a major plus.”
Westminster went 1-4 on Thursday but turned that around Friday with four consecutive wins to close out the Duals. The Owls had Ben Carlow, Tyler Beaver, Jack Conrad, and Zach Caltrider each finish 7-3. Marley Warfield went 6-4.
Westminster coach Mike Flemming said facing some non-traditional competition — the Duals included Northern Garrett, Quince Orchard, and North County (Anne Arundel) in the field — made for intriguing matchups. And, being allowed two pounds for each weight class for the first time this season was a boost for many wrestlers.
Jeff Kent, Liberty’s coach, agreed. And when those athletes are full and competing comfortably, good things are bound to happen.
“A wrestler that is is eating,” Kent said, “is a happy wrestler.”
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NOTE: Linganore’s Earl Blake (lightweight) and Dunbar’s Jordan Pryor (heavyweight) each received the Duals’ Outstanding Wrestler honors for the second year in a row.