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St. Mary’s Ryken Knights freshman wrestler Jake Vosburgh saw Shane Wilson of DeMatha on the other side of the mat Saturday in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship 113-pound title bout and instantly remembered earlier in the season.

Through the WCAC regular season, Vosburgh had only one loss and that one loss was delivered by Wilson in Ryken’s conference opener.

Now, the stakes were higher. The stage was bigger and, fortunately for Vosburgh, the outcome was different.

After a 4-0 victory by decision over Wilson, Vosburgh earned the WCAC championship and delivered Ryken first-year head coach Matt Myers his first individual conference champion at Ryken.

“Well, winning it as a freshman is pretty cool,” Vosburgh said. “I was the only one to win one [this year] from Ryken. And, as I was the first freshman to win it from Ryken ever, so I thought that was pretty cool.”

Myers added about the win, “He is a freshman, a young kid and the weight class that he is in is tough. But him losing 2-0 [in the first bout] kind of set it in his head, and set it in our heads as coaches through the year, that if we lose once, the main goal is to never lose again.”

Vosburgh, the No. 2 seed in the 113 bracket, had worked his way through the bracket to find Wilson as an opponent again. After wrestling the DeMatha wrestler once already, he came up with a game plan that ultimately led to the title.

“I thought that I could beat him on my feet, so I wanted to stay up there most of the time and take him down,” Vosburgh said.

Myers agreed that a game plan was formed going into the championship bout.

“We knew what we had to do to win,” Myers said, “and that was stay on our feet and let Jake try to take him down. Jake got two good takedowns and rode him out in the third period.”

And as if the WCAC 113-pound title was not enough, Vosburgh received another special award after being named the WCAC tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler as voted by the coaches.

“That was the biggest surprise,” Vosburgh said of the award. “I did not even think about it. When we were standing there, I didn’t know why we were standing there, but I had no thought that I was going to win that until they announced my name.”

For Myers and his coaching staff, winning a conference title and being competitive through the regular season with only 11 out of 14 weight classes filled, he believes that the program’s stock has risen in just his first year.

“The kids that we do put out are quality kids,” Myers said. “We have taken a step in the right direction. With Jake winning at 113, it pretty much solidified that this program is going to grow and has grown so much in the past year. … Hopefully next year, we’ll have a couple more champs.”

And although winning one WCAC title in a wrestler’s career is well enough, Vosburgh does not want to leave well enough alone, setting his sights on higher goals as his career continues.

“It was a goal at the start of the year to win this my freshman year,” Vosburgh said of the title, “but I want to try to be a four-time WCAC champ.”

Corey Willis (138) and Donovan Hall (160) each earned third-place finishes for the Knights at the tournament hosted by Paul VI in Virginia.

Dustin Whittles (145) placed second, while Dillon Whittles (106) and Jake Krall (132) each finished fourth.

Ryken finished fifth overall in the tournament as a team.

jmccray@somdnews.com