2019 State Championship Reflections by Robert YI

The 2019 state tournament was one that was well represented by Montgomery County in terms of our sheer presence (frequency/volume) and overall success.

On the 2A/1A side, although Owings Mill and Glenelg might have done the most damage (don’t know how the team score broke down), Damascus crowned 2 champs (Furgeson and Baisden) and placed 2 more on the podium (Emerick-3rd and Beall-3rd). Poolesville had quite the showing with a state champ in Carbonell, Kresslein-3rd, and Fultz-5th.

For 4A/3A, Leonardtown might have had the most success with 5 placers, but the dual champion Springbrook Blue Devils led the way for MoCo with multiple placers in Nya- 2nd, Jean-3rd, Antar-5th and Sieh-5th.

Other teams with multiple placers included: BCC (E. Guttentag-2nd, Jeo Martinez-4th, D. Guttentag-5th), Sherwood (Sanchez-1st, Pfeiffer-6th), QO (Echeona-2nd, Cooper-2nd), Paint Branch (Smith-2nd, Foundjing-6th).

We managed to miss the snow but it led to the muddy pit that was the parking lot. Also, what was up with the constant light adjustment and cool air in that place.

Before I get to the weight breakdown, special shout out goes to my former stomping grounds WJ (and place of employment) for letting me set up camp for the weekend. Congrats to my man Jacob Bernstein for becoming a 2 time state placer, and putting yourself in the pantheon of WJ’s All-Timers.

By the way, I found it interesting that some Montgomery Countians enjoyed the extra opportunities being spread out over 3 regions gave us, but then was somewhat disappointed that it pitted us against each other several times in the semis as well (Liau vs Pierre-106, Sieh vs E. Guttentag-132, Sanchez vs D. Guttentag-145). I kind enjoyed that it guaranteed us some spots in the finals.

Congratulations to our champs (Eric Liau- Wootton (106), Alex Carbonell-Poolesville (120), Chris Sanchez- Sherwood (145), Timothy Furgeson-Damascus (182), Elijah Baisden-Damascus (220).

Our finalists (Siavash Sarvastani-Northwest (126), Eli Guttentag- BCC (132), Jose Echeona-QO (138), Marquez Cooper-QO (182), Austin Smith- Paint Branch (195), and Aimrick Nya-Hwt (Springbrook).

The rest of the place winners I will put in a separate post.

Although we crowned a champ in Eric Liau and placed another in Pierre Jean (3rd), it would have been nice to see how Ike Guttentag (BCC) and Silas Patton (Damascus) would have done respectively. In the finals, Liau’s swing singles did it again and controlled the match from all facets from the outset vs Bozeman.

P. S. Jean beat Bozeman in the 4A/3A North Finals last week, by pin.

BCC’s Simpson and Wootton’s Jason Liau both fell in the quarterfinals, but Jason would get to the blood round by beating Springbrook’s Grayson Wendel 4-0. Simpson would have a 6-4 lead on C. Milton Wright’s Gourgoulianis when he got high riding a spiral claw on top and got neck whipped for a pin in conso 2nd round. Gourgoulianis would go on to take 3rd over Atholton’s David Panda when he locked up a cradle down 3 points and scored the back points to tie it at the end of regulation. Gourgoulianis would win in the ultimate tiebreaker for 3rd.

The story here was Poolesville’s Alex Carbonell, the now 3 time state placer, must have been surprised that his nemesis from Smithsburg (Hovermale) lost in the quarterfinals to his eventual finals opponent Marquis Kemp from Lock Raven (good call Pinsky knowing what the abbreviation LCR was). But Carbonell faced some drama of his own in the quarterfinals vs Dunbar’s Cameron Deville, when he scored the go ahead takedown with 14 seconds left, 5-3. But through a second hand account, I was informed that Deville took his 2nd injury time out resulting in Carbonell gaining choice of position on the re-start. From there, Carbonell was dangerously close to giving up back points in the final seconds.

In the finals:

Alex scored the match’s only point on an escape early in the second period. Alex would ride out Kemp for the 1-0 win. Great moment for Poolesville Nation to see Coach Dorsey standing up celebrating Carbonell’s win with a hug (Nice suits, Tao and Dorsey). Where was your suit Godsey?

On the 4A/3A side, the finals involved a couple previous state champs (Rivera vs Vosburgh). Magruder’s Wafeeq Iqbal would be the lone placer on the 4A/3A side, as Clarksburg’s Alex Gonzalez and Springbrook’s Matt Kilby both lost in the blood round.

Much like his teammate Yonas Harris, Northwest’s Siavash Sarvastani seems to get better as the match draws to a close. In last week’s region final, Sarvastani used sudden victory to defeat Tyler Cook. Friday night in the quarters vs Caleb Chaves of Arundel, Siavash broke a 2-2 tie with a tilt late in the 3rd period for the 4-2 win. Saturday morning in the semis, Sarvastani scored a takedown with :17 seconds left to advance to the finals.

Wheaton’s Yoseph Yilma tried to even his quarterfinal loss to Urbana’s Austin Rohn in their 3rd/4th place match, and had the match tied 4-4 in the 3rd period, but gave up an escape and takedown for a 7-4 decision. Strong showing young man, and I can’t believe you still have another year to carry that banner for the Knights.

On the 2A/1A side, Damascus's Michael Emerick bounced back from a tough 13-1 quarterfinal loss to eventual champ Mximus Bentley of Easton, to wrestleback and take 3rd place, with a pin over Sparrows Point's Richard Davis. Starting off your high school career with a 2nd, then a 3rd, is extremely noteworthy, even for a Damascus wrestler.

In the finals:
Stephen Decatur’s Noah Reho controlled the match from the getgo and did a good job not letting Siavash get his patented double leg off and won 7-1.

BCC’s Eli Guttentag capped off his career with a trip to the finals, his 3rd trip to the podium (Nick, is that a record?), and the career wins leader. Congrats Eli, amazing career, happy to say I was part of the ride for a year (Arnone won’t give me credit for your switch to riding 2 on 1 wrist control from top).

Churchill Freshman Jaden Selby saw his magic ride end when he met Sherwood’s Paul Christenson in Conso round 2. But unfortunately for Paul, the 4A/3A North Champ would meet the same fate the following round (blood round) to Leonardtown’s Brian Bieshelt (who took 3rd). Springbrook’s Safore Sieh knocked off #3 (BillyB’s) ranked regional champ Nick Schardt (Broadneck) in the quarters 10-7, to set up his 4th matchup vs Eli Guttentag in the semis. Sieh would end the tourney on a positive note with a convincing 11-4 win for 5th place over Annapolis’s Nate Ditmars.

On the 2A/1A side, Poolesville’s Kevin Fultz also capped an impressive Freshman campaign, knocking off regional champ Danny Davis of Sparrows Point in the first round and wrestling back to get 5th, over Winters Mill’s Colby Unkart 4-0.

In the finals:
Guttentag would square off one last time vs eventual 3 time champ Earl Blake of Linganore. Once again, Blake controlled the match from his feet leading 4-2 at the end of the 2nd period from a couple hi-c takedowns.
But in the 3rd period, Blake would need to take injury time twice for what appeared to be asthma attacks. He would use nearly all of his time and some blood time (nose bleed) to gather himself and close out the match with 3 more takedowns for a 10-7 win.

In my opinion, the most anticipated match of the tourney was going to be from 2 undefeated returning champs in Glenelg’s Jared Thomas and Owings Mill’s Phil Smith. And before the action could get started, a young lady from the Huntingtown section passed out and needed medical attention (hope she was ok). As far as the epic finals, they didn’t disappoint, as it became a scramble fest that illicited the biggest oohs and aahs of the night. Both wrestlers ended in near fall positions several times until Smith came out on top for the pin. Epic.

On the 4A/3A side, the mystery continued to play out as WJ’s Jacob Bernstein entered last week’s regional tourney as the 2nd seeded favorite, but lost in the semis to QO’s Jose Echeona, who in turn lost in the finals to South Hagerstown’s Caleb Everhart. Coming into states, BillyB had the weight class ranked; 1-Everhart, 2- Echeona, 3- Bernstein, 4- Garlington (4A/3A East Champ).

These 4 would all meet in the semis, with QO’s Echeona beating Bernstein 7-2 and Garlington getting by Everhart 2-0 off an escape and locked hands in the 3rd period.

Everhart would meet Bernstein for 3rd/4th and score the deciding back points in the second period for an eventual 5-0 win.

In the finals:
Echeona would try some sort of 5 point move that pulled Garlington right on top of him for a 4-0 Garlington lead. In the 2nd period,
Echeona would get back in it with a quick reversal and 3 nearfall points from a bar that looked like a pin several times. Jose basically sat on on Garlington for a good chunk of the 2nd period, but couldn’t register the pin. In the third, after numerous scrambles, Garlington would catch Echeona in a standing merkle for the go ahead 2 points and although the two would scramble some more, Garlington would hold onto the 6-5 win.

If I was doing a fantasy draft of this tournament, I think Sherwood’s Chris Sanchez would have been a pretty safe pick. Fall :45, Tech 17-2, Fall 1:19, Major 16-5. Dominant. BCC’s Drew Guttentag was on the end of the 1:19 pin during their semifinal matchup. Drew would go onto nab 5th with a win over Mount Hebron’s 4A/3A East champ Bryce Kampert.

A coach asked me who I thought was an “OTW” for next year and one could say Clarksburg’s Kyle fits the bill. Smith beat Linganore’s Hayden Parkhurst to get some payback for last week’s regional 3rd/4th place loss. That win put him one round from the podium but he would lose to Northern Calvert’s Kaleb Dolina in the blood round, who went on to knock out Drew Guttentag in the conso semis.

In the finals:
Outside of the first 15 seconds, where Kenwood’s Dayton Duncan caught Sanchez’s shot with a takedown that almost looked like he had him for backs, it was all Chris Sanchez. Chris would get it done in every facet with 4 takedowns, 2 reversals, and 2 sets of backs,

With the absence of Poolesville’s Colin Savage (injury) and 4A/3A West Region Champ Nicholas McCarthy of RM (scratch), BCC’s Jeovannie Martinez took up the mantle of a 1
seed and took advantage with a trip to the semis. Martinez would lose to Stokes of Huntingtown but would wrestleback to 3rd/4th vs Turner-Rodgers of Woodlawn. Jeo fell behind 7-1, but would get an escape and get a takedown straight to backs with :29 seconds left to tie it at 7-7. But Turner-Rodgers would get the escape 10 seconds later for the 8-7 win.

Springbrook’s Sahid Antar had another battle with South River’s Trenton Puccinelli but this time it was in the semis. After a scoreless first, Puccinelli got an escape and then hit a Syracuse and got behind Antar for the critical 2. After an escape for Antar in the 3rd, Sahid went for the whole shabang and tried a lat drop, but pulled Puccinelli right on top of him for the last takedown. Antar would manage to take 5th over Stephen Decatur’s James Parana (who upset 4A/3A West Champ Dalton Pearl of Linganore in the first round) 7-3.

On the 2A/1A side Damascus’s Andrew Creedon reached the blood round before losing to Jacob Jones of Glenelg 7-3.

Poolesville’s Xavier Kresslein eeked out a 12–11 decision to Jason Mohler of LaPlata in the quarterfinals, but fell behind 7-4 at one point until he rolled thru while underneath a crossbody ride to a reversal plus back points, 9-7. Xavier would get a key takedown with :20 seconds left in the 2nd period and held on for the 12-11 win. But Kresslein would lose for a second time this season to Hereford’s Jimmy Kells 5-2 in the semifinals. Xavier would win the next 2 including a takedown in the last :30 seconds vs Parkside’s Eli Sellinger to break a 2-2 tie late in the 3rd period to finish 3rd, making his first podium appearance.

On the 4A/3A side, Gaithersburg’s Jaedyn Harris had maybe the match of the first round with a 4-4 Ultimate Tiebreaker win over regional champ Yusuf Higazi of Sherwood. Harris fell behind 4-0, but scored a reversal with a minute left in the second period and another one to tie it at 4-4, with :26 seconds left in the 3rd. Harris would hang on for dear life in the UTB for the win. Jaedyn would take this momentum and win 3 straight in the consos to a 4th place finish.

While Harris beat 4A/3A West Finalist Andrew Chavarria to reach the 3rd/4th match, Northwest’s Yoan Olympio faced 4A/3A West Champ Joey Bromley in the conso semis with different results. But Olympio would get a crack at Chavarria as well, but fell short 5-4, for 6th place.

After Marquez Cooper nailed that lat drop in the semis versus Theodore Stinson of C. Milton Wright at the end of the first period, it became apparent that it would be a rematch of last week’s 4A/3A West final vs Michael Bromley of Linganore in the state finals. Back on that in a moment.

I said at one point that this weight class was Timothy Furgeson and everyone else. But as the season progressed, our MoCo guys proved that they were a force on a state level. Unfortunately, Sherwood’s Pfeiffer and Paint Branch Isolato had to face each other in the blood round, and Northwest’s Jack Thomas fell to region champ Lucas Layton 4-3 in the blood round. Pfeiffer would make the podium but would injury default at the 1:26 mark.

In the finals:
Damascus’s Timothy Furgeson and Owings Mill’s Diondre Space went scoreless in the first period. Space deferred, putting Furgeson on bottom, a place Furgeson would stay the whole second period. A stall call against Furgeson was waived off, but in the end, the stallings would prove not to be the difference. Space would take bottom needing only an escape to potentially pull off the upset and the two would trade stallings but with :15 seconds left in the match, Furgeson would get the tilt to go for 2 and then win.

Back to the Cooper/Bromley finals. This match played very similar to their match last week in that Cooper came out aggressive, this time trying to pummel for a lat drop attempt and Bromley backing out of it constantly. This led to a stall call against Bromley. In the second, the story last week was that Cooper couldn’t get out from bottom and this time wasn’t much different. Except...Bromley would get hit with another stalling from top with :20 seconds left in the 2nd period, to make 1-0 Cooper. Bromley would choose down and get the let up for a 1-1 tie. But with Cooper tiring on his feet, Bromley took a timely swing single with :32 seconds left, to go ahead 3-1, and eventually win it 4-1.

Paint Branch’s Austin Smith was impressive throughout and it wasn’t more evident than in his quarterfinal match with MoCo rival, 4A/3A West Champ Ryan Jones of QO. His 2:49 pin of Jones and 13-4 major decision of returning state placer Mervyn Crawford of Poly, gave Smith a rematch versus Makosy of Urbana from last week’s 4A/3A North final. Unfortunately for Jones, he sustained a head injury that knocked him out of the tourney completely.

On the 2A/1A side, Damascus’s Aiden Beall pinned his first 2 opponents, but ran into a buzzsaw in Colonel Richardson’s Jordan Gabriel in the semis. Richardson scored first on a double and proceeded to ride Beall out for the rest until the end of the 2nd period. Beall chose neutral in the 3rd to no avail, as Gabriel scored a takedown with :40 seconds remaining to seal the win. Beall would errand take 3rd.

In the finals:

Unfortunately for Austin Smith, he ran into one of the best pound for pound wrestlers in the state in Urbana’s Kevin Makosy. Makosy was up 6-3 heading into the 3rd period, but an escape and 3 more takedowns was too much for Smith, 13-5.

In the 2A/1A finals:
Tough turn of events for Gabriel in the final vs returning finalist Sam Alsheimer of Glenelg. Gabriel had a 4-1 lead in the 2nd period when he got himself into a bad position near the edge and ended being pinned from one bad exchange. Credit to Alsheimer for capitalizing on Gabriel’s mistake, but what a heart wrencher for Gabriel.

Quite possibly the second best finals of the night came from Damascus’s Elijah Baisden vs Western Tech’s Ike Kalu. These two finalists from last season seemed to be on a collision course all year. After a scoreless first period, Baisden got an escape :17 seconds into the 2nd period but very nearly gave up a takedown on the edge, that many thought was 2. But the iffy calls seemed to even out as Baisden went down for a single leg, bumped heads with Kalu but still proceeded to lift Kalu’s leg. As Kalu’s leg was going up, he called injury time just as Baisden finished the takedown. The injury time was awarded and the takedown was waived off. In the 3rd period, Kalu really pushed the action by pummeling into Baisden forcing Elijah into stall calls at 1:00 and :13 seconds and a 1-1 tie. But on the restart, as Kalu stepped into Baisden, Elijah was waiting with a overhook/underhook wham of his own, sending Kalu right to his back for 2 and 2. Congratulations Elijah.

On the 4A/3A side, Clarksburg’s Jevon Coche continued his success from last week with 2 wins to the semis until he ran into Huntingtown’s Joseph Bannister-Pearce.

Churchill’s Ryan Kaplow took his first trip to states right to the blood round by holding off Blair’s Mervin Mancia 8-7, in conso round 2. Kaplow would face the same fate as Mancia in the next round to Paint Branch’s Waefu Foundjing 3-2, sending Waefu to the conso semis vs Clarksburg’s Jevon Coche.

From what I was told, Foundjing scored what appeared to be the match winning takedown at :41 seconds left to go up 4-3. But as they headed near the edge, Jevon went out, but Waefu was still in. Both thought they were out, so as they walked back to the middle, the ref gave Coche 1 for an escape. That tied it at 4-4, and sent it to OT where Coche would win it in sudden victory, 6-4. Coche would take 4th, Foundjing would place 6th.

Springbrook’s Aimrick Nya was the county’s lone representative in the podium, but he did so by making the finals vs South River’s Ka’Ron Lewis. To his credit, Nya did not leave it up to a coin toss and took a shot for the win in overtime, but got spun behind for the 3-1 loss.