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n SMAC boasts seven champs, Northern takes runner-up honors at Patriot Classic" />
Entering the final round of the 20th annual Patriot Classic wrestling 24-team tournament hosted by Northern on Saturday night, there were nine wrestlers who advanced to the championship match from the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference.
When the round was over, seven of them stood atop the podium as the individual champion.
Northern had four individual champions and finished as the runner-up in the tournament with 230.50 points, while Westfield (Va.) claimed the tournament title with 270.50, advancing eight wrestlers to the finals, four of them first-place finishers.
Calvert took fourth with 130 points, Patuxent was fifth with 121 points, Thomas Stone was sixth with 109 and Westlake finished 19th with 35 in the two-day tournament that started on Friday.
Head coach Matt Smith was happy of how his Northern team was able to collect four champions in a row and take second in a very competitive tournament that included teams from Virginia and Prince George’s County.
”Our guys have had high expectations coming into this season and we are trying to prepare for postseason,” said Smith, who had six wrestlers finish in the top four. “I’m hoping that this tournament finish will carry over and we can start to peak now.”
Northern sophomore Brendan Coughlin earned a first-period pin over Javan White of Bowie to cap off his tournament finish, but mentioned that his 13-3 win by major decision in the 106-pound bout over Robert E. Lee’s Kevin Le in the semifinals was a pivotal victory.
”I came in as the fourth seed and [Le] was the top seed coming into the tournament and I was able to get a big win,” said Coughlin, who picked up his first Patriot Classic title. “It felt good to beat him, I was able to jump out to a 11-0 lead and control the match. So I got that pressure off my chest in the semifinals and it feels good to win here at home.”
Senior Brant Leadbeter earned his third straight Patriot Classic title with second-period pin at 113 over Westfield’s Gabe Ryan. Leadbeter, the defending Class 4A-3A state champion last year, won 26-11 in technical fall fashion versus Arundel’s Jack Owen.
”This is always a pretty tough tournament, there are some good teams from Virginia in this tournament,” said Leadbeter, who was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler. “This is my senior year and want to make the most of it. I’ve worked hard in the room.”
Northern senior Eric Hoffman was the 160-pound champion in the tournament and finished as a four-time Patriot Classic champion in his career. Hoffman won a 9-0 major decision in his title match over Stephen Aiello of Westfield and recorded three pins in the tournament overall. He was also named a Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Northern senior Cliff Armentrout won his first-ever Patriot Classic title with a third-period pin over Luke Brownlee of Arundel in the finals at 285. All four of Armentrout’s wins in the tournament were pins.
”I’m so happy right now, I’ve been working hard in the room,” Armentrout said.
Patuxent senior Matthew Gancayco, the defending 2A-1A defending state champion, won the 170 tournament title with a 9-5 win versus Hylton’s Codie Bowers. Connor Furst finished runner-up in the 138-pound weight class for Patuxent, while Mitch Lake took third for the Panthers at 145.
”This was a great experience,” Gancayco said. “It was a tough match in the final, I was able to overcome a small deficit. All of the hard work has paid off. My opponents were very competitive and the tournament was very tough.”
Thomas Stone senior Garrett Lineberger, also a defending state champion, squeaked out a 3-2 win over Westfield’s Tyler Morson to win the 182-pound championship.
”I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Lineberger said, who won the War on the Shore championship this season. “I needed a close match like that and conditioning was very important.”
Lineberger was also named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at 182.
Lineberger’s teammate Tanner Saluter finished runner-up in the 132-pound championship bout, falling 8-4 to Garrett Maged of Westfield.
Calvert senior RJ Hibbard was the 152-pound champion with a 5-0 win by decision over Jake Ward of Hylton (Va.), his first time winning the Patriot Classic.
Westlake’s Brandon Logan took fourth in the tournament at 106. Logan surged out to a 11-7 lead on Le in the consolation finals, but got pinned in the end.