The 54th Montgomery County Wrestling Tournament
by Robert Yi

So what can we say about the 54th Montgomery County Wrestling Tournament? Much like the last 5 years, Damascus rules. Winning by 103.5 points, sending 7 to the finals (McLaughlin, Obendorfer, Lawrence, Furgeson, Parent, McLaughlin, Lokos) and crowning 4 champions ( McLaughlin, Obendorfer, Lawrence, Lokos ). Damascus matches their dual match dominance with a county tourney title. B-CC finishes 2nd by sending 4 to the finals with 3 champs and a number of top 6 finishers. Congratulations to Eli Guttentag, Alec Cohen, and Marcelo McAndrew for winning counties.

Before the action even started, two major players scratched, which caused ripples within those respective weight classes. Charlie Siarkas of Sherwood and Alejandro Lopez of Quince Orchard were unable to compete at heavyweight and 126 . There were a lot of close matches, OT matches, and upsets, but there were two individuals in particular who captured my attention. Miguel Correno of Watkins Mill, and my guy Seamus Selmi of BCC.

Miguel Correno made his first appearance in the county tournament and put himself on the map with a huge pin over Eisley Kim of Quince Orchard in the quarterfinal. He followed that up with a 7-5 semifinal win over Cameron Hoppman of Rockville in the semis to advance to the finals at 195. Despite eventually losing to Gibbs Tinne of Paint Branch in the finals, Correno has indelibly established himself as a force going forward.

Although Correno was off my radar (aka my rankings, he was 27-5 coming in, and the 6th seed). My guy Seamus Selmi had probably, the upset of the tournament when he defeated the 1 seed Luis Orellana of Richard Montgomery, 1-0 in the quarters. This eight seed would then upset James Bamberger of Whitman in the semis, 6-0. His run also fell in the finals to Ryan Lawrence of Damascus. Big ups to you Seamus.

Two matches on the first day that caught my eye, were the match between Lucas Young of Churchill, and TJ Macklin. Young kept Macklin in the match with stall calls (dropping to the ankle and not improving, which eventually led to points) and Macklin let him right back in with three cautions. And when Young tried to hold on for the win, he probably should've dropped to the ankle and didn't, and Macklin advanced to the quarter. Another heart pounder was the 8 seed/9 seed match between Brett Williams of Quince Orchard vs Braeden McKee of Whitman. This match ended in the ultimate tiebreaker, when McKee was called for his second stalling while trying to return Williams to the mat using a standing tilt.

Surprisingly, the quarters probably provided a little more suspense than the semis, with such matches as, Ryan Crosby of Clarksburg over Jonathan Dosso of Kennedy, 3-2 (2/7 matchup), Joe Sanchez of Magruder barely holding on to beat Corey Scholl of Gaithersburg, Toussaint Rodgers of Richard Montgomery’s win over Louis Galeano of Springbrook, 10-8 in OT, Christian Villeda of Springbrook over Liam Lehr of Churchill, 7-6, Khalil Owens over Justin Budd of Poolesville 8-5, and Adato of Northwest over Gabe McAndrew of BCC 8-6. What this shows is that when the format dictates that you will place top four automatically if you win your quarterfinal, the kids wrestle almost like it is the consolation semis at regionals. This will also prove interesting, considering that many of these may end up being the first round/quarterfinal match-ups next weekend at regionals.

In the semis, two of the more closely contested matches were JD FitzPatrick of Walter Johnson vs. John Allan Furgeson and Sufyan Madyun of BCC vs JJ Bravo of Churchill. Both matches went right down to the wire and provided some drama in somewhat of a lackluster round.

On the injury front, before I breakdown the weight classes, saw Austin Smith of Paint Branch need staples in his head, which kept him out of action on Saturday, Aaron Robertson of Springbrook have to injury default out his ¾ place match Jakub Kielb, and Ethan Rendleman of Damascus not compete in his semifinal vs. Kemper Stearns. Also not sure of the injury status of Luis Orellana from Richard Montgomery, as he is listed as having injury defaulted to Jack Cohen of Wootton in the consolation semis.

106- Went pretty much as expected with Guttentag capturing his first county crown in a pretty conservative final. I’ll be curious to see how Rendleman’s absence and his availability for next week will factor into regionals.

113- Cramma showed off his athleticism several times, but was outmatched by a highly technically skilled Johnny McLaughlin. Ryan Crosby of Clarksburg had a strong tournament finishing 3rd, well above his 7th seed. Clark Glory of Wheaton was a small surprise finishing 6th in this loaded weight class, knocking off Harris of Springbrook in round 1, then beating Quintanilla of Watkins Mill in the consolation semi to get into the 5th/ 6th match.

120- Lopez and Kilby had one of the better finals matches, as both wrestlers went back and forth, and created some good drama and solid action, as Lopez captured his second win over Kilby and his first county championship. Eight seed and nine seeds Samir Sharad of Magruder and Nick Gonzales of Clarksburg, locked up a couple of spots at regionals with their placements in the consolation finals.

126- Jack Connelly of Churchill won a hotly contested battle over Joe Sanchez of Magruder in the semis, before running into the county’s lone defending state champion Scotty Obendorfer. It will be interesting who wins that last spot to states next week, as the three aforementioned 126 pounders are the overwhelming favorites.

132- Seamus Selmi of BCC put the weight class on its head with his scrambles and Ryan Lawrence is looking like a force to be reckoned with at states, as he pinned his way thru the finals, including over state ranked Nolan Smith of Paint Branch in the semis.

138- Congratulations to Xavier Howard for winning one for Wheaton. The face of the program the last several years, he showed a senior’s urgency by holding on despite looking absolutely exhausted vs. Furgeson, who will undoubtedly see more finals before it is all said and done. I think its all about the matchups in this weight class among the top four, so how will it all shuffle out tomorrow morning at the seeding meeting?

145- Bravo started off fast, and after he hit that tilt roll, he appeared to have a chance. But Wilson settled in, and held on to claim his second county championship for Walter Johnson. I have a feeling Davey Creegan will prove to be a lot more prominent in the full wrestle back scenario next weekend.

152- Despite the 8-1 score, the match seemed to be a lot closer. When Parent didn’t get that early takedown call at the edge of the mat, it looked like some of the momentum disappeared. One cradle later and it was a different match. These two appear to be the class of the weight and it will be a scramble from Bangura, Villeda, Lehr, and Garrison to fill the last two spots.

160- Besides winning his first county championship, one of my favorite memories about counties this year, will be my discussion with Alec Cohen of BCC about the desperate and deplorable conditions wrestlers have to face in terms of bathroom conditions at any wrestling tournament, scary. The top four finishers will be the heavy favorites next week, but Robertson’s health status will continue to be a big factor going forward.

170- Ben Lokos of Damascus was dominant, as he pinned his way thru the finals and solidified his potential on the state level. Khalil Owens had a strong tournament placing fourth, Poolesville’s Justin Budd’s health status will be a factor next week, and congrats to Juan Lopez of Blake (same can be said of his teammate Tyree Sewell who took 6th at 160) and Diego Orrego of Clarksburg for next weekend with by placing in the top six.

182- Quite possibly the best match of the finals. Okocha came in as the heavy favorite considering how well he did vs. McAndrew of BCC in their dual, but Marcelo let it fly and put Okocha to his back late and took the lead for good. Kudos to your effort. Special shout out to Northwood’s Phillip Kombet (great wrestling name) coming in as the 14th seed and placing 5th.

195- Three stories. Tinne dominance, Correno’s run to notoriety, and Clarksburg’s Adam Rubert, who pigtailed into the tourney with a 3-1 record, and subsequently, threw Finley (Northwood), Mendoza (WJ), Kim (QO), and Iglesias (Whitman) onto their backs for pins until he lost to Gabe McAndrew for 6th place. Look out for this young man in the pigtail round next week.

220- Another clash of the titans for Wilson and Bernardo in the finals. This could be the scenario the next two weekends (with possibly varying results). The story here was 11-6 Tobi Akpona of Northwest, who dismantled Mikey Bradshaw of Damascus in the quarters, and carved a path to 3rd place.

285- Wilkins reigns for the second year in a row (trying to remember the last Moco hwt to win back to back years) and pins thru the finals. BCC’s Sam Loebig was one ankle pick away from making it five in the finals, as he lost a close one to 2 seed Andy Babay in sudden victory. The story here is whether Siarkas makes it back to regionals next week.