As senior Fynn Yankanich pondered his best memories as a wrestler at Northern High School, it was hard to pinpoint just one.
“My best memories from my career [wrestling at Northern] are just all the times I’ve shared with my teammates,” Yankanich said. “Obviously there are some key matches like winning SMAC and regionals last year, but overall it is just my teammates for sure.”
Yankanich along with the other senior wrestlers for the Patriots were honored before the start of Thursday’s Southern Maryland Athletic Conference dual match versus Chopticon.
“It was nice to finally have that moment on senior night with my teammates supporting me and everything,” Yankanich said.
The Patriots (21-8 overall) were able to send their seniors off with a victory over the Braves (11-18) by a final score of 36-25.
“This was a great win for our senior night,” Northern senior Jabril Robinson said. “I am proud of everybody, and everyone did their part.”
Northern was able to take seven of the 14 bouts, while the visitors won six matches and there was a double forfeit at 285 pounds.
The Braves won the first bout of the night at 138 when Landon Roberts defeated Northern senior Angel Fetters by a final score of 3-2.
The Patriots won three of the next four bouts with pins from Owen Andriani (145), Robinson (152) and Gavin Whittington (170). At 160, Chopticon’s Brian Harris defeated Patriots senior Conor Irving by a final score of 6-5.
After Whittington’s pin at 170, Chopticon took three bouts in a row to take a 21-18 lead. Junior Greg Griffith earned a forfeit win at 182, senior Garry Gorham defeated Northern’s Ty Fleming 5-1 at 195 and senior captain Quincy Quade pinned Patriots senior Vinnie Zanelotti at 220.
Northern was able to earn the victory by winning four of the final five matches after the double forfeit at 285. Dylan Montgomery (106), Michael Bronk (113), Joshua Shutt (126) and Yankanich (132) helped the Patriots close out senior night strongly with a win.
Trey Kratko picked up Chopticon’s final win of the match with an 8-0 win over Hayden Philips at 120.
Joshua Shutt, a Northern freshman, pushed the hosts’ lead to 30-25 heading into Yankanich’s match after defeating Blake Butler of Chopticon 7-5.
“Seeing all these seniors leave after growing with them this year is going to be hard. I am proud of this team,” Shutt said. “I am proud of all of the fight that we had. I noticed my team fighting and when I got in there I knew I had to do the same. I am excited for what is coming up.”
Yankanich needed just 53 seconds to pin Chopticon’s Wyatt Hixson and secure a 36-25 win for the Patriots on their senior night.
“In my match at the end, I really brought it home,” Yankanich said. “The team did great as well, and without their fight, we wouldn’t have been close enough to close out the win.”
Northern earned the fourth seed in the Class 3A South Region duals tournament at Chesapeake High School in Anne Arundel County. The Patriots are slated to take on top-seeded Chesapeake in one semifinal at 5:30 p.m. today. With a win, the Patriots would face the winner of the other region semifinal that has second-seeded Huntingtown and third-seeded North Point for the region title shortly after the semifinal matches are completed.
Chopticon did not qualify for regional duals as a team, but the wrestlers are slated to be back in action for the SMAC tournament on Feb. 21 at La Plata High School.