By the end of the season, Glenelg’s success will ultimately be determined by how strong its weakest link is. Avoiding pins and bonus points in defeats will go a long way when it has five legitimate state title-contenders, and failing to abide by that recipe has cost the Gladiators in each of the last two state duals championship matches against Damascus.
But if Friday night’s home dual against Howard County rival Oakland Mills was any indication for the potential of the 2019 Glenelg squad, then it’s safe to say it has learned from its previous downfalls.
The No. 5 Gladiators won 10 of 14 matches in a 48-17 rout of the No. 13 Scorpions to remain undefeated on the season and win their 39th consecutive league dual meet, and they scored the first point in all 10 of those victories and never relinquished the lead in any of them.
It was a dominating effort against one of the area’s most aggressive and consistent teams and comes just one day after they rolled over No. 7 Dunbar, 43-18.
“We just want to push the action for six minutes. That’s been our style,” Glenelg coach Matt Bichner said. “Winter break always messes that up a little bit ... but these guys pushed through it. Our lightweights stepped up today and really started the match competitively. It was a perfect start; it doesn’t get much better than that.”
The mentioned start put Oakland Mills (6-1 Howard County, 11-4 overall) in an 18-0 hole after four matches. Juniors David Ridenour (106 pounds) and Andres Lopez Campos (113) had back-to-back falls, and Tino Campanile (120), who picked up a signature win against Dunbar’s regional champion and state placer Cameron Deville on Thursday, kept his personal momentum going with an 8-5 win against Jalen Cornelius. A banged up Kevin Hansberger (126) followed suit and gutted out a 3-0 victory.
“I think some of those guys have started to step up and started competing,” Bichner said. “They’re starting to realize that if they stay out of the big moves and weather the storm early you can come back, especially with our conditioning.”
A major decision from Quan Dunscomb (132) got Oakland Mills on the board but Glenelg (6-0, 15-0) responded, as reigning state champion Jared Thomas continued his dominating ways by securing 10 takedowns in a 24-9 technical fall against former county finalist Chase Williams.
Bichner said Thomas, who won a state finals rematch with Dunbar sophomore Jalen Jones, 9-0, on Thursday and kept his perfect season record intact, sets the tone for the middle of the lineup.
“Jared has been looking real solid,” Bichner said. “It’s always good when he leads the charge because he gets our team fired up.”
The Scorpions cut the deficit to 12 after Steven Harrell (145) and Dylan Watt (152) won by major decision and decision, respectively, but the lead seemed insurmountable with the Gladiators’ top grapplers still to come.
Senior Jacob Jones (160) controlled his county finals-rematch with Anthony Morales and won a 14-3 major decision, and regional champion Drew Sotka (170), Jake Arnone (182) and state finalist Sam Alsheimer (195) each won by fall. A 4-1 victory by Griffin Doyle (220) pushed the lead to 48-11.
Oakland Mills’ Ernie Smith (285) closed the match with an impressive 33-second pin.
“I definitely think we’ll see Oakland Mills again at regional duals, so with that in mind we wanted to make a statement and get that motivation,” Bichner said. “... But we still have room for improvement.”
Scorpions coach Brad Howell said 106 pounds was a difficult weight class for them to start the dual meet and it allowed Glenelg to grab an early lead and keep the momentum. He added his team has a ways to go but thought his team wrestled “feisty.”
“I didn’t see us turn away from any battles,” Howell said. “They’re definitely pretty strong from head to toe, so everybody’s going to need to pick it up a notch if we’re going to knock them off.”
Glenelg (6-0, 15-0) — 48, Oakland Mills (6-1, 11-4) — 17
106: David Ridenour (G) pinned Alex Tamai (OM), 2:38 [6-0]
113: Andres Lopez Campos (G) pinned Myles Williams (OM), 1:26 [12-0]
120: Tino Campanile (G) dec. Jalen Cornelius (OM), 8-5 [15-0]
126: Kevin Hansberger (G) dec. Isaiah Williams (OM), 3-0 [18-0]
132: Quan Dunscomb (OM) major dec. Reed Kraemer (G), 12-4 [18-4]
138: Jared Thomas (G) tech fall Chase Williams (OM), 24-9 [23-4]
145: Steven Harrell (OM) major dec. Trey Fleece (G), 19-6 [23-8]
152: Dylan Watt (OM) dec. Nick Kingsbury (G), 7-2 [23-11]
160: Jacob Jones (G) major dec. Anthony Morales (OM), 14-3 [27-11]
170: Drew Sotka (G) pinned Rocco DelPo (OM), 1:40 [33-11]
182: Jake Arnone (G) pinned Stone Richardson (OM), 5:25 [39-11]
195: Sam Alsheimer (G) pinned Ming Nelson (OM), 0:44 [45-11]
220: Griffin Doyle (G) dec. Arthur Mouafo (OM), 4-1 [48-11]