- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
It seemed as if the La Plata Warriors wrestling team was on a business trip rather than on the home mats on Tuesday night.
Welcoming the Chopticon Braves and Patuxent Panthers to La Plata for a tri-meet, the Warriors were all business in picking up a 45-31 victory over Patuxent and a 72-12 victory over Chopticon, sweeping the tri-meet.
Patuxent picked up a victory over Chopticon, 47-24.
And although La Plata wrestlers Marty Margolis, John Papanicolas and Nick Higgs were all smiles after the victories, there were no smiles to be had when the three lined up for back-to-back-to-back bouts with Patuxent leading 31-27 and those three bouts remaining after Miles Lee cut the Patuxent lead down to 31-27 with his pinfall victory before the final three.
Margolis at 120 pounds and Papanicolas at 126 each earned first-period pins and Higgs, at 132, picked up a third-period pin in closing Patuxent out in the first dual of the night.
“The match started off pretty close with Patuxent,” Margolis said, “but we knew we ended out strong with me, J.P. and Nick, so we weren’t that worried.”
Margolis improved to 24-1 after earning a second pinfall of the evening against Chopticon. But even with his current standing, Margolis admitted there is something more important that needs to happen than individual accomplishments in continuing the winning ways as a team.
“Staying a family,” Margolis said. “We can’t have people just doing their own thing and them doing their own thing, we have to stay loud on the bench, cheer each other on, help each other in the room and remain a team and a family.”
After the sweep, Papanicolas admitted that the feel around the La Plata team is that, in a sense, the team getting back to business.
“We are definitely coming together and have made a lot of improvements,” Papanicolas said. “We have been working hard and targeting our weak spots and improving. Even just in the short amount of time of three weeks, we have made huge improvements. Tonight’s performance was good and everyone did their job.”
La Plata won nine of the 11 bouts wrestled against Chopticon by pinfall, while Chopticon won two bouts and three bouts were forfeits.
“It’s been a while since we have put a lot of numbers on the board,” Papanicolas said. “The entire first half of the season, I would say we have been going down to the last two or three matches, but tonight’s matches definitely makes it feel like teams from a couple of years ago. Hopefully, we can just keep it up.”
Margolis added, “We’re clicking as a team now. We were having some troubles and had some holes, but we’ve learned to deal with what we had and are coming together.”
Patuxent senior Matt Gancayco picked up two wins via pinfall on Tuesday night as well at 182 and 170, but had his sights set on accomplishing something else.
“It felt good to get our win against Chopticon,” said Gancayco, who is currently 20-1. “I really wanted to beat La Plata, finally. We were a lot closer than last year and way closer than we have been in the past. I think what we need to improve on is fighting off of our backs, but we are getting pins when we need them.”
Connor Furst (138) and Mitch Lake (145) also wrestled to two victories for the Panthers on Tuesday.
Chopticon dropped both matches on Tuesday, but Jarrett Arnold (106) continued his undefeated mark in SMAC meets by picking up two victories.
All of Arnold’s 24 wins (24-1) have been by pinfall.
“I have been working hard and training with my feet,” Arnold admitted of his improvement coming into this season. “My feet was one of my [weaknesses] of wrestling. I just did a lot of stuff to work on that during the offseason, even at my house, it was just about working hard.”
Senior Larry Cannon (152) was the other Braves wrestler to wrestle to two victories on Tuesday night.