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Howard County crowns 11 champions at 2A/1A South region tournament

HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Howard County had just five teams represented at the 2A/1A South regional wrestling tournament Saturday at River Hill but still put on a dominating display with 11 champions.

Glenelg had a tournament-high five winners in Sam Alsheimer (195 pounds), Jared Thomas (138), Kevin Hansberger (126), Drew Sotka (170) and Jake Arnone (182), while Oakland Mills had three: Jalen Cornelius (120), Anthony Morales (160) and Ernie Smith (285).

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Also earning regional title were Hammond’s Shehzan Dahya (106) and Loic Tueguo (220), Southern’s Andrew Ruel (113), River Hill’s Will Henrickson (132) and La Plata’s Alex Blake (145) and Owen Butler (152).

Alsheimer, a senior and returning state finalist, won his third straight regional title and pinned his way to the championship. In the final, he needed just 44 seconds to stick Southern’s JoJo Herring in a cradle, and he wrestled a total of 1 minute, 50 seconds in his three matches combined.

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Afterwards he admitted he’s “a little bit” concerned by the lack of time he’s spent on the mat in recent weeks since he’s racked up so many quick falls.

Mount Saint Joseph junior heavyweight Isaac Righter won the National Preps title at Lehigh University on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

“We’re taking care of [my conditioning] in practice,” said Alsheimer, who heads to the state tournament with a 39-1 record. “What we can’t get on the mat in live matches we’re doing in the practice room, so I’m not really worried about it but it’s something to pay attention to.”

Thomas, meanwhile, failed to win a regional title last year before winning a state championship, and it turned out to be the last time he suffered a defeat. He made quick work of one of the classifications top contenders, Calvert’s Matthew Davis, and pinned him in a cradle in just 1:46 to keep his undefeated season alive.

Thomas, who won also regional championship as a sophomore, has won 46 consecutive matches since that loss, including 42 straight this season.

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“I’m just taking it one match at a time. I’m only worried about one thing right now and that’s getting to the state finals and finishing undefeated,” he said. “A lot of people, a perfect record doesn’t mean anything to them, but an undefeated record with a state championship would mean something to me.”

Henrickson also kept his undefeated record intact and looked as dominant as ever in winning his second straight regional crown. The top seed improved to 41-0 by beating Oakland Mills’ Quan Dunscomb for the second straight weekend, this time by a score of 16-5.

Henrickson, who finished fourth at last year’s state tournament, said he feels like he’s a week away from peaking when it will matter most.

“I’m pretty confident that if I just keep my shots going, keep my neutral game going — I need to work on bottom more — that I feel like I can do pretty well,” Henrickson said. “I’m excited.”

Championship matches from the Howard County wrestling tournament on February 15, 2019 at Mt. Hebron High School.

La Plata’s Jason Mohler got a quick takedown but couldn’t keep up with Sotka in the final. Sotka scored 16 of the next 18 points and won via major decision, 16-4, to win his second straight regional title.

He said he’s learning now how key endurance and pushing the pace can be, something he’s taking after his brother Max, who won a state championship last year.

“Just like my brother, I’m best in neutral,” said Sotka, who is 36-6 this season. “I’ve been working on my endurance so I can get like him, but I know neutral is my best spot so I know if I get there I can take anyone down and let them up and take them down again.”

Nobody in the tournament has as many wins this season as Tueguo. The senior improved to 44-1 and won a second consecutive regional championship with a 7-2 win over Lackey’s Brandon Ream.

Tueguo had a lengthy talk with coach Will Yeo after his win and said it’s because he is always striving for perfection.

“In practice I really go hard, I try my best, and sometimes in matches it doesn’t show,” he said. “But you already know: I want to be a state champion and I believe I can.”

Like Thomas, Smith won his second region title in three years after falling short in last year’s championship match. The No. 1 seed needed only 1:20 to pin Hammond’s Jusiyah Harper.“It was really important to get a win,” he said. “... You don’t want to come here just to go to states. I wrestle in tournaments to win.”

Cornelius (30-8) redeemed himself in the championship match against Hammond’s Keneth Rios. Rios defeated Cornelius in thrilling fashion in the Howard County final but Cornelius stuck Rios this time in an arm bar in 3:50. He said losing in the final last week was good motivation leading into the week and “it felt good to get redemption.”

Ernie Smith wins heavyweight championship to lift Oakland Mills (217.5 points) past Glenelg (215.5) in the 50th annual Howard County wrestling tournament at Mt. Hebron on Friday, February 15, 2019.

Morales used a timely third-period takedown to turn a one-point match into three and he held on from there to win a 5-3 decision against Hammond’s Shamar Laing, who upset Glenelg’s Jacob Jones to reach the final.

Dahya (40-4), Hansberger (37-5) and Arnone (31-6) followed up their Howard County titles with their first regional titles.

Dahya, a senior, picked up a 5-2 victory against Oakland Mills’ Alex Tamai, who upset the top seed Justin Knapp of Southern, in the championship. He secured a pair of takedowns in the first period and cruised from there.

“I was a little scared, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “He likes to go for the big throw and big points and I didn’t want to do that, so that’s why I was a little conservative, but it was a good match.”

Hansberger beamed with confidence throughout the tournament and it showed on the mat. The senior and No. 1 seed pinned all three of his opponents, including Oakland Mills’ Isaiah Williams in 3:24 in the championship match.

“I felt confident going into this tournament and had a good seed,” said Hansberger. “I really liked the way I wrestled today.”

Meanwhile, Arnone scored a 9-0 shutout victory against La Plata’s Jakob Szalapski in the championship match. He pinned his first two opponents in a total of 2:14.

Ruel, a freshman who is 35-2 in his first season, kept his championship streak going, as the Anne Arundel County champion had no issues controlling River Hill senior Eric Robinson and won a 7-2 decision.

He said he knows there is still plenty to improve on heading into the state tournament but is excited to have a No. 1 seed.

Sparrows Point (1A), Glenelg (2A), South River (4A) lose in the finals while Patterson Mill (1A), Owings Mills (2A) and Bel Air (3A) fall in the semifinals at the MPSSAA wrestling state dual championships at North Point High School on Saturday, February 9, 2019.

“That’s about what I wanted. I still have some stuff to work on but I thought that was good,” he said. “It was really important and I’m thankful for the partners I have in the room. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without them. I think we’re all going to do great in the future.”

Blake (38-0) remained undefeated and beat Marriotts Ridge’ Will Vaxmonsky, 6-3, in the final to win his third region title, and Butler (43-2) avenged last year’s region final loss to Marriotts Ridge’s Ethan Bohan with a 6-2 victory.

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The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the 2A/1A state tournament at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro March 1-2. Other local wrestlers who qualified are: Glenelg’s David Ridenour (106, fourth place), Jacob Jones (160, third) and Massimo Conti (220, third); Oakland Mills’ Steven Harrell (145, third), Dylan Watt (152, third), Stone Richardson (182, third) and Arthur Mouafo (220, fourth); Hammond’s Jabari Pinkney (113, third) and Keiron Wilson (126, third); River Hill’s Jonah Richardson (120, third), Michael Crisitello (138, fourth), Jack Island (152, fourth) and Angel Rivera (285, fourth); Southern’s Justin Knapp (106, third), Devin Ball (120, fourth), Tylor Sumptor (126, fourth), Kalen Neal (145, fourth), Averum White (170, third) and Mykiah Bonhom (182, fourth); and Marriotts Ridge’s Julian Depireux (132, fourth).

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RESULTS:

106 lb championship: Shehzan Dahya (Hammond) 40-4, Sr. over Alex Tamai (Oakland Mills) 27-12, Fr. (Dec 5-2)

3rd place: Justin Knapp (Southern-AA) 33-5, Fr. over David Ridenour (Glenelg) 28-12, Jr. (Dec 3-1)

113 lb championship: Andrew Ruel (Southern-AA) 35-2, Fr. over Eric Robinson (River Hill) 36-9, Sr. (Dec 7-2)

3rd place: Jabari Pinkney (Hammond) 25-5, So. over Jeremy McBain (Lackey) 26-16, So. (Dec 6-4)

120 lb championship: Jalen Cornelius (Oakland Mills) 30-8, Jr. over Keneth Arevalo Rios (Hammond) 30-6, Jr. (Fall 3:50)

3rd place: Jonah Richardson (River Hill) 34-11, So. over Devin Ball (Southern-AA) 33-9, Sr. (SV-1 8-6)

126 lb championship: Kevin Hansberger (Glenelg) 37-5, Sr. over Isaiah Williams (Oakland Mills) 19-10, Jr. (Fall 3:24)

3rd place: Keiron Wilson (Hammond) 21-18, So. over Tylor Sumpter (Southern-AA) 14-20, Jr. (Fall 4:20)

132 lb championship: Will Henrickson (River Hill) 41-0, Sr. over Quan Dunscomb (Oakland Mills) 27-5, Sr. (MD 16-5)

3rd place: Ashton Stuckey (Patuxent) 30-8, So. over Julian Depireux (Marriotts Ridge) 25-16, Jr. (MD 16-3)

138 lb championship: Jared Thomas (Glenelg) 42-0, Sr. over Matthew Davis (Calvert) 31-4, Jr. (Fall 1:46)

3rd place: Jaron Fernandors (Fairmont Heights) 36-1, Jr. over Michael Crisitello (River Hill) 34-9, So. (Dec 10-7)

145 lb championship: Alex Blake (La Plata) 38-0, Sr. over Will Vaxmonsky (Marriotts Ridge) 33-5, Jr. (Dec 6-3)

3rd place: Steven Harrell (Oakland Mills) 35-6, So. over Kaleb Neal (Southern-AA) 34-9, Jr. (Fall 2:26)

152 lb championship: Owen Butler (La Plata) 43-2, Jr. over Ethan Bohan (Marriotts Ridge) 12-2, Jr. (Dec 6-2)

3rd place: Dylan Watt (Oakland Mills) 33-4, over Jack Island (River Hill) 34-10, Sr. (Dec 3-0)

160 lb championship: Anthony Morales (Oakland Mills) 34-4, Sr. over Shamar Laing (Hammond) 33-13, Sr. (Dec 5-3)

3rd place: Jacob Jones (Glenelg) 38-7, Sr. over Jacob Ham (Lackey) 30-12, Jr. (For.)

170 lb championship: Drew Sotka (Glenelg) 36-6, Jr. over Jason Mohler (La Plata) 32-3, Jr. (MD 16-4)

3rd place: Averum White (Southern-AA) 30-7, Sr. over Cameron Stuart (Lackey) 37-7, Jr. (Dec 15-14)

182 lb championship: Jake Arnone (Glenelg) 31-6, Sr. over Jakob Szalapski (La Plata) 16-10, Jr. (MD 9-0)

3rd place: Stone Richardson (Oakland Mills) 24-15, Sr. over Mykiah Bonhom (Southern-AA) 19-23, Sr. (Dec 8-3)

195 lb championship: Sam Alsheimer (Glenelg) 39-1, Sr. over JoJo Herring (Southern-AA) 23-11, Jr. (Fall 0:44)

3rd place: Quivonte Willis (Friendly) 22-12, Sr. over Quentin Dibble (La Plata) 24-24, Jr. (Dec 4-1)

220 lb championship: Loic Tueguo (Hammond) 44-1, Sr. over Brandon Ream (Lackey) 32-12, Sr. (Dec 7-2)

3rd place: Massimo Conti (Glenelg) 35-10, So. over Arthur Mouafo (Oakland Mills) 31-11, Sr. (Fall 4:58)

285 lb championship: Ernie Smith (Oakland Mills) 27-3, Sr. over Jusiyah Harper (Hammond) 31-14, Sr. (Fall 1:20)

3rd place: Jaxson Vayro (Lackey) 25-8, Jr. over Angel Rivera (River Hill) 20-16, Sr. (Dec 4-0)

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