Centennial captures dual-meet regional crown


Centennial crushed Bethesda-Chevy Chase to win its first wrestling dual-meet regional championship last night at Centennial, 51-28, and will advance to Saturday's state championships at Catoctin.

Centennial beat Southern of Anne Arundel, 43-30, in the Class 2A-1A South semifinals, and Bethesda defeated Bladensburg, 56-22.

The No. 8 Eagles (14-1), who emerged from a seven-year slump to become one of the area's top teams this season, were so unaccustomed to winning a championship that their victory celebration was somewhat subdued.

"We don't know how to react," said Mark Nakasone (145 pounds), who improved to 25-0 by beating Bethesda's Chad Jeronimo, who is now 23-1. Nakasone controlled the match.

"[Jeronimo] just kept moving real fast and didn't let me get on top of him," said Nakasone, whose twin brother, Dave, also won his 25th match without a loss by pinning Walusako Mwalilino (152) in 3:56. That victory gave the Eagles their first lead at 15-10.

Centennial dominated from 140 pounds through 189 pounds, winning on four pins, a forfeit and a decision for 33 of their 51 points.

"That streak really demoralized them," Mark Nakasone said.

Rob Richardson started the streak with a pin at 140 over Patrick Genova in 4:25.

But Eagles coach Todd DeCrispino thought the key match was Andrew Cardoni's pin of Ben Pape at 161 pounds in 1:07.

"That was huge," said DeCrispino, whose team recorded seven pins.

Cardoni, a senior, said he thought he was getting a forfeit at first, but he was looking forward to wrestling and redeeming himself from a 9-7 loss in the semifinals, where he gave up an escape and a reversal in the last eight seconds.

"I told myself I needed a pin for redemption," he said. "I don't usually throw an arm bar, but on my third attempt it finally worked. This is a great win because our program is not known for being any good. We finally have fans other than our parents this season."

Andrew Maas, at 189 pounds, got the fastest pin in 24 seconds over BCC's Dan Martinez.

Mike Montanez (103), Brad Ortman (112) and Dominic Ventura (125) also picked up pins.

Bethesda coach Bobby Bunting said it was his team's first winning season (11-4) in 12 years.

"Centennial was tougher than us today," he said.

Southern-AA is now 9-6.

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