2017 Prince Georges County Championships

2017 Prince George's County Wrestling Tournament Championships Parkdale Seniors Go Out With A Roar
by Dave
On a night of upsets, the Parkdale Panthers found themselves in an unusual position going into the Finals of the 2017 Prince George's County Wrestling Tournament. They were in second place. The Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders had carved out a 6.5 point lead by virtue of an amazing run of ten falls in the consolation placement rounds. Fortunately for the Panthers, they had six finalists compared to only three for the Raiders.

Parkdale had three wrestlers who were #1 seeds and almost sure locks to win the Title at their weight class. They were Axel Giron (113), Isaiah Williams (132) and Nathaniel Forschner (220). If those three won, Roosevelt would have to have all three of their finalists win to keep pace and hope for Parkdale to lose at least two of their other three finals. A tall order to fill indeed but on a night of upsets, anything seemed possible. The scores for the team title stood at 211 for Roosevelt and 204.5 for Parkdale.

And the upsets came early and often.

At 106, #1 seed MaMadou Diallo (Duval), who is ranked 4th in the State and 1st in the 3A/4A Division by the MSWA, took on #2 seed Kidus Gebriorgis (Parkdale), who is ranked right behind Diallo at 5th/2nd. Gebriorgis opened the scoring quickly with a takedown but cut the Tiger wrestler right away for a 2-1 lead. The two traded shots until late in the round when Diallo secured a takedown of his own for a 3-2 lead going into the second period. He extended that lead with an escape and a takedown but gave up a reversal late in the period and had to fight off two near fall attempts by Gebriorgis to hold on to a 6-4 lead going into the 3rd period. Feeling he would be better off on his feet, Diallo cut Gebriorgis right away to make it a one point match. That decision would come back to haunt him. While in on a shot of his own, Diallo got caught in a spladle and gave up the takedown and three back points. Even though he recovered and reversed Gebriorgis with ten seconds to go, time ran out on the top seed and he lost, 10-8. Gebriorgis placed 6th at States last year while Diallo sat out last year. These two will likely meet again at Regionals and possibly States.

Roosevelt 211 - Parkdale 208.5

At 113 the seeds held true to form as #1 seed Alex Giron (Parkdale) dominated #2 seed Jose Recinos (High Point) before pinning him at the 4:39 mark of the third period. The Panther Sophomore is ranked 4th in the State and 3rd in the 3A/4A Division. He was a match away from placing at States last year and is looking to stand on the podium at Show Place Arena this year.

Parkdale 214.5 - Roosevelt 211

The top seeds went at it again at 120 as #1 Marion Waits (Oxon Hill) faced off against #2 Mark Martinez (Parkdale). Martinez got the opening takedown and used a strong ride on top to close out the first period 2-0. Waits chose neutral to start the second period and Martinez made him pay for it with another takedown. Waits was able to get a reversal at the buzzer to pull to within two points going into the third period. That would be as close as he would get. After getting a penalty point for Waits locking hands on top, Martinez reversed the Clipper Wrestler to his back to go up 10-2. It secured the victory and earned him a bonus point for the major decision.

Parkdale 219.5 - 211

Roosevelt looked to stop the bleeding with their first finalist at 126 as # 2 seed Andrew Thomas took on #1 seed Khari Nelson (Bowie). The two felt each other out in the first period trading shots but neither could secure a takedown in a scoreless first period. Thomas won the toss and chose bottom. He scored first with a reversal and later added two near fall point to go up 4-0. Nelson was able to cut the lead to two points with an escape to end the second period and another to start the third but that was as close as the Bulldog Freshman would get at 4-2. Thomas reversed Nelson and later used a strong arm bar to turn Nelson and secure a fall with three seconds remaining in the match. The lower seed had struck again.

Parkdale 219.5 - Roosevelt 217

Isaiah Williams (Parkdale) and Steve Velasquez (Northwestern) squared off in the final at 132 in another #1 vs. #2. In this case the top seed prevailed as Williams scored a first period takedown and cut the Wildcat wrestler, rode Velasquez the entire second period, and got his own escape in the third period to close out the scoring, 3-1. It was the Panther Senior's third County Title, (he finished third as a Sophomore), and it earned him the Joe Murphy Award as the Senior who had earned the most points for his team at the County Tournament throughout his career.

Parkdale 223.5 - Roosevelt 217

A stunning upset occurred in the final at 138. Number four seed Kevin Rojas (High Point) had already knocked off the #1 seed Romeo Gilmore (Wise) in wild 15-14 semi-final match. He now faced the #2 seed, Ramar White (Flowers) for the title. Rojas struck first with a takedown but White answered with an escape. Rojas took White down again and the first period ended in favor of Rojas, 4-1. Here is where the stunning part comes in. White chose bottom to start the second period and Rojas cut him at the whistle. By the time I looked up from recording the escape in my notepad, the ref had slapped the mat. Rojas had taken the Jaguar wrestler to his back and pinned him nine seconds into the period. Simply amazing. The upset bug was back with a vengeance.

Top seed Andy Kappes (Bowie) faced #7 seed Delonte Smith (Crossland) in the final at 145. Smith had pinned his previous two opponents and didn't let up in the final. When Kappes took an ill advised shot early in the match, the Cavalier wrestler locked in a cradle and registered the fall 37 seconds into the match.

In the 152 pound final, #7 seed Darius Walker (Wise) put on a takedown clinic against the #1 seeded Melvin Mallory (Bowie). Walker scored 6 takedowns in route to a 13-7 victory that wasn't as close as the score would suggest. (In fact, I had the bout scored 13-6).

The final at 160 saw #4 seed Will Adefehiniti (Duval) take on #7 seed Antoine Thomas (Central). Adefehiniti had Knocked off #1 seed Victor Garrett (Wise) in the semis and Thomas had pinned #3 seed Emmanuel Nchako (Roosevelt) in the other semi. There was no scoring in the first period and Thomas chose the bottom position to start the second. The Falcon wrestler got his escape but was later taken down by Adefehiniti and trailed 2-1 to start the third period. Adefehiniti got his escape and followed with a takedown to make the score 5-1. The Referee awarded Thomas a penalty point for an illegal slam by Adefehiniti but there would be no more scoring and the bout would end at 5-2 for the Tiger wrestler. Not really an upset but neither wrestler was expected to be in the final to begin with.

At 170, Roosevelt had a chance to keep their championship hopes alive if #2 seed Andrew Long could beat #1 seed Nick Threat (Wise). Neither wrestler could secure a takedown in the first period and Long chose bottom to start the second. He was awarded a penalty point for Threat locking hands and later escaped for a 2-0 lead going into the third period. Threat earned an escape and forced the issue which resulted in a stalling warning with a minute to go in the match. Long decided not to leave the outcome in the hands of the referee and scored a takedown and rode Threat out for the victory, 4-1. Did the upset bug have any more surprises up it's sleeve? We would have to wait until after the 182 final to find out.

Parkdale 223.5 - Roosevelt 221

The 182 pound final was never in doubt as #1 seed Austin Cole (Flowers) pinned #2 seed Nabeel Futa (Laurel) in 58 seconds. The Prince George's County Tournament doesn't name an outstanding wrestler for the tournament but if they did, Austin Cole would have received my vote. The Jaguar wrestler dispatched his three opponents in a total of four minutes and eleven seconds, (not even one complete match)! He was like a man among boys out there. It will be interesting to see if anyone at the Regional Tournament next weekend can hang with him for six minutes.

At 195, fourth seeded Aaron Rishton (Parkdale) pinned his way to the final in part due to the fact that #1 seed Stephon Mitchell (Wise) did not wrestle. Number two seed Kevin Jimenez (Northwestern) did his part by pinning his way to the final as well. The first period was deadlocked after neither wrestler could take the other down. Rishton took bottom in the second period and reversed Jimenez to open the scoring. Jimenez was able to earn an escape but was taken down by Rishton to fall behind 4-1. Another escape brought the Wildcat wrestler to within two points at the end of the second period. Jimenez escaped again to start the third period to pull within one but was taken down and turned to his back for a three point near fall. Rishton would give up a late escape but the damage was done and he was the 195 Champion by the score of 9-4. (The scoreboard had it 7-4 but my notes say otherwise). Once again, the upset bug had bitten but this time it earned the Panthers the Team Title.

Parkdale 227.5 - Roosevelt 221

At this point, the only way Roosevelt could win the title would be if Nathaniel Forschner (Parkdale) at 220 were disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct or a flagrant foul. The #1 seeded Panther Senior and Captain, (who is ranked 8th in the State and 3rd in 3A/4A), wasn't about to let that happen and used a slick inside trip to take #6 seed Nick Libcke (Northwestern) directly to his back for a fall at 1:53 of the first period and set the Parkdale celebration into full swing.

Parkdale 233.5 -Roosevelt 221

The 285 Pound final was anything but anticlimatic despite the fact that Parkdale had locked up the team title. The bout featured #1 seed Troy Hamilton (High Point) against #3 seed Christian Bryant (Roosevelt). The match started out slowly as expected for the big guys. Neither wrestler was willing to try and make something happen lest they make a mistake and get caught so the first period ended a scoreless tie. Bryant opened the scoring in the second period with an escape and it looked like the big boy dance was on again. However, Bryant had proved at the Cadet Nationals at Fargo last summer that he isn't afraid to go for the big money move and he executed a beautiful lateral drop on Hamilton that almost earned him back points He had to settle for the takedown and two points but they would prove to be the winning points. To his credit, Hamilton fought ferociously to get out from the bottom but Bryant thwarted every attempt and entered the third period winning 3-0. After a penalty point was awarded to Bryant because it was deemed by the referee that Hamilton was stalling, he finally earned an escape to cut the lead to 4-1. With Hamilton needing a takedown and back points to win, most wrestlers would have gotten on their bike and back peddled the rest of the match. Not Bryant, he kept the pressure on Hamilton and scored a late takedown of his own to seal the deal, 6-1.

Final: Parkdale 223.5 - Roosevelt 225

The top 10 teams were rounded out by:

3 -147- Wise 4 -130- High Point 5 -121- Bowie 6 -88- Flowers 7 -80- Northwestern 8 -66- Crossland 9 -64- Duval 10- 59- Laurel

This was Parkdale's sixth straight Prince George's County Tournament Team Title to go along with their six straight County Dual Meet Titles. Head Coach Adam Forschner's face was a mix of satisfaction and relief as he held the two plaques for pictures with his team after the dust had settled. It had to be a bittersweet moment considering this is his last year at Parkdale. Due to personal reasons, he has decided to step down and take an Assistant coaching position at St. John's College High School in the District next year. I think I speak on behalf of the entire Prince George's County wrestling community when I wish him the best of luck at his new endeavor and thank him for his years of service at Parkdale.

Congratulations and good luck as well to everyone who competed this weekend and especially those who will be representing Prince George's County at the Regional Tournament at Flowers next weekend. I know you will make us all proud. Thanks also go out to Odist Felder and his staff for running an outstanding event. It is something we all take for granted but it wouldn't happen without the efforts of Coach Felder and his support crew. Thank you all. See you again next week!