2019 Montgomery County Tournament Reflection

The 2019 Montgomery County Wrestling Tournament
Robert YI

I realize as I go through the season I only get to see a handful teams, wrestlers, and coaches from select duals or tourneys that I attend, so nothing beats seeing the county as a whole coming back together to put on our great local spectacle. Seeing ex-coaches, ex-wrestlers, and parents is why counties is so fun for me.
Shout out to Coach Britton, QO AD Jeff Raberman, county director Joe Vukovich and Gaithersburg High School for being great hosts.

Before I get to the wrestling, let me give a congratulatory salute to Magruder Assistant Coach Larry Hill for being named to the MD Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Well deserved for a class act and some one who has dedicated his life to the sport.

Despite all the team success and individually state ranked guys, the county has enjoyed, I just couldn’t get a sense that there were a ton of story lines. There were pleasantly not too many high seeded scratches (except BCC’s Ike Guttentag and my homeboy Enrique Garcia of WJ) and not a specific showdown that I was amped to see. I was basically hoping for barn burner OT finishes, or epic early round upsets, or an unseen dark horse, but very few of those really materialized.

On the first day, the biggest upset (12 seeded Guerrero beat 5 seeded Benitez as well, but I don't consider it an upset at all) by the numbers was 12 seeded Jesse Liebovich of Northwest beating (30-5) 5 seeded Sidiki Keita of Paint Branch. But Paint Branch got an upset of their own when 11 seeded Carlos Guardado Eagle beat Damascus’s 6 seeded Nick Biava. But while thinking of this I realized that the storyline of this tournament might have been the performances of the lower seeds in the consolation rounds.

I saw that Trackwrestling was keeping team scores so that made it more fun. But despite the fact that Damascus was supposed to be more a “dual team”, they still crowned 2 Champs (Baisden and Furgeson) and sent 4 others (Patton, Emerick, Creedon, and Beall) to the finals. Wootton had 2 champs (E. Liau & J. Liau) as did Springbrook (Antar & Nya) along with 5 others placers (Jean, Wendel, Kilby, Sieh, Jean, Mehul, Peralta).

Sherwood had 1 champ (Sanchez), 2 finalists (Higazi and Christenson) and 4 other placers (Holda, Nettey, Pfeiffer, and Ewing) to take 3rd.

Poolesville actually finished 4th as a team but crowned the most champs with titles from (Savage, Carbonell, and Kresslein) . They were bolstered by two 4ths (Fultz and Barney ) and a 5th (Hull).

4A West Champs BCC had some bittersweet results with 4 wrestlers reaching the finals (Eli Guttentag, Simpson, J. Martinez, Drew Guttentag), Eli’s second county title and Aidan Moffitt’s 4th place finish. But Ike Guttentag injures his hand late in the week, Drew Guttentag withdrew from his finals match versus Chris Sanchez and Fabio Martinez was unable to finish his counties after his first round win.

Last year’s quarterfinals were epic and this year had some heart stoppers as well.
Although most of the favorites advanced, there were some scares.
106- Kennedy’s Griffin Gonzalez almost pulled off the upset versus Blair’s McCaw until McCaw hit a Peterson with back points for a 9-8 win.
113/120- Sherwood’s Holda twins were simultaneously involved in matches where nail biting finishes were the story. But each on opposite sides of the drama Brandon fell behind 7-0 to Damascus’s Joe McKneely and very nearly got pinned 3 different times in cradles but kept his body almost perpendicular to the mat to avoid the pins. Amazingly Brandon would come back to win 22-14. Unfortunately for his bro, Brady held a 7-0 lead versus Clarksburg’s Alex Gonzalez before Alex would come back and win 9-7.
160- In a high pace, high point scoring match between Wootton’s Woolly and Clarksburg’s Ramm, the match would end abruptly when Woolley would attempt a throw and pull Ramm in top of him for a pin.
At one point, Whitman’s Zaki was driven onto the floor by Magruder’s Amah, Isolato was unable to finish his match with Jack Thomas of Northwest, and Springbrook’s Gomez injury defaulted our of his match with QO’s Marquez Cooper. Zaki would be able to continue in that match.
The Semifinals
106 Liau vs. Jean
Eric Liau took control from neutral with a couple takedowns and eventually scoring backs from a tilt for a 6-0 win.
Patton vs. McCaw The two trade a takedown and a reversal 2-2, but Patton reverses McCaw’s crossbody for backs and wins 7-3. 113 Simpson vs. Holda
Simpson gets the first takedown and then proceeds to score 2 tilts and another set of backs from legs to an 11-1 lead. Holda tries to get back in it with a cradle but fell short 11-4. Liau vs. Wendel
After a swing single and an escape 3-0 for Liau would step over on a Wendel dump attempt and put in the double grapes for 5, 8-0. Wendel would try double legs but got reversed to 10-0. 120 Kilby vs. Carbonell
Carbonell got on the board first with a Fireman’s Dump for a 2-0 first period. Kilby goes right to crossbody and rides out Carbonell in the second. In neutral, Alex goes swing to low ankle scramble 4-0, immediately to a butcher 6-0. Gonzalez vs. Iqbal
Iqbal scrambled out of a back door shot finish from Gonzalez to go behind 2-0. Wafeeq went 1 then 2 for a 5-0 lead. Gonzalez would close it to 6-3 but got no closer. 126 Yilma vs. Siavash
Siavash absolutely dominated from his feet throughout with takedown after takedown and a 15-4 win.
Emerick vs. Nettey
Nettey kept it within two points throughout but would get reversed at the end for a 6-2 deficit and eventual 6-3 win.
132 Eli vs. Sieh
Eli would hit an awesome swing from underhook single to double on edge 2-0. In the 2nd period, movement on bottom to an escape made it 3-0, Eli. After a tilt Eli would go up 6-0 and eventually winning it 6-3. Fultz vs. Christiansen
Fultz came out firing but Christenson would butt drag and leg over for a 2-0 lead. An escape 3-0 and immediate shot put Paul up 5-0. Fultz would get a takedown late, but Christenson wins it 6-3. 138 Echeona vs. Ewing
The two scrambled for a while, but Echeona would score 2-0, right to backs and almost into a spladle 4-0. Ewing would score on a reverse 4-2, but eventually end up in another scramble that lead to being caught in double grapes for the pin. Bernstein vs. Jean
Bernstein scored 2-0 on a single, but spent most of the 2nd period mat returning. But in the 3rd, Jacob locked up front side cradle and score a couple sets of backs before winning by tech fall. 145 Hull vs. Sanchez
Sanchez wrestles like he is down 10 points even when he is winning by 10. He would win 15-3. Lopez vs. Drew
Some dump attempts by Lopez lead to a go behind from Guttentag that transitioned right to a butcher and 2 more backs points 4-0. The match would stay at 4-0. 152 McCarthy vs. Savage
My first look at McCarthy came from his impressive win over Churchill’s DeSalvo. McCarthy tried to get in Savage’s head literally and figuratively with a lot head taps but Savage kept his cool, hit a Peterson at the beginning of the 2nd period and eventually cranked a far side half for the pin. Jeo Martinez vs. Pryzgocki
Jeo hit a swing 2-0 and built a 4-1 lead. Martinez spent much of the rest of the match on top trying to score tilts. An escape and a go behind would end in a 7-2 win for Martinez. 160 Antar vs. Bollinger
Not too much going on both ways except that Bollinger was in it at 1-1 until Antar hit a double to backs and an eventual 6-2 win.
On a side note, seeing the Bollingers (Dad, Kyle) sitting a row up from Tony Barnes, Bernard Woolley, and the Savages near by (Dad, Mom, Cory) and Sanchez having just wrestled reminds me of the Bad Boy Wrestling Club days. I hear Coach Barnes is trying to get a new iteration this spring. Ramm vs. Creedon
A nice back and forth mat that got interesting late. At 8-8, Ramm got in on a leg, only to have Creedon grab Ramm’s leg and force him head first into the mat for 2 and an injury timeout. With only moments left, Creedon would hold onto the win. 170 Olympic vs. Xavier
Kresslein won 3-1 in large part due to a single Xavier worked both ways until he finished on a Hi- C. Higazi vs. Harris
This match stayed in a tie-up and the wrist. Higazi gets a reverse halfway thru the second 2-0. Harris gets an escape late 2-1, but Higazi would turn it on and add to his lead 7-1. 182 Thomas vs. Furgeson
Furgeson got off to a 3-0 lead, and would just add to it from top with a series of tilts and a 10-2 win.
MOCO MATCH OF THE YEAR
Pfeiffer vs. Cooper What this tourney has lacked are some classics controversy OT Barn burner and this was it
Pfeiffer turns a shot attempt into 2 takedown and backs 4-0. Cooper escapes 4-1 but goes feet to backs 5-4. After an escape it is 5-5. 6-5 AP. The match had constant action from both that lead to takedown attempts out of bounds throughout. Cooper and Pfeiffer stayed hip to hip on a whizzer for the last :30 of the match. In OT it went scoreless. In OT 2- Cooper goes down and Pfeiffer rides him out. In OT 3, Cooper lets Pfeiffer up and just when it seems like Pfeiffer will win it, Cooper throws a lateral drop at the buzzer and hits it. Initially, the ref rules that it doesn’t count. Cooper goes nuts and tries to walk off the mat. Fortunately, Mr. Echeona keeps Marquez on the mat, as the ref re-confers with the timer and then awards the match to Cooper. Much respect to Pfeiffer for keeping it together.
195 Barney vs. Smith
Smith scored on a low shot and a stack on top 4-0. After a snapback that almost led to a pin. Smith would gain the tech.
Jones vs. Beall This match was scoreless in the first period. The two traded escapes in the next periods. Beall was the shooter and eventually he landed one on the edge of the mat and that would be the difference at 3-1. Jones would get a late escape to make it 3-2. 220 Baisden vs. Coche Baisden would get the pin here.
Amah vs. Foundjing
Foundjing picked a crucial penalty point from Amah late in the firs and after an escape in the second 2-0, Amah found himself having to play catch up and forced some shots that led to Foundjing spun behinds and an eventual win.
HWT Nya vs. Taylor Nya pushed across a hammerlock for the pin.
Galo vs. Smith Smith would become the second Clarksburg HWT to make the county final in 3 years with a second period of Galo.
Because as I was following it on Track, it appeared I was missing all the good action. I found this on track and it seems to sum it up quite nicely (largest finish to seed difference):
Carlos Guerrero (Quince Orchard) (Seed 12) (Place 4) Jaden Selby (Churchill) (Seed 12) (Place 5) Marquez Cooper (Quince Orchard) (Seed 7) (Place 2) Colby Fong (Whitman) (Seed 11) (Place 6) John Wallmark (Northwest) Seed 8 (Place 3) Joe Raab (Churchill) (Seed 10) (Place 5) Joe McKneely (Damascus) (Seed 10) (Place 6) Isiah Bell (Damascus) Seed 8 (Place 4) Nate Eig (Rockville) Seed 8 (Place 3) Mervin Mencia (Blair) Seed 8 (Place 5) Yussef Zaki (Whitman) (Seed 6) (Place 3) Aidan Moffitt (BCC) Seed 8 (Place 4) Kyle Smith (Clarksburg) Seed 8 (Place 6) Matthew Lindstrom (Whitman) Seed 8 (Place 6)
Upsets were happening a plenty and names were being established on the county landscape.
106- The story here was RM’s Laura Chang. With her 9-0 win over Kennedy’s Griffin Gonzalez (and near pin) for 5th place, Chang could have possibly become the first girl to place at counties since Helen Maroulis (Whitman folk please fact check that, since I remember Harriett Symington placing 5th at regionals but couldn’t remember her best county finish)
113- The man at the top of my chart there was QO’s Carlos Guerrero who 12 seed wasn’t anything but a number as he made a run through the consolation brackets placing 4th. Tenth seeded Joe McKneely of Damascus also outdid his seed with a 6th place showing before losing to Sherwood’s Brandon Holda for the second time.
120- After losing to 10 seed Colton DeValle (Damascus) on the first day, 7th seeded Nate Eig (Rockville) came out of my honorable mention shadows, and made one hell of a run on the tourney’s 2nd day beating Cortez (Einstein), Casamento (Whitman), Liebovitch (NW), and Gonzalez (Clarksburg), to reach the 3rd/4th match and then beat Kilby (Springbrook) in the last 2 seconds of the match on a throw. Huge win young man, and way to put some spotlight back the Rams.
126- 6 seeded Aiden Moffitt of BCC made a run himself by winning 3 straight with a 15-12 win over Yilma (Wheaton) to get 4th in the consolation final
132- Lower seeds continued to get it done when Nick Biava took out Einstein Allan Vasquez but would turn around and lose to 8 seed Matthew Lindstrom of Whitman. But Coach Lowe told me to keep a look out for 12 seeded freshman Jaden Shelby who ran 3 wins off in the consolations to get to the 5th/6th place match to pin Whitman’s Lindstrom.
138- 11 seeded Coby Fong of Whitman continued Whitman’s surge in the consolation rounds by finished above his seed and notched himself at least a pigtail at regionals with a 6th place finish.
145- 8th seeded Kyle Smith (Clarksburg) assured himself of a regionals match in his home building by finished 2 spots higher than his seed with a 6th place finish.
152 4th seeded Nicholas McCarthy was on his biggest stage with a decisive 7-1 win for 3rd over 8-seeded Isiah Bell. Bell finishing in the top shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering how much I’ve pumped him up. 160- 8 seeded sophomore John Walmark (Northwest) made a name for himself this tournament by reeling off 4 wins over Grossman, Morones, Ramm, and a 10-3 3rd place win over Watkins Mill’s Victor Kum. Heck of a run.
Chalk pretty much held on at 170 & 182
195- 10th seeded Joe Raab (Churchill) kept his season alive with a successful showing and 5th place finish over 4 seeded Elias Chen.
220- 8 seeded Mervin Mancia of Blair knocked off 5 seed Ryan Kaplow (Churchill) in an ultimate tiebreaker and then 4 seeded Jevon Coche (Clarksburg) to place 5th.
Hwt- Although Northwood’s Mathias Adjingbaruk was the 5 seed, he wasn’t on my radar, so he let me and everyone else know, using this weekend’s performance, who he is (congrats young man). After losing in the ultimate tiebreaker to Taylor of Magruder in the quarters, Mathias came back to win 3 straight before losing to a redemptive Wilmarth of Whitman for 4th.
So the question going forward will be, have these wrestlers arrived, or what is it the tourney of their lives?

The Finals

Talk about one of the most chalkiest finals I can remember as the top seeds/favorites held it down with mostly convincing wins.

106 Liau vs. Patton

Liau scored first on a go behind off the front headlock 2-0, Patton would escape before the end of the first. Patton would try to put the leg in and Liau caught the foot and threw it off for 3-1 lead. After a Liau shot, Silas countered and ended with an inside leg in and proceeded to lock a cradle of sorts and initially received a takedown. But this was waived off. In the third period, Patton would escape to cut it to 3-2, but would get no closer and Liau would score one more takedown for a 5-3 win.
113 Liau vs. Simpson

Simpson shot a single and cut across for a 2-0 lead, Liau would escape to make it 2-1 before the 2nd period. Starting from bottom, Liau hit a quick head and arm, which Simpson tried to roll thru on, which then lead to a scramble that Liau won. But the climax in this match came when Liau hit a spladle for backs. Simpson would mange to get out but never recovered the point differential and fell short 15-9.

120 Iqbal vs. Carbonell Alex hit a throw by to an ankle for a 2-0 lead. Carbonell spent most of this match on top and would build his lead to 5-0 and win (2nd county title).

126 Sarvastani vs. Emerick
Siavash’s double has been unstoppable this tournament. He got it early, and got some backs off a scramble that led to a 4-1 lead. Sarvastani would make it 5-1, before Emerick would score on a single leg late to make it 5-3.

132 Guttentag vs. Christenson
Vintage Eli match with a fireman’s early 2-0, 2 backs off a tilt 4-0, and a reverse in the 3rd, for a 6-0 win (2nd county title). 138 Bernstein vs. Echeona

The two got hip to hip in a whizzer but Jacob high hipped for the first 2-0. In the second, Jacob would use a dump to get 3 backs from top 5-0. In the 3rd, Jose tried an inside trip but Bernstein scrambled and got a leg in to make it 7-0. Another set of backs 9-0, and a tilt made it 11-0. Echeona would break the shutout with a Gramby 11-2. 146 Sanchez vs. Guttentag


Sanchez won by forfeit (2nd county title)

152 Savage vs. Martinez
After a single 2-0, a spiral half roll 4-0, Savage locked a cradle for the pin. 160 Creedon vs. Antar
Creedon scored the first point in the second period, 1-0. But a couple doubles and escapes later, Antar would be in control and win it 7-4. 170 Kresslein vs. Higazi

Xavier’s sweet ankle pick in the first period proved to be the difference in a 5-2 win. 182 Furgeson vs. Cooper

Furgeson got up by a lot early 11-0, but to Cooper’s credit, Marquez continued to take the action to Furgeson. Unfortunately, Furgeson didn’t want to engage much, backing up and not even standing up when Copper was letting him up. Furgeson would get the win at 13-4, to a chorus of boos (3rd straight county title).

195 Smith vs. Beall A pretty tight match throughout, at 1-1, Smith scored a close takedown on the edge to make it 3-1, and held on to win 3-2.
220 Baiden vs. Foundjing

Elijah caught Waefu in a chin and wing for backs, which proved to be the difference in his 8-0 win. Tourney Director Joe Vukovich would tell me during the match that Baisden’s major decision was the difference in him winning the Monisera Award (most points accumulated by a senior at the county tournament).
Hwt Nya vs. Smith

Sorry Amrick, spent this match chatting it up. Congrats on your 8-3 win.
Man, that was too long and too much info. But those who like all the nuances, I tried to include it all. Good luck to Damascus and Poolesville at the 2A/1A West Regional, and to Springbrook, Sherwood, Paint Branch and the rest of the Montgomery County wrestlers.