Harford Tech, led by two individual champions and 11 others placing fifth or better, won the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference wrestling tournament title Saturday at Edgewood High School.
Seniors Quincy Gash and Kelvin Mendez won championships as the Cobras piled up 235 points to overtake Bel Air’s total of 231.5. Bel Air led Tech by a half-point, 219.5 to 219, before the finals. All placement matches, first through sixth, were wrestled at the same time per weight class.
C. Milton Wright finished a close third with 229.5 points, while Rising Sun (135.5) was fourth and North East (127) was fifth. Rounding out the team scoring were North Harford (sixth, 114), Bo Manor (seventh, 91), Havre de Grace (eighth, 86), Patterson Mill (ninth, 68), Perryville (10th, 55), Edgewood (11th, 53), Aberdeen (12th, 46), Fallston (13th, 40), Elkton (14th, 34) and Joppatowne (15th, 6).
“It was a three-horse race coming in here, we kind of knew that. I think the difference for us, and I’ve been telling my kids all year, it’s going to take all of us,” Tech coach Ja’Juan Burrell said. “I said, the way things might shape up, we could feasibly put all 14 on the podium. We only got 13, but 13 on the podium makes a huge difference when you’re talking about placement points. I couldn’t be any prouder of these kids.”
Gash (31-2) scored the Cobras’ first title at 138 pounds. Gash, the three seed, knocked off Bel Air sophomore Chris Nice in the final. Gash led 4-3 in the third period, where he started in the down position. A reversal and three near-fall points gave Gash a 9-3 decision.
“Honestly, I’m lost for words,” Gash said. “I’m just ecstatic to even be here to be a champion, because I’ve always been counted out, ever since I was a kid, so this is something special,” Gash said.
Teammate Mendez also beat a Bel Air opponent to win the 195-pound title. Mendez (27-0) scored a pair of first-period takedowns to Cade Zengel 4-1. Mendez, starting the second period down, quickly escaped and followed with a takedown and pin in 2:53.
“I got up, tied up with him, and I was originally going for a headlock,” Mendez said. “Changed it to a half, pinned him on the way down.”
Kevin Mendez, Kelvin’s twin brother, was edged 5-3 in the 152 final by Bel Air senior Daniel Cross (24-3). With the match tied at 3 in the third period, Cross scored a reversal with 45 seconds left. Cross was able to ride out Mendez for the win.
Cross’ win was the Bobcats’ only championship despite having nine wrestlers in the finals.
His win came after three teammates, all top seeds, were beaten in consecutive title matches.
“I saw that my teammates were losing, I was like a little upset with that, but I was thinking, this is my match,” Cross said.
North Harford junior Cruz Cespedes (38-0), one of three Hawk champions, won his second UCBAC title in two competitive years. Cespedes won the 106-pound title in 2020 and the 120-pound crown Saturday, beating Tech junior Logan Barkey, 5-3.
“I knew how close the match was, I wanted to get that last takedown to really secure it,” Cespedes said. “It makes me feel good, looking to get a three-time next year. This is just the beginning.”
North Harford also got titles from senior Tristan DeVoe (145) and sophomore Clay Lawrence (285), both second seeds.
DeVoe (23-8) led Bel Air senior Graden Hughes, 2-1, after one period and got a pin 51 seconds into the second.
Lawrence (36-2) also earned a pin, taking down and stopping Bel Air senior Jasanveer Aulahk in 1:07.
CMW won three titles, starting with senior Demetrios Gourgoulianis (30-4) at 113 pounds, who posted the fastest pin of the night. Gourgoulianis took Rising Sun freshman Desiderio McTague down in the first two seconds and to his back. The pin was called at the 30-second mark.
“I shot a whistle shot, which is a low single and then I just arm-barred him up,” Gourgoulianis said. “I’m striving for more than just the county championship, this is just a little step along the way, I feel like I’m miles ahead of the competition here, just looking forward to next week and the week after that.”
Joshua Strong, a CMW sophomore, upset Bel Air junior Gavin McDowell, who came in with an unblemished 29-0 record. The match went to the third period scoreless, where McDowell chose to let Strong up from bottom to begin the period.
Strong (30-3) held the 1-0 lead until 15 seconds were left. McDowell went for a winning takedown, but Strong held him off and scored his own takedown for a 3-0 win.
Carter Goscinski (28-6), a CMW senior, was a winner by pin in the 160 final over Bel Air junior Taran Johnson at the 2:52 mark.
CMW’s other finalist, freshman Kane Bowers, ran into a sophomore stud, Rising Sun’s unbeaten Tyler Garvin (41-0) in the 106 final. Garvin scored 10 first-period points on his way to a 19-2 technical fall.
Cecil County wrestlers won the other four weight classes. At 126, Bo Manor senior Chase Rondone (36-1) beat Bel Air junior Manny Lucas, 8-3, while at 170, Rising Sun sophomore Mason Testerman (37-4) edged Bel Air junior Savion Ricketts, 11-7.
At 220, Rising Sun freshman Elijah Farr (27-6) pinned Tech senior Robert Okougbo in 2:11, while in an all Cecil County final at 182, North East senior Ethan Doctor (33-2) pinned Rising Sun junior Collin Bell in 1:10.
106: Tyler Garvin (RS) tech. fall Kane Bowers (CMW), 19-2; 113: Demetrios Gourgoulianis (CMW) pinned Desiderio McTague (RE), 0:30; 120: Cruz Cespedes (NH) dec. Logan Barkey (HT), 5-2; 126: Chase Rondone (BM) dec. Manny Lucas (BA), 8-3; 132: Joshua Strong (CMW) dec. Gavin McDowell (BA), 3-0; 138: Quincy Gash (HT) dec. Chris Nice (BA), 9-3; 145: Tristan DeVoe (NH) pinned Graden Hughes (Bel Air), 2:51; 152: Daniel Cross (BA) dec. Kevin Mendez (HT), 5-3; 160: Carter Goscinski (CMW) pinned Taran Johnson (BA), 2:53; 170: Mason Testerman (RS) dec. Savion Ricketts (BA), 11-7; 182: Ethan Doctor (NE) pinned Collin Bell (RS), 1:10; 195: Kelvin Mendez (HT) pinned Cade Zengel (BA), 2:53; 220: Elijah Farr (RS) pinned Robert Okougbo (HT), 2:12; 285: Clay Lawrence (NH) pinned Jasanveer Aulahk (BA), 1:08