Glenelg knows what it’s going to get from its top wrestlers Kevin Hansberger, Jared Thomas, Jacob Jones, Drew Sotka and Sam Alsheimer. Pins mostly, but almost always wins, which will carry the Gladiators to victories in most of its matches this winter.
But there are nine other matches each time they take the mat, and on Thursday in their season opener at home against last year’s county runner-up Mt. Hebron, several of them got their first taste of varsity action while a few others returned with higher expectations.
According to Glenelg coach Matt Bichner, it was a mixed bag.
“It’s the first match, so it’s hard to tell,” he said. “I know some guys were a little nervous, some guys maybe got a little too excited and burned themselves out. ... Part of it is still building, part of it is we need more toughness in certain positions.”
Ultimately, the Gladiators didn’t need to rely on many of those guys to pull through, as they won 10 of 14 bouts and cruised to a 46-19 victory over last year’s county runner-up in their season opener. Charlie Whitsett (285), Hansberger (132), Drew Sotka (170) and Jake Arnone (182) won by fall, while Sam Alsheimer (220) earned a forfeit and Thomas (138) scored a technical fall.
Massimo Conti isn’t a newcomer, as he spent more than half of last season on varsity before Alsheimer returned from an injury, but he set the tone by defeating Jake Witlin, 6-1, at 220 pounds in the first match of the night, and heavyweight Charlie Whitsett, a starter last year, stuck Omar Ayubi in 2:38. David Ridnour (106) made a good impression in his first varsity start and earned 11 near-fall points in a 13-2 major-decision victory, which gave Glenelg an early 13-0 lead.
It was a good start for the Gladiators, but the mixed bag that Bichner described was evident in several lightweight matches. Mt. Hebron’s Aamil Vanora took down Andres Lopez Campos, a returning varsity starter, in overtime to win a 3-1 decision to earn his first win in his first varsity match at 113 pounds, and the Vikings’ run continued. Sophomore Jack McGuire (120) rolled to a 9-1 victory against Tino Campanile, and Mahmoud Abdel-Halim (126) blanked Reed Kraemer, 4-0, to earn his first varsity win and cut Glenelg’s lead to 13-10.
McGuire placed sixth in the county last season but looked stronger and more technical than any point last year, and coach Dan Harman said he expects big things from the sophomore.
“Jack has wrestled five days a week. He probably wrestled 40 matches this summer. He’s a man on a mission,” he said. “He has a job he wants to do — he wants to make it to the state tournament — and he’s working toward that level and he has that ability. He’s got to continue to work hard. He’s a grinder in the wrestling room.”
Glenelg built a comfortable lead thanks to a quick pin from Hansberger and a 20-5 technical fall from Thomas, and although Mt. Hebron’s Nick Murphy (145) won a decision and Bryce Kampert (152) got a pin, the Gladiators’ hammers carried them to an easy victory.
Jacob Jones (160), a county and regional champion and state placer a year ago, made easy work of Osman Rivas in a 9-0 major-decision victory. Sotka built a 14-2 lead before pinning Noah Manasterli in 2:45, and Arnone needed 35 seconds to pin Evan Turner. Alsheimer closed the dual with a forfeit.
While there were some mixed results overall, Bichner is confident his younger wrestlers will continue to improve and help the team achieve their goals.
“The guys who have been there and done it before, they are pushing the younger guys and making them want it,” Bichner said. “They try to get in there and compete with them, and they’re like extra coaches in the room. Still, it’s early in the season and you’ve got to get the young guys to buy in and push themselves to get better. If they realize that and push themselves, they’re going to get better and help our team get to that level we haven’t quite gotten to yet.”
Meanwhile, Mt. Hebron has one of its youngest teams in a while just one year removed from reaching the 3A state duals final. Harman said he wanted to “grit” and his less-experienced wrestlers compete until the final whistle, and they did just that.
“We didn’t lose any tight matches in the third period, won an overtime match. I like seeing that kind of stuff,” he said. “Vanora and Abdel-Halim were JV kids last year and they really did a lot of offseason work and it shows and they both won their first varsity matches. All in all, a lot of work to do but a lot of things to build on.”
Glenelg (1-0 Howard County, 1-0 overall) — 46, Mt. Hebron (0-1, 0-1) — 19
220: Massimo Conti (G) dec. Jake Witlin (MH), 6-1 [3-0]
285: Charlie Whitsett (G) pinned Omar Ayubi (MH), 2:38 [9-0]
106: David Ridnour (G) major dec. Lucas Lopez (MH), 13-2 [13-0]
113: Aamil Vanora (MH) dec. Andres Lopez Campos, 3-1 (OT) [13-3]
120: Jack McGuire (MH) major dec. Tino Campanile (G), 9-1 [13-7]
126: Mahmoud Abdel-Halim (MH) dec. Reed Kraemer (G), 4-0 [13-10]
132: Kevin Hansberger (G) pinned Sashank Puttagunta (MH), 1:07 [19-10]
138: Jared Thomas (G) tech fall Khiem Doan (MH), 20-5 [24-10]
145: Nick Murphy (MH) dec. Trey Fleece (G), 7-3 [24-13]
152: Bryce Kampert (MH) pinned Nick Kingsbury (G), 3:17 [24-19]
160: Jacob Jones (G) major dec. Osman Rivas (MH), 9-0 [28-19]
170: Drew Sotka (G) pinned Noah Manasterli (MH), 2:45 [34-19]
182: Jake Arnone (G) pinned Evan Turner (MH), 0:35 [40-19]
195: Sam Alsheimer (G) fft. [46-19]
Atholton (1-0, 1-0) — 55, Howard (0-1, 0-1) — 20
220: Buddy Penguin (Ho) pinned David Nguyen (A), 5:22 [0-6]
285: Ritchy Pierre (Ho) fft. [0-12]
106: Jana Tumaneng (A) fft. [6-12]
113: Peter Frazier (A) fft. [12-12]
120: David Panda (A) pinned Kenny Ling (Ho), 4:44 [18-12]
126: Drew Pruett (A) pinned Arjun Kundu (Ho), 1:30 [24-12]
132: John Collins (Ho) dec. Hamzah Alkhawaldeh (A), 4-2 [24-15]
138: Derek Noppinger (A) major dec. Lucas Talon (Ho), 13-0 [28-15]
145: Michael Altamarino (A) dec. Ryan Keeley (Ho), 5-0 [31-15]
152: Shayan Kassiri (Ho) tech fall Jay Desmarais (A), 17-2 [31-20]
160: Mateo Rodriguez (A) pinned Zach Deboy (Ho), 3:24 [37-20]
170: Sean Billups (A) fft. [43-20]
182: Michael Johnson (A) pinned Trent Somers (Ho), 1:48 [49-20]
195: Desmond Craig (A) pinned Spencer Lefever (Ho), 1:40 [55-20]
Long Reach (1-0, 1-0) — 63, Reservoir (0-1, 0-1) — 18
106: JJ Reilly (LR) pinned Dylan Griffith (Re) [6-0]
113: Xavier Maccherone (LR) fft. [12-0]
120: Garrett Cioffi (LR) fft. [18-0]
126: Darius Carr (LR) pinned Jake Kaplan (Re) [24-0]
132: Matt Sims (Re) pinned David Huh (LR) [24-6]
138: Sam Levine (LR) pinned Justin Lee (Re) [30-6]
145: Josh Liu Trieu (LR) pinned Dylan Hunter (Re) [36-6]
152: Ien Saffer (LR) pinned Darien Haghighat (Re) [42-6]
160: David Schlichtig dec. Dylan Wiegert (Re) [45-6]
170: Prince Acheronye (LR) pinned Chi Awanto (Re) [51-6]
182: Lino Gomez (LR) pinned Jake Rand (Re) [57-6]
195: Reggie Love (LR) fft. [63-6]
220: Segni Melaku (Re) pinned Miles Smith (LR) [63-12]
285: Dylan Altman (Re) pinned Sean Hicks (LR) [63-18]
Hammond (1-0, 1-0) — 46, Centennial (0-1, 0-1) — 21
160: Jason Kraisser (C) pinned Nolan Deshields (Ha), 2:44 [0-6]
170: Shamar Laing (Ha) dec. Wadeed Morcos (C), 8-5 [3-6]
182: Jordan Brown (Ha) pinned Yash Joon (C), 1:00 [9-6]
195: Jordan Davis (Ha) pinned Matthew Demme (C), 0:57 [15-6]
220: Nicholas Deshields (Ha) fft. [21-6]
285: Loic Tueguo (Ha) major dec. Nicholas Yee (C), 15-4 [25-6]
106: Shehzan Dahya (Ha) fft. [31-6]
113: Christopher Lee (C) dec. Noah Sheinhorn (Ha), 6-1 [31-9]
120: Unknown (Ha) dec. Nick Shapiro (C), 5-4 [34-9]
126: Muhammed Mehboob (C) dec. Keiron Wilson (Ha), 8-6 (OT) [34-12]
132: Zaid Narmouq (C) dec. Unknown (Ha), 10-4 [34-15]
138: Jordan Carton (C) pinned Eric Grinwis (Ha), 2:59 [34-21]
145: Micah Nowlin (Ha) pinned Matteo Daly (C), 4:50 [40-21]
152: Elliott Bauer (Ha) pinned Matthew Harris (C), 2:21 [46-21]
Oakland Mills (1-0, 1-0) — 53, Marriotts Ridge (0-1, 0-1) — 18
126: Cornelius (OM) pinned Wiggins (MR), 4:52 [6-0]
132: Deprieux (MR) dec. I. Williams (OM), 8-5 [6-3]
138: Dunscomb (OM) pinned Grandstaff (MR), 1:34 [12-3]
145: C. Williams (OM) dec. Rosenbloom (MR), 6-3 [15-3]
152: Vaxmonsky (MR) dec. Harrell (OM) 8-2, [15-6]
160: Watt (OM) pinned Gladstone (MR), 1:31 [21-6]
170: Morales (OM) major dec. Buckley (MR), 20-7 [25-6]
182: Richardson (OM) pinned Roy (MR), 1:08 [31-6]
195: Delpo (OM) pinned Crea (MR), 0:24 [37-6]
220: Mouafo (OM) pinned Ibranian (MR), 0:25 [43-6]
285: Smith (OM) pinned Baxter (MR), 0:21 [49-6]
106: Tamai (OM) major dec. Habibi (MR), 17-5 [53-6]
113: Manwiller (MR) pinned Santiago (OM), 4:51 [53-12]
120: Glover (MR) pinned M. Williams (OM), 0:38 [53-18]