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Wrestling: 2021 Carroll County Athletic League team preview capsules

Century

Coach: Steve Willingham, 5th year

Last year: 12-19, 1-5 CCAL

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First match: Jan. 14 vs Westminster

Key losses: Jack Armstrong, Nick Ellis, Stephen Hurst

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Key returners: Carson Fitzgerald, senior 120; Jake Hurst, junior 126; Ben Johnston, senior 132

Outlook: Losing Stephen Hurst (37-7, 18 pins) to graduation meant losing a first-team all-county pick from a year ago, but Willingham and the Knights have veterans at the top of their lineup in Fitzgerald (31-10, second-team all-county), Jake Hurst, and Johnston. Century is dealing with COVID-19 issues to start the season and had its Jan. 5 opener with Manchester Valley postponed.

Francis Scott Key

Coach: Bill Hyson, 42nd year

Last year: 4-10, 0-6 CCAL

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First match: Jan. 7 vs Winters Mill

Key losses: Wyatte Johns, Sam Kinloch, Nathan Perry

Key returners: Bodey Griffin, sophomore 152; Zach Kinloch, junior 126; Josh Rouse, junior 140; Liam Weeks, sophomore 170

Outlook: The Eagles lost a pair of first-team all-county selections to graduation in Johns (32-10) and Perry (38-7), and Hyson said via email the program is thin this year with a low turnout and limited depth. But FSK will rely on Zach Kinloch (29-8 at 106) to help stabilize the lineup, Hyson said.

Liberty

Coach: Joe Zaccagnini, 1st year

Last year: 13-18, 2-4 CCAL

First match: Jan. 12 vs Winters Mill

Key losses: McClain Butler, Kyle Hutchinson, Jake Slicher

Key returners: Anthony Marsico, senior 152; Ryan Ohler, junior 145; Justin Richardson, senior 170

Outlook: The Lions have a new coach in Zaccagnini and bring back most of their lineup from a year ago, although they graduated a stud in Butler. He took second at the 2A-1A state tourney (182) and finished with 135 career wins, most in Liberty history. “The team is looking to compete with everyone in the county and to build off the success that was started last year,” Zaccagnini said via email.

138: Ryan Ohler (L) pin Logan Hudson 3:56. Wrestling, Liberty at Francis Scott Key. Liberty defeated FSK 54-30.
138: Ryan Ohler (L) pin Logan Hudson 3:56. Wrestling, Liberty at Francis Scott Key. Liberty defeated FSK 54-30. (Jeffrey F. Bill)

Manchester Valley

Coach: David Dodson, 4th year

Last year: 40-3, 5-1 CCAL

First match: Jan. 12 at Westminster

Key losses: Zach Brathuhn, Thomas Chenoweth, Hunter Green, Connor Livingston, Adam Mattson, Brayden Safley, Chad Schaffer

Key returners: Jake Boog, sophomore; Travis Green, sophomore; Heathe Hernandez, senior; Lee Seipp, sophomore; Grant Warner, senior

Outlook: Man Valley brings back two wrestlers from the 2020 all-county first team in Travis Green (46-7) and Warner (47-4), who placed second at the 4A-3A state tourney in 2020. The Mavericks are looking to fill several spots in their lineup because of graduation, but Dodson said via email he thinks his state duals runner-up squad from a year ago still has talent and can be “competitive in every match.”

South Carroll

Coach: Matt Thomas, 4th year

Last year: 21-3, 6-0 CCAL (champs)

Next match: Jan. 7 vs Westminster

Key loss: Richie Summerlin

Key returners: Ryan Athey, junior 120; Antonio Bradford, senior 182; Rylan Moose, sophomore 170; Gage Owen, sophomore 132; Michael Pizzuto, sophomore 126; AJ Rodrigues, sophomore 145

Outlook: The reigning county champions have their share of talent back again, led by three state champs from in Owen, Pizzuto, and Rodrigues. Thomas also returns veterans such as seniors Justin Brister (220) and Jake Rippeon (152), and juniors Brandon Athey (160) and Anthony Bond (138) to fill out the lineup. Thomas said via email the Cavs are “very thankful to have the opportunity to compete this year unlike most counties/states.”

Westminster

Coach: Mike Flemming, 5th year

Last year: 19-12, 3-3 CCAL

First match: Jan. 7 at South Carroll

Key losses: Jack Conrad, Lockslea Mayers

Key returners: Ivan Allen, sophomore; Tyler Beaver, senior; Kaden Bryan, junior; Ryder Eckenbarger, sophomore; Trevor Scott, senior

Outlook: Allen won 27 matches at 112 pounds last winter and earned second-team all-county honors, and the Owls return a first-teamer in Bryan (county champ at 195). Eckenbarger went 26-17 a season ago, Scott won 28 matches, and Beaver won 23 bouts. Flemming said via email that Westminster “should be solid from top to bottom of the lineup. We are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to compete this year.”

Winters Mill's Zach Kirby, right, sweeps Westminster's Ben Carlow off his feet as he takes him down to the mat in the 132 weight class during a wrestling match at Westminster High School on Thursday, Jan. 9.
Winters Mill's Zach Kirby, right, sweeps Westminster's Ben Carlow off his feet as he takes him down to the mat in the 132 weight class during a wrestling match at Westminster High School on Thursday, Jan. 9. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Winters Mill

Coach: Eric Meszaros, 2nd year

Last year: 19-3, 4-2 CCAL

Next match: Jan. 7 at FSK

Key losses: Cayden Beard, Logan Konold, Hunter Merson, Noah Ocasio, Jake Stiff, Colby Unkart

Key returners: Zach Kirby, senior 138; Cian McCauley, senior 220; Alex Vagnier, senior 132

Outlook: The Falcons return all-county talent in Kirby (36-7), McCauley (31-13), and Vagnier (29-12), but lost a first-team pick in 2020 to graduation in Unkart. “We are excited to get back on the mat this season and compete,” Meszaros said via email. “We have a good mix of veterans and young guys who are eager to get better each day.”

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