Hammond coach Will Yeo said it’s always the hope that the kids who put in the most work are the ones who get rewarded with the big opportunities.
Enter sophomore Jabari Pinkney, a second-year wrestler who had a slightly above .500 record on JV a year ago but has transformed into a reliable varsity starter after putting in the necessary work in the offseason.
“He went to everything we had: all of our club practices, all of our tournaments all spring, summer and fall,” Yeo said, “and he’s now 20-2 on the season.”
On Saturday afternoon with the No. 12 Golden Bears hosting No. 14 C. Milton Wright in a dual meet that was undecided entering the final bout, the 106-pounder was rewarded with the spotlight and came through for his squad. His 8-3 win against Dede Gourgolianis clinched a 40-33 victory over the Mustangs.
C. Milton Wright (14-5) also beat Centennial (13-8), 65-18, in a double dual.
“We’re very proud of Jabari,” Yeo said. “He makes things a little scary sometimes as a second-year wrestler and he does some reckless things but you cannot question that kid’s effort.”
Pinkney said he felt confident heading into the match, especially in the neutral position. He built a 5-0 lead after two periods and held on from there.
“Just staying on top and staying dominant on my feet,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to get turned on bottom and I wasn’t trying to get on bottom.”
It was a timely victory for Hammond (26-3), which had to let a 55-5 home loss to Glenelg stew over the midterm break before taking the mat Friday against Long Reach. Yet it was the Mustangs, who coach John Thornton said had “one of our worst matches in a couple years” in a disappointing 47-18 loss to its rival Bel Air on Wednesday, that took an early lead by winning four of the first five bouts.
Staki Gourgolianis (113) and reigning state champion James Riveira (120) secured falls, and after Hammond’s Keneth Rios (126) answered with a pin, Carter Goscinski (132) and Jake Blanchard (138) padded C. Milton Wright’s lead with a decision and a pin, respectively.
The advantage was short lived, however. The Golden Bears rallied behind a major decision from Micah Nowlin (145), pins from Elliott Bauer (152) and Nolan Desheilds (160) and a decision from Shamar Laing to stake a 25-21 lead until Teddy Stinson’s (182) fall made it 27-25 in favor of the Mustangs.
The final lead change came after Linus Sekedjah’s (195) first-period pin, and another from county and regional champion Loic Tueguo (220) ultimately was the difference in the dual meet. Sawyer Sturla (285) did his part for the Mustangs with a fall but Pinkney ended any hope of a final comeback with a commanding victory.
“This is one of the first matches all year long where I truly felt everyone came ready to scrap,” Yeo said. “The guys who won did so with authority and even our guys who lost, they went out there and they really competed. ... We had nobody quit today. Everyone came ready.”
Meanwhile, Thornton said he felt good heading into the day but saw some of the same mistakes made against Bel Air. He added that the team’s back loaded schedule is starting to take a toll on his grapplers but was adamant that they are still headed in the right direction.
Lack of conditioning was a factor in their defeat on Wednesday, and Thornton said that will be a focal point during practices before regional duals, where the Mustangs could get another shot at their rival.
“I feel like technically we’re where we need to be but conditioning, we have a lot of work to do,” he said. “And the mental side of things. We’re a young team, mostly freshmen and sophomores, so that’s expected to a degree, but we have to fix those two things.”
Centennial coach Cliff Kraisser was not pleased with his team after losing seven matches by fall while also forfeiting three bouts. Only Zaid Narmouq (132), Matthew Harris (152) and three-time state champion Jason Kraisser (160) won matches, albeit each by fall.
“Heading in the wrong direction is the right way to put it,” he said. “We started well; it’s a long season for these guys and exam week is tough at Centennial. ... I have no excuses but we’re a little beat up and we have one more match and the goal is to finish strong and see what happens from there.”
C. Milton Wright (14-5) — 65, Centennial (13-8) — 18
106: Dede Gourgolianis (CMW) fft. [6-0]
113: Staki Gourgolianis (CMW) pinned Chris Lee (C), 3:30 [12-0]
120: James Riveira (CMW) pinned Nick Shapiro (C), 1:31 [18-0]
126: Juan Ortega (CMW) tech fall Yusef Mehboob (C), 15-0 [23-0]
132: Zaid Narmouq (C) pinned Carter Doscinski (CMW), 3:29 [23-6]
138: Jake Blanchard (CMW) pinned Govind Nageswaren (C), 0:48 [29-6]
145: Mark Hopkins (CMW) pinned Tristan Kneas (C), 3:51 [35-6]
152: Matthew Harris (C) pinned Andrew Van Syckle (CMW), 2:45 [35-12]
160: Jason Kraisser (C) pinned Robert Samuel (CMW), 1:06 [35-18]
170: Logan Dvorak (CMW) pinned Wadeed Morcos (C), 4:25 [41-18]
182: Teddy Stinson (CMW) pinned Yash Joon (C), 1:08 [47-18]
195: Trey Lindsey (CMW) pinned Matt Demme (C), 2:13 [53-18]
220: Cameron Wood (CMW) fft. [59-18]
285: Sawyer Sturla (CMW) fft. [65-18]
Hammond (26-3) — 40, C. Milton Wright — 33
113: Staki Gourgolianis (CMW) pinned Noah Sheinhorn (Ha), 3:51 [0-6]
120: James Riveira (CMW) pinned Arrows Delgado (Ha), 0:38 [0-12]
126: Keneth Rios (Ha) pinned Juan Ortega (CMW), 2:48 [6-12]
132: Carter Goscinski (CMW) dec. Keiron Wilson (Ha), 13-9 [6-15]
138: Jake Blanchard (CMW) pinned Chris Alvarenga (Ha), 2:09 [6-21]
145: Micah Nowlin (Ha) major dec. Mark Hopkins (CMW), 14-5 [10-21]
152: Elliott Bauer (Ha) pinned Andrew Van Syckle (CMW), 1:27 [16-21]
160: Nolan Desheilds (Ha) pinned Robert Samuel (CMW), 3:49 [22-21]
170: Shamar Laing (Ha) dec. Logan Dvorak (CMW), 19-14 [25-21]
182: Teddy Stinson (CMW) pinned Jordan Brown (Ha), 2:37 [25-27]
195: Linus Sekedjah (Ha) pinned Trey Lindsey (CMW), 1:15 [31-27]
220: Loic Tueguo (Ha) pinned Cameron Wood (CMW), 2:45 [37-27]
285: Sawyer Sturla (CMW) pinned Jusiyah Harper (Ha), 2:25 [37-33]
106: Jabari Pinkney (Ha) dec. Dede Gourgolianis (CMW), 8-3 [40-33]
Arundel — 61, Reservoir (3-27) — 12
106: Sean Quinn (A) fft. [6-0]
113: Angel Borges (A) fft. [12-0]
120: Aaron Shingler (A) fft. [18-0]
126: Adam Lake (A) fft. [24-0]
132: Caleb Chaves (A) pinned Kaz Okamoto (Re) [30-0]
138: Joe McCampbell (A) fft. [36-0]
145: Dylan Hunter (Re) pinned Tiger Colunga (A) [36-6]
152: Trey Grady (A) dec. Darien Haghighat (Re), 4-0 [39-6]
160: Jaiden Moore (A) pinned Jacob Rand (Re) [45-6]
170: Clint Mills (A) fft. [51-6]
182: Vinne Aurigemma (A) fft. [57-6]
195: Devon Thompson (A) major dec. Segni Melaku (Re) 9-1 [61-6]
220: Double forfeit [61-6]
285: Dylan Altman (Re) pinned Amir Conwell (A) [61-12]
Severna Park — 57, Howard (4-16) — 18
106: Andrew Trull (SP) fft. [6-0]
113: Jack Chadwick (SP) pinned Chase Wheatley (Ho, 1:05 [12-0]
120: Tyler Daniels (SP) dec. Kenny Ling (Ho), 7-0 [15-0]
126: John Collins (Ho) pinned Gavin Cheesman (SP, 1:36 [15-6]
132: Matthew Thompson (SP) pinned Maxx Keller (Ho), 3:10 [21-6]
138: Colin Shadowens (SP) dec. Ryan Keeley (Ho), 5-3 [24-6]
145: Griffin Strickler (SP) fft. [30-6]
152: Shayan Kassiri (Ho) pinned Aiden Milewski (SP, 4:23 [30-12]
160: Michael Hamlett (SP) pinned Chris Hallums (Ho), 2:39 [36-12]
170: Camden Hurley (Ho) fft. [36-18]
182: Ron Schlipp (SP) pinned Amani Mmari (Ho), 2:40 [42-18]
195: Ty Broadway (SP) fft. [48-18]
220: Conor Bowes (SP) pinned Buddy Penguin (Ho), 4:59 [54-18]
285: Will Toepper (SP) dec. Solomon Larson (Ho), 2-0 [57-18]