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La Plata earns 10th-straight SMAC wrestling tournament championship
By JAMES A. McCRAY III
Staff writerFor seven years, La Plata Warriors head wrestling coach John Pankhurst has been a part of a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference tournament championship as an assistant coach.
However, after Saturday’s championship round of the SMAC tournament hosted by Thomas Stone, Pankhurst was able to guide La Plata to its 10th-straight SMAC tournament title and his first SMAC title as the program’s head coach.
The Warriors took home five individual SMAC championships en route to 245 team points, the five championships courtesy of Jon Boarman (285 pounds), Sean Roberts (220), Josh Llopez (152), John Papanicolas (113) and Marty Margolis (106).
Papanicolas, Llopez and Boarman were each repeat champions, winning SMAC titles last season.
La Plata was also a perfect five-for-five in championship bouts featuring a Warriors wrestler.
North Point placed third overall with 180 points, while Stone was fifth with 168.5. Lackey finished ninth with 66 points, while McDonough was 11th with 61 and Westlake took 13th with four team points.
“It’s pretty cool,” Llopez said of the 10th-straight title. “We worked really hard for this as you can see with our success in this tournament. I feel awesome to be a part of this team and this legacy.”
Boarman added, “It feels good to be on a team this talented through my four years. That is some of what has got me to the point where I am good.”
And good was great for the 285-pounder as he won a 3-2 decision over North Point’s KeJuan Perez in the championship bout.
“It feels good, seeing the improvement that I have made since freshman year to now and where I have gotten myself,” Boarman said. “It takes everything to be good, including offseason training and offseason tournaments and just getting to that next level where you can win tight matches and dominate your weight class.”
Llopez, a sophomore, is two-for-two in SMAC championships, earning this year’s title with a late first-period pin.
“Not really,” Llopez responded when asked if the title felt different than last year’s. “It’s just about going out there and doing my thing. I have to give the honor to God because God got me here and I give him the glory.”
Stone finished with two individual champions in Ryan Sharp (138) and Garret Lineberger (170). Wesley Fowler (145) and Genkie Stoutamire (182) earned third-place spots for the Cougars.
Lineberger’s victory, coming by way of a second-period pin, kept the wrestler undefeated this year as he aims to better all of last year’s postseason tournament finishes.
“Last year,” Lineberger started, “I placed second in every tournament. I got second in SMAC, second at region and second at states and it sucked. But, I want to continue this current run into states.”
On how he plans on improving on the final two second-place finishes, he responded, “Just keep doing extra workouts. Lifting and extra practices on days off are important and working hard in regular practice, too.”
Sharp was able to score his championship victory via a 7-4 decision over North Point’s Sean Mulloy.
Mulloy, Perez and Malachi Edmond (126) were all championship finalists for North Point.
The Eagles also had three third-place winners in Dominick Summers (113), Tyler Morgan (120) and John Buffington (132).
Mike Laury (195) and Garrett Welch (220) placed third overall for the Chargers.
Eric Hoffman of Northern at 145 pounds, Zach Pilkington of Patuxent at 126 and Sam Corey of Leonardtown at 120 were each vying for their own respective piece of SMAC history on the Stone mats on Saturday as well.
And just as each have done in the two years prior, they all earned victories in their respective championship bouts and walked off a SMAC mat for the last time as three-time champions, a feat that only 30 other SMAC wrestlers have accomplished.
In the process, Corey became Leonardtown’s first-ever three-time SMAC champion.
Region tournament action happens Friday and Saturday. La Plata will host the 4A-3A South Region tournament and will be joined by county foes North Point, Stone and Westlake, while Lackey and McDonough will be in the 2A-1A South Region tournament scheduled to be at Marriotts Ridge High School in Howard County.
SMAC wrestling tournament results
Team1. La Plata 245, 2. Leonardtown 182, 3. North Point 180, 4. Huntingtown 178, 5. Thomas Stone 168.5, 6. Northern 120, 7. Chopticon 110, 8. Patuxent 98.5, 9. Lackey 66, 10. Calvert 65, 11. McDonough 61, 12. Great Mills 34.5, 13. Westlake 4
106 Margolis (LaP) def. Smith (TS), 4-2
113 Papanicolas (LaP) def. Leadbeter (N), 2-1
120 Corey (Lt) def. Saluter (TS), 10-1
126 Pilkington (P) def. Edmond (NP), 10-4
132 Truitt (Lt) def. Furst (P), 8-6
138 Sharp (TS) def. Mulloy (NP), 7-4
145 Hoffman (N) def. Gancayco (P), 11-4
152 Llopez (LaP) pinned Sesso (C) 1:48
160 Rowe (H) pinned Messick (Ch), 3:26
170 Lineberger (TS) def. Hayden (H), 16-0 (tech. fall, 3:15)
182 Cannon (Ch) pinned Fowler (H), 3:26
195 Athens (H) def. Bohanan (Lt), 11-10
220 Roberts (LaP) pinned Snowden (Lt), 5:01
285 Boarman (LaP) def. Perez (NP), 3-2
Consolation finals106 Arnold (Ch) def. Gascon (NP), 9-8
113 Summers (NP) def. Lemmon (Lt), 4-2
120 Morgan (NP) pinned Patterson (LaP), 2:58
126 Higgs (LaP) def. Gaetano (Lt), 8-5
132 Buffington (NP) pinned Irwin (LaP), 2:55
138 Adams (LaP) def. Constantino (H), 6-5
145 Fowler (TS) def. Skibicki (GM), 13-4
152 Walsh (P) def. Merritt (H), 3-2
160 Cable (LaP) def. Schirf (NP), 4-1
170 Crowley (Lt) def. Wilhelm (LaP), 7-1
182 Stoutamire (TS) def. Kinney (C) 4-2
195 Laury (L) pinned Sirk (Ch), 3:49
220 Welch (L) def. Walker (H), 6-4
285 Armentrout (N) def. Holland (H), 7-6