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Ryken’s Vosburgh, Simpson win Charger Classic wrestling titles; Knights place ninth, Chopticon 16th
By JAMES A. McCRAY III
When walking around the Lackey High School Glenn Jones Charger Classic wrestling tournament on Friday and Saturday at Lackey High School, the same sentiment was shared between coaches, wrestlers and fans alike, that there was some tough competition present.
Featuring 32 teams as the tournament invited public and private schools from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia, wrestlers had the opportunity to battle on the mat against unfamiliar faces and teams.
The St. Mary’s Ryken Knights of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference emerged from the tough competition with two champions, Jake Vosburgh in the 106-pound weight class and Steven Simpson in the 113 class, both wrestlers winning matches in consecutive bouts.
The North Point Eagles of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference emerged as the top team finisher with 134.5 team points, which was good enough for fifth place overall behind team champion Westfield (Va.) with 224 points.
Ryken placed ninth overall as a team with 114.5 points, while Lackey was 11th with 89. Chopticon finished 16th with 80 points, with McDonough in 26th with 24, Great Mills taking 27th with 23 and Westlake in 28th with 17.
Despite the numerous teams and wrestlers and states, Vosburgh matched up with a wrestler from a school less than 15 miles away in the 106 championship match, Jarrett Arnold of Chopticon.
Vosburgh was able to jump out to a 9-1 lead before eventually earning the second-period pin and eventual title.
“I wrestled well, but there is always room for improvement,” Vosburgh said. “You can always win more impressively.”
On Arnold, Vosburgh admitted he and the Chopticon wrestler have a friendly history.
“Actually, I wrestled Arnold the first year I moved here,” Vosburgh said. “We wrestled junior league together, too, so I have known him for a little while.”
Vosburgh’s performance continues to be part of a fast start for he and the Ryken program this season that already includes Vosburgh winning the Raymond B. Oliver Tournament on Dec. 1 at McDonogh School in Baltimore County, also at 106. Ryken placed eighth in that tournament as a team.
“I think our confidence gets higher and higher with each tournament and as we win more and more,” Vosburgh said. “We get to see what we’re doing in the [practice] room is working, so we just work harder and harder in the room to improve each week.”
Simpson, the 113 champion who placed second at the Ray Oliver Tournament walked away with a trophy after his technical fall victory, 22-7 over Georgetown Prep’s Colin Kowalski, but something more meaningful to the newly-titled champion was also won.
“It feels amazing,” Simpson said of the win, “and I love getting big brackets. It’s like one of the best feelings and you can just go hang it on your wall.”
Ryken’s Donovan Hall  placed third overall.
Arnold was the only SMAC wrestler to appear in a championship match and, after finishing sixth overall last year, walks away with a second-place finish.
“I am so happy with my performance,” Arnold said. “I didn’t expect it. I really didn’t expect it. I went out there and gave it my all. … It’s not so much that I didn’t expect it, it’s just incredible because last year, I placed sixth overall. A year before that, I placed fourth. It’s great to be in this tournament again.”
Arnold admitted he gained a ton of experience in this tournament and now looks to wrestle through the SMAC season with more confidence.
“These guys here are studs,” Arnold said, “and that was some great experience right there.”
Senior Larry Cannon, Arnold’s teammate, earned a third-place finish at 145 with his first-period pin over Jay Aiello of Westfield.
“It was all good and I had all first-period pins until the [championship] semis,” Cannon said of his tournament run. “[The score in the semifinals] was like 11-10 and I was so close, and he [Daniel Downes of St. Mark’s, Del.] is not even a Maryland kid, but I think a lot of it was probably just going out there and not being in it.”
Malachi Edmond of North Point placed third overall in the 132 weight class as teammate Kyle Gascon took fourth in the 126 bracket.
Edmond admitted while being pleased with his third-place finish, he took away a lot more than simply a third-place finish.
“This was a really good tournament and showed me a lot of my weaknesses,” Edmond said, “especially since I was not wrestling a lot of the same guys I wrestle all the time in SMAC. … This definitely gave me a lot of experience and opened my eyes that I’ve seen before [in my wrestling], but didn’t know would come back up.”
Mike Laury of the host Chargers finished third overall at 220 with a 5-4 decision over Matt Schleckser of Churchill.