WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
The senior used his cat-like balance, reflexes, "strength and technique to clearly separate himself" as Maryland's elite upperweight, said River Hill coach Brandon Lauer, a former NCAA All-American and three-time state champion. "Zach has his own technique and style. It's scary how good he could be as a Division I wrestler."
Only the second Wilde Lake wrestler to end a season unbeaten, Brown was 29-0 with 17 pins and five technical falls at 215 pounds. The 6-foot-2 Brown, who weighed only 204 pounds at season's end, hasn't lost by pin, technical fall or major decision in high school, has won 60 of his past 61 bouts and is Wilde Lake's career wins leader at 121-12 with 74 pins.
Brown, whose primary practice partner was assistant coach Asmar Hagler, won his first Class 4A-3A state crown after having placed second and third the past two seasons. He also won his second Howard County and third 4A-3A East regional titles. Brown's last 12 bouts included six pins and four technical falls. He decked all three county tournament rivals in a combined 2 minutes, 24 seconds, with a 15-second title-bout pin of regional champ Malcolm Stennett of Atholton.
In the state title bout, Brown defeated North Carroll's county and 4A-3A North region champion Jason Thomen, 16-4. Brown earlier had defeated Thomen to earn Outstanding Wrestler as champion of Perry Hall's tournament for the second straight year.
Brown earned Outstanding Upperweight at the Senior All-Star Classic with a 21-6 technical fall over Mount St. Joseph's National Prep Wrestling Championships titlist Jake Bohn, and a 47-second pin of Northern-Garrett's 2A-1A state champion Brock Glotfelty. Brown won Outstanding Wrestler at South River's tournament with a major decision over Delaware state runner-up Perry Townsend of Indian River.
In other wins, Brown pinned Oakland Mills' county and 2A-1A South regional champion Mike Santiago (285 pounds), and decisioned both Atholton's county and 2A-1A South regional champion Brian Nance and Glenelg's 285-pound county and 2A-1A South regional runner-up Pat Black. Brown also has career wins over 4A-3A state champion Razaaq Muhammad (Parkville), and state runners-up Joe Green (Archbishop Curley), Tom Mulligan (Broadneck) and Chris Elliott (South River).
Brown, whose last two losses were by a combined seven points to Magruder's unbeaten repeat state titlist John Holloway during his sophomore and junior years, also was named an All-Metro running back-linebacker and an All-Metro track performer. Brown will defend his outdoor 100- and 200-meter dash state titles this spring.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Expectations were high for the Eagles, who rarely started more than three seniors in a lineup that was perhaps the most talented in school history. Despite injuries at critical times and a schedule that ranked as possibly the most difficult in school history, the Eagles remained The Sun's top-ranked team all season under the 13-year coach, establishing McDonogh as a wrestling power rivaling the storied program at Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association rival Mount St. Joseph.
As many as 13 starters could return next year to an Eagles squad that went 17-3 in dual meets, including its second straight 8-0 mark against the league for its second consecutive MIAA dual meet crown, and its fourth overall dual meet title. Under Welch, McDonogh won titles in the Mount Mat Madness Invitational, as well as its second straight titles in the MIAA and private schools tournaments - crowning five individual champions in the former, and four in the latter.
"We had talent, but were very young. Between sickness and injuries, we were constantly calling on different kids to step in and step up," said Welch, whose career dual meet record is 165-45.
"Every kid was challenged and humbled at one point this season," Welch said. "Our kids were incredibly unselfish - willing to weigh in up or down or not wrestle at all. I love it when kids put the team first ahead of their own personal desire."
The three-time All-Metro selection earned his second straight Baltimore County crown, his third consecutive 2A-1A North regional title, and remained on pace to become Maryland's third four-time 2A-1A state champion. The 160-pound junior has a 50-bout winning streak dating to an 8-7 loss in February 2006 to Hammond's three-time state champion Vince Taweel. Named The Sun's Wrestler of The Year for Baltimore County, Asper defeated Southern of Garrett County's Justin Ratliff, last year's 152-pound state champion, 6-2, in the state title bout. Asper went 39-0 with 24 pins, raising his career record to 114-7.
Mount St. Joseph
The repeat All-Metro selection earned his third straight titles in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools tournaments. Bohn (50-5, 30 pins), a 189-pound senior, also improved on last year's runner- up finish at National Preps by winning this year's title bout, 9-6, over previously undefeated Ben Grisz of St. Mark's (Texas). Bohn (147 career wins), The Sun's Baltimore City Wrestler of the Year, joined four-time All-Metro pick Mack Lewnes, a 2006 Mount St. Joseph graduate, as the only three-time Mount Mat Madness Invitational titlists.
Mount St. Joseph
The 112-pound senior ended the season where he began it -- as The Sun's top-ranked wrestler in his weight class. Clouse went 36-11 with 14 pins, winning his second straight MIAA crown. He was runner-up in the private schools tournament for the second straight year and placed third at the Mount Mat Madness Invitational. Clouse won three of four bouts against McDonogh standout Albert Woody. He also defeated J.M. Bennett's 4A-3A state champion Ricky Dorsey, La Plata's 4A-3A state runner-up Jake Shilling and Carroll County champion Rion Reiter of South Carroll.
The Sun's Carroll County Wrestler of The Year completed an amazing turnaround. A third-year wrestler, Digman went 9-17 as a sophomore and was pinned on numerous occasions. As a junior, Digman went 39-5 with 29 pins, winning both the county and 2A-1A West regional before finishing fifth at the 2A-1A states. This season, the senior won the county, regional and state tournament crowns, going 39-0 with 26 pins and finishing as The Sun's No. 1-ranked wrestler at 285 pounds. At states, Digman had pins in 34 seconds and 1 minute, 40 seconds, among his victories.
The 130-pound senior went 45-6 with 20 pins, earning his first MIAA crown -- after being second as a junior -- and his second private schools state title. He also finished second at National Preps for the second consecutive season. Fenton has a career record of 110-21. A methodical wrestler, Fenton was a runner-up at the Mount Mat Madness Invitational. Among the biggest wins for Fenton was a decision over Carroll County and 4A-3A North regional champion Tom Goretsas of North Carroll, who was third at 4A-3A states. Fenton was the McDonogh tournament champion in a class that included Glenelg's two-time 2A-1A state runner-up Dan Bichner.
A consistent performer throughout his junior season, Fitch went 36-8 with 18 pins at 125 pounds. Fitch won his third straight titles in the MIAA and private schools tournaments, and placed third at National Preps after having finished second and fourth his two previous years. Fitch split bouts with Old Mill's repeat 4A-3A state champion Greg Saumenig, and scored a 10-0 rout of Century's 2A-1A state champion Alex Grassi on the way to winning his third consecutive McDonogh Invitational crown. Fitch was a runner-up at the Mount Mat Madness tournament after having finished third as a sophomore.
A slick, 140-pound junior with a variety of moves, Fleming set a school record for single-season wins (40-0) and pins (33), winning the Anne Arundel, 4A-3A East regional and 4A-3A state titles to finish as The Sun's No. 1-ranked wrestler in his class. A 119-pound private schools state champion two years ago at Gilman, Fleming joined an elite group by adding his 4A-3A state public school crown. Fleming (94-10, 71 pins in his career) had big wins over 4A-3A state runners-up Tanner Shaffer of La Plata and Edwin Randall of Northern-Calvert, as well as one over Bel Air's Matt Cross, a fourth-place finisher at 4A-3A states.
Gillett won his third straight regional crown and his second consecutive 2A-1A state title by edging Glenelg junior Brian Marcoux on each occasion. The 119-pound senior, who will wrestle and play lacrosse at Newberry College, improved his series record to 5-3 against Marcoux, finished the year with a 40-6 record and has a school-record 151 career victories. Gillett split wins with private schools champion Tyler Scarinzi of Archbishop Curley and was runner-up at the Mount Mat Madness Invitational, where he placed ahead of 4A-3A state champions Dane Orzechowski (La Plata) and Will Sharbaugh (Walt Whitman).
Graham won his second straight titles in the Anne Arundel and 4A-3A state tournaments, as well as his third consecutive 4A-3A East regional crown. The 152-pound junior, a repeat All-Metro pick, went 32-0 this season, raised his winning streak to 61 bouts and is 85-8 for his career. Named The Sun's Wrestler of The Year for Anne Arundel County, Graham surpassed his older brother, Ben, who earned one state title in three championship berths. Graham defeated Broadneck's repeat 4A-3A runner-up Abe Hunter, as well as Damascus' Brian Wittenberger and Paint Branch's Tim Stewart, who were third and fourth, respectively, at states.
Milam was first at the MIAA and private schools tournaments after being a runner-up in both as a freshman last season, and was fourth at National Preps. Ranked No. 1 in The Sun at 145 pounds all season, Milam went 44-6 with 15 pins. The sophomore had big wins over DeMatha's private schools champion Steve Sargent, Rising Sun's 2A-1A runner-up Aaron Williams, and Winters Mill's Tim Crocken, who has placed third at 2A-1A states. Milam won the McDonogh and Mount Mat Madness tournaments after having been second and third, respectively, as a freshman.
Mullen went 39-3 with 28 pins, winning his third straight Carroll County title and his first 2A-1A West regional crown after having twice been a runner-up. The 171-pound junior was a 2A-1A state runner-up for the second consecutive season. Mullen (103 career wins, 62 pins) was third at the Mount Mat Madness tournament after having placed fourth as a sophomore. This season, Mullen won by decision over National Preps champion Mike Kulik of Archbishop Curley, split bouts with Walkersville's state champion Jordan Walsh and pinned Glenelg's Howard County and regional champion Tim Chase.
The three-time All-Metro selection earned his third straight titles in the Anne Arundel County and 4A-3A East regional tournaments, and reached the 4A-3A finals for the third straight time, winning his second consecutive state crown, 6-5 in overtime over Northwest of Montgomery County's Sean McCarty. Saumenig (43-3, 15 technical falls, 10 pins), a 125-pound senior, became one of Old Mill's state-leading 30 individual champions, helping the Patriots win their state-record eighth 4A-3A tournament crown. Saumenig's 12-4 win over Century's 2A-1A state champion Alex Grassi earned him Outstanding Lowerweight honors at the Senior All-Star Classic.
The 119-pound junior won his first MIAA crown after twice being runner-up, pinned all five opponents to win his first private schools title after having placed third and second, and was fourth at National Preps after placing fifth. Scarinzi was 44-6 with 25 pins and two technical falls, and raised his career victories to 115 with 67 pins. Scarinzi beat Walt Whitman's 4A-3A state champion Will Sharbaugh and split bouts with Hammond's 2A-1A champion Devon Gillett and La Plata's 4A-3A champion Dane Orzechowski.
Schenk established what is believed to be a school record for victories by a freshman, going 43-0 with 17 pins. He was ranked No. 1 in The Sun at 103 pounds all season. Schenk defeated Mount St. Joseph's No. 2-ranked Frank Goodwin for his MIAA and private schools titles, and Germantown Academy's Pat Owens for his National Preps crown. Schenk also defeated Virginia state champion Roman Perryman of Westmont Hilltop. A winner of the Beast of The East, Mount Mat Madness, St. Benedict's, N.J., and A.I. duPont tournaments, Schenk entered high school as the most decorated wrestler in Maryland's junior league history.
The three-time 2A-1A champion won the Mount Mat Madness Invitational, where he beat Delaware state champion Nicky Tiberi of Hodgson Vo-Tech and Cedar Cliff's Bryan Ortenzio, a third-place Pennsylvania finisher. Taweel, a 135-pound senior, failed to win a fourth state title when he suffered a knee injury in a state quarterfinal loss. Taweel became Hammond's second four-time Howard County champion, earned his fourth 2A-1A South regional title, went 40-2 and has 149 career wins. Taweel is considering Maryland, Duke, American, Newberry and Princeton.