Centennial captures South regional title


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-AA, 43-30, in the Class 2A-1A South regional 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."

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