Rarely is winning a wrestling match unexpected for Avi Friedman. The Owings Mills 103-pound junior and first-team All-Metro selection finished the high school season undefeated and won the 2A-1A state tournament championship.
But when Friedman squared off against Timdarius Thurston of North Carolina in the semifinals of the Junior Nationals' Wrestling Tournament in Virginia Beach on Friday, even Friedman wasn't sure he could defeat Thurston.
"He was really good, and fast and strong," Friedman said of Thurston, who entered the bout at a perfect 55-0. "I was just surprised that I beat him."
Friedman defeated Thurston, 6-2, then beat Chasen Tolbert of Utah, 8-2, for the championship. The tournament of 24 included eight state champions, Eagles coach Guy Pritzker said, and Friedman won five bouts, pushing his record to 43-0 this season and 75-4 overall on varsity.
"This is usually a very tough tournament, and I don't think we've ever had anybody win this before," Pritzker said. "I think it's going to give him incredible confidence. I can put him in any weight against anybody and he'll feel he'll be able to beat anybody."
College coaches were at the tournament, and Friedman's performance garnered attention. Freidman said he was approached by some college coaches after the victory, and Johns Hopkins was one of the interested schools that he liked.
Friedman has a 3.8 GPA.
Basketball -- The best area senior girls basketball players joined forces to defeat a team of Pennsylvania senior All-Stars, 97-74, on Saturday night in Harrisburg. Seton Keough's Arika Ullman led the Marylanders with 20 points, including four three-pointers. McDonogh's Becky Cox had 17 points and six assists. Oakland Mills' Miriam McKenzie, the All-Metro Player of the Year, added 16 points. The Maryland team used a half-court trapping defense to force turnovers and get the jump on a bigger Pennsylvania squad, said McDonogh's Tom Gizzi, who coached the Maryland team with Western Tech's Dave Griffin. The Maryland boys team fell to the Pennsylvania team, 110-100. Penn State-bound guard Cammeron Woodyard of Winters Mill, a second-team All-Metro selection, led Maryland with 17 points, while Glenelg's Bruce Richardson chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds. Coppin State-bound guard Justin McCoy of Mount St. Joseph won the event's dunk contest before the games.
Mount St. Joseph basketball -- Senior center Henry Sims was named to the Parade Magazine All-America fourth team. Parade chose 40 total players for the four teams from 19 states. This is the 52nd All-America team; current NBA Players such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal were previously selected. Sims will attend Georgetown University in the fall.
Games against top 10 teams this week for the No. 4 McDonogh girls lacrosse team. The Eagles beat No. 5 Severn, 9-6, on Monday. After No. 3 John Carroll today, they travel to No. 10 Bryn Mawr on Friday. To cap the week, the Eagles host their tournament Saturday, which includes perennially tough St. Stephen's/St. Agnes of Alexandria, Va.