More than a dozen wrestlers from Montgomery County arrived at Cole Field House on the University of Maryland, College Park campus Saturday with a chance to win 4A/3A state titles and one county school was in prime position for the team title.
But when the last of the marathon sum of 420 matches over the two days were completed Saturday evening, only Winston Churchill High School senior Hunter Sutton (152 pounds) and Damascus junior Mike Macklin (113) would depart with individual state titles. Damascus, which headed into Saturday’s events in first place overall, faded to fourth as North Hagerstown, River Hill and Northern claimed the top three spots. For full results go to www.mpssaa.org.
Both Sutton and Macklin completed perfect seasons with a state title on Saturday. Sutton, who finished the year 47-0 after edging Wilde Lake senior Malik Jackson by a 5-3 decision in the final, took home his third state title in four years. He was 23-0 last year before a knee injury prevented him from taking the state title.
“It was definitely tough watching last year,” said Sutton, who is headed to the Naval Academy in Annapolis this fall. “It was too tough to watch. I really wanted to be out here last year. But to win this year and end with three state titles is great. It’s rare for anyone to get three. I thought I had an advantage because he was taller than me, so if I stayed low I could turn him. I wanted to be up 2-0 early and then I turned him again [to go up 5-1] in the second period. I wrestled conservatively toward the end, maybe a little too conservative.”
Macklin, who won the state title at 106 last year after finishing sixth in that class as a freshman, moved up into the 113 bracket this year and stayed perfect throughout. In the finals he edged Chopticon senior Jarrett Arnold, 5-4, to finish the season at 44-0. Winning the state championship with an unblemished record, a feat that eluded him last year, only made this year’s title that much sweeter.
“To be able to win the title and be undefeated validates it more,” Macklin said. “I lost three or four matches last year. But to go undefeated definitely makes it special. I had never wrestled him before, but I knew it was going to be a close match. I wanted to stay aggressive and get the lead and then maybe wait for him to make a mistake.”
Quince Orchard senior Connor Tilton (285) saw his bid for a perfect season come to an end. Tilton had won two of his three previous state bouts by pins and led Huntingtown senior Dalonte Holland, 3-2, after two periods. But Holland took control in the third period to forge a narrow 4-3 victory, leaving Tilton as the runner-up and 36-1 overall in his final high school season.
“He definitely deserved to win,’ said Tilton, who appeared physically and emotionally drained after the match. “He was very strong and he wrestled smart. He deserved to win. I think a lot of people thought it wasn’t going to be close. But it was a very close match. I’m proud of what I accomplished this year.”
Northwest junior Dell Ngonga (106) won his semifinal match narrowly over Springbrook senior Quy Tran, but in the finals he proved no match for Northern junior Breandan Coughlin, who completed a perfect season with a first period pin. Ngonga, who had won the 4A/3A West Region title the week before, finished the year 33-4.
Richard Montgomery senior Thomas Fitzpatrick (220) saw his bid for a perfect season end in the semifinals when he lost, 2-0, in overtime to Northern senior Kyle Lamond. Fitzpatrick then suffered a 3-0 decision setback to Stephen Decatur senior Ethan Eibl. Fitzpatrick was fourth overall and finished the year 45-2.
Several other county wrestlers failed to reach the championship finals, but won consolations to finish third. Northwest senior Nick Davis (120), Walt Whitman sophomore Mitch Fenton and Paint Branch senior Mitchell Zio (145) all rebounded from semifinal losses to win their consolation bracket finals.
Only two wrestlers from Prince George’s County schools arrived on Saturday with any hope of claiming a state title and one of them came close. Eleanor Roosevelt senior Casey Wokocha (195) reached the championship finals of his weight class but was handed an 8-4 decision setback by River Hill senior Logan Kirby. Wokocha had defeated Whitman’s Max Sessions by a 4-1 decision in the semifinals.
“He was pretty good,” Wokocha said. “He knew that I was a little sore in my knee and he kept putting pressure on it. I did better this year than I did last year and that was my goal. I wanted to win county and region titles this year and make it to the state finals and I did that. I just couldn’t come away with the title tonight.”
Bowie senior Shomari Stewart (170) lost in the semifinals to eventual state champion Anthony Cable of La Plata; then dropped a close 4-2 decision to Huntingtown junior Tristian Ramberg in the consolation.
Parkdale senior Ray Jones won his first match on Friday before losing to Churchill’s Adama Keita. But Jones won all four of his consolation matches on Saturday and took third when he defeated Keita by a 7-3 decision in the consolation final. Panthers’ teammate Kevin Thomas won three consolation matches on Saturday before settling for fourth after being pinned by North Hagerstown’s Gene Balcita.