Damascus wrestlers McLaughlin, Lawrence earn first, second state crowns

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Damascus’ Ryan Lawrence defeated Sparrows Point’s Skyler Minutelli in the 145lb Class 2A/1A final match in the State Wrestling Championships. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH Damascus’ Ryan Lawrence defeated Sparrows Point’s Skyler Minutelli in the 145lb Class 2A/1A final match in the State Wrestling Championships. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  UPPER MARLBORO — Junior Johnny McLaughlin and senior Ryan Lawrence of Damascus had diverging perspectives after winning respective 126- and 145-pound Class 2A-1A state titles in Monday’s season-ending tournament at The Show Place Arena.

McLaughlin (41-6), a two-time county champion, already is gearing up for next season after handling previously unbeaten junior regional champion Ryan Wagener (42-1) of Baltimore County’s Eastern Tech 7-2 for his initial championship after twice being a third-place finisher at states.

A county runner-up as a sophomore, McLaughlin was eight days removed from a 7-5 victory over the previous year’s state title-winner Travis Crawford of South Carroll for his third straight regional crown.

“‘Don’t get third again’ – that’s all I repeated to myself coming into this,” said McLaughlin. “So this feels really good after my freshman and sophomore seasons, and I wanna do the same thing again next year.”

But Lawrence (48-0) proclaimed himself “done with this sport forever” after rolling through his first round and quarterfinal opponents on pins in 37 seconds, 1:34, blanking his semifinal rival 7-0 and hammering senior regional champion Skyler Minutelli (42-4) of  Sparrows Point 11-3 for his second straight title after having placed third as a sophomore.


Damascus crowns seven champions, dominates for 16th county grappling title

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Undefeated Ryan Lawrence of Damascus earns the 8-6 win in the 145lb championship over Ryan Holland of Blair. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKUndefeated Ryan Lawrence of Damascus earns the 8-6 win in the 145lb championship over Ryan Holland of Blair. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  State champion Ryan Lawrence pinned twice in the first period to reach last Saturday’s 145-pound county title bout, where the Damascus senior overcame Blair’s all-time winning wrestler Ryan Holland, 8-6, for his third straight crown to lead the Swarmin’ Hornets to their seventh consecutive and 16th overall Montgomery County tournament championship at Gaithersburg.

A two-time county and regional champion who was third at states as a sophomore, Lawrence (41-0) was among seven titlists, nine wrestlers who finished within the top three of their weight classes and 10 who were within the top six for the Swarmin’ Hornets (238.5 points), who overwhelmed runner-up Churchill (148.5 points) and the rest of the 25-team field.

Winning counties for the second time were Swarmin’ Hornets’ seniors John Allan Furgeson (152), Ben Lokos (170) and state champion Paul Purkey (195), junior Johnny McLaughlin (126), and sophomore Timothy Furgeson (160), with junior Elijah Baisden (285) capturing his first.

Senior Dyllan Ramirez (132) and sophomore Aiden Beall (220) placed third, and senior Josh Creegan (138), sixth, the latter in the event’s most difficult weight class after having finished third at counties, fourth at regions and sixth at states as a junior.

Other repeat champions were seniors Yonas Harris (106) of Northwest, C.J. Cramma (120) of Magruder, Gabe McAndrew (182) of Bethesda-Chevy Chase, and John-Luke Iglesias (220) of Whitman, with junior Alex Carbonell (113) of Poolesville, senior Bryan Huynh (132) of Blair, and junior Chris Sanchez (138) earning their first crowns.


Damascus gains redemption and third state title

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Damascus completed a weekend of redemption during the March 3-4 Class 4A-3A state tournament at The Show Place Arena, where three of its six state place winners overcame setbacks from a week earlier to lead the Swarmin’ Hornets to their third straight and sixth overall state title in Upper Marlboro of Prince George’s County.

Led by Penn State-bound senior Scottie Obendorfer (132), who avenged an earlier loss to win his second crown in three years, the Swarmin’ Hornets (123.5 points) overcame runner-up Urbana (99 points) of Frederick County.

A state champion as a sophomore who was runner-up last year, Obendorfer had lost his regional title bout, 6-1, to Walter Johnson’s J.D. FitzPatrick after having beaten him in both the county finals and an earlier dual meet. On Saturday, however, Obendorfer won, 5-4, after having reached the finals on a technical fall and two decisions.

“I believed God had a plan for Scottie, an that losing the regional final was a great lesson for him not to take anything for granted. Of course there is disappointment,” said coach John Furgeson. “But how you respond defines character and the person you become. Scottie was so focused this weekend and ready to wrestle. He zeroed in on what he had to do to overcome that obstacle.”


Damascus crowns three and sends 11 to states

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Damascus crowned three champions and qualified 11 wrestlers for Friday and Saturday’s Class 4A-3A state tournament, winning last Saturday’s Class 4A-3A West Regional Tournament at Sherwood during an event that featured several upsets for and against the Swarmin’ Hornets among other surprises.

The Swarmin’ Hornets received titles from sophomore Johnny McLaughlin (120) and county champion juniors Ryan Lawrence (145) and Paul Purkey (182), with runners-up in the county champion Furgeson siblings, junior John Allan (152) and freshman Tim (160), as well as Penn State-bound senior four-time county titlist Scottie Obendorfer (132) and county runners-up Elijah Baisden (195) and Mike Bradshaw (220), a sophomore and senior.


Obendorfer edges FitzPatrick for fourth county title

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Scottie Obendorfer won his fourth straight Montgomery County tournament crown at Gaithersburg High School on Saturday and improved to 41-0, but the 132-pound senior’s victory in the event was more difficult than ever.

Obendorfer won finals back-to-back over Richard Montgomery’s David Silverberg by technical fall as a freshman, and then by 9-3 decision as a sophomore before routing Churchill’s Jack Connolly 13-4 as a junior.

But not only was that Obendorfer’s second time wrestling Walter Johnson senior J.D. FitzPatrick – having won 8-4 in an earlier dual meet – but he faced a veteran who dropped from 138 pounds, where he’s placed third at counties after being second as a sophomore, second are regions after being third a year earlier, and third at states after having finished sixth.


Churchill wrestler Young wins his division in MoCo Tournament

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Churchills Young vs. Damascus McLaughlinChurchill's Lucas Young narrowly defeats Damascus' Johnny McLaughlin and would go on to win his division. COURTESY PHOTO BY ALLISON DRUHAN 

Churchill’s Lucas Young completed a worst to first journey on Saturday at Gaithersburg High, where the third-year wrestler overcame a pair of Maryland’s top wrestlers to win the most difficult division of the 55th annual Montgomery County Tournament.

Trailing 3-2 in the second period, Young reversed Johnny McLaughlin of Damascus and clung to a 4-3 victory, earning the 120-pound title after having gone a combined 3-6 in the past two county tournaments and one regional appearance.

A slender 5-foot-7 senior who avenged an earlier 8-2 loss to McLaughlin, Young was similarly successful in his semifinal bout, overcoming a 2-0 deficit for a 4-2 decision over Eli Guttentag of Bethesda-Chevy Chase.

That’s quite an accomplishment given that Guttentag and McLaughlin were coming off incredible freshman seasons, the former going 44-1 to place first at counties and regions and third at the Class 4A-3A states at 106 pounds, and the latter doing the same three things at 113 to finish at 39-4.


Damascus adds to win streak

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Freshman Timothy Furgeson pinned his 160-pound Quince Orchard opponent and rose to 170 for a 1-0 upset of Northwest senior Khalil Owens as Damascus improved its winning streak to 123 consecutive dual meets at Northwest on February 4.

The Swarmin’ Hornets (21-0) swept the host Jaguars (53-21) and the visiting Cougars (51-24), with the former defeating the latter, 45-19.


Damascus picks up wrestler from Falcons

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Junior Paul Purkey, winner of a 182-pound private schools state title at Good Counsel last season, transferred to Damascus and will compete for the Swarmin’ Hornets starting Dec. 10.

One of the title-winning Falcons’ six state champions and the only non-senior to reach the finals, Purkey overcame three upperclassmen, including a senior who had beaten him three times during his ninth-grade year, on the way to earning Outstanding Wrestler honors at states. 

“I’m excited to start my first wrestling season with Damascus High School,” said Purkey. “It’s going to be great to be a part of this program, have some fun wrestling and working hard with my friends.”

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