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Landon’s Gallagher dominates Melee on Metro, gears up for private school states

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Wrestling clip artLandon’s Brendon Gallagher (145) won all five bouts, including a 16-0 technical fall in his semifinal and a pin for his title, to earn Outstanding Wrestler honors at the Melee On The Metro Tournament at Wilson High in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

Gallagher decked Grady Hotz of St. Mary’s Ryken in 2:34 of his championship bout, being among the Bears’ (163 points) seven place-winners toward finishing third in the 20-team field behind champion St. Christopher’s of Virginia (326.5) and Germantown Academy of Pennsylvania (197).

Taking second was Lorenzo Lopez (126), with Axel Giron (120) being third, Luc Schermer (132), Matt Amitay (138) and Jonny Gherman (152) all fifth, and Terrance Bridgers (285), sixth.

“Getting OW was great, especially knowing how many good wrestlers were at the tournament,” said Gallagher, a senior returning private schools state runner-up and two-time Interstate Athletic Conference champion. “I wrestled well this weekend. I just wanted to try to score in every position and get to my offense. It was only my second time at 145, and I felt great.”

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Churchill sweeps Springbrook, Sherwood in regular-season-ending tri-meet

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Churchill's Marc Ballman needs only 1:41 to fall Sherwood's Adam Pfeiffer in the 170lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKChurchill's Marc Ballman needs only 1:41 to fall Sherwood's Adam Pfeiffer in the 170lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  After helping his fellow Churchill Bulldogs secure a hard-earned five-point victory over Sherwood’s squad, Andrew Welch sat in the bleachers at Springbrook High School and watched the host team build a 43-point advantage, leading to a 40-point Blue Devil victory over the Warriors.

“We only beat Sherwood by single digits, and sitting in the stands looking at the scoreboard, I saw Springbrook beating them, 49-6, at one point,” said Welch, of an eventual 58-18 victory by the host Blue Devils over the Warriors. “We were getting a little nervous, but our coaches brought us together and told us how matchups work.”

Bulldogs coach Tony Howard, a three-time state champion at Magruder, and Tim Lowe, a two-time state champion at Einstein, assured their wrestlers they were nevertheless confident of taking the Blue Devils. “Our guys saw the score and were a little concerned, but matchups are so unique. Wrestling’s one of those sports where you really can’t watch what’s happening between two other teams,” said Lowe, the Bulldogs’ head coach.

“Coach Howard and myself weren’t concerned. I told them that Sherwood matches up well with us and wrestled us tough, and that we were in for a tough match against Springbrook, but that we have the right matchups as a whole group of 14 wrestlers to get it done.”

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Landon wins IACs, Damascus eyes another state duals crown

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Wrestling clip artLandon crowned Axel Giron (120), Lorenzo Lopez (126), Patrick Kielb (132), Jonny Gherman (152), Brendon Gallagher (160), Jelani Machen (170) and Carter Johnson (182), with Luc Schermer (138) and Terrance Bridgers (285) finishing second as the Bears won their first Interstate Athletic Conference tournament crown in the 23-year coaching history of Andy Katz.

Finishing third were Patrick Townsend (113) and Joel Desroches (220), and Nick Haller (195), fourth as the Bears placed 12 of 13 wrestlers within the top four of their weight classes for the program’s first outright title since 1994, adding the tournament to their regular-season dual meet championship earned with a school-record mark of 16-5 overall and 6-0 in the IAC.

The Bears (195.5 points) overcame runner-up St. Albans (127) to dethrone third place 13-time IAC champion Georgetown Prep (122), their dual meet victory total being the highest since the 15-win season of 2005 to 2006, the last time the Bears won a piece of the crown.

“For the first time this season, we were able to present our strongest line-up,” said Katz. “Everyone made weight and our injured wrestlers were cleared to go for the championship. It was an amazing day. This was a team effort across the board.”

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World's top wrestler Kyle Snyder could become America’s greatest ever

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IMG 3147In 2016, Kyle Snyder wins his best-of-three series over Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner.   FILE PHOTO  Ohio State senior Kyle Snyder’s been called the best wrestler on the planet, but is the 22-year-old Good Counsel graduate on pace to become the greatest of all American wrestlers?

A two-time World Champion and an Olympic gold medalist at 213 pounds who has won two straight NCAA titles at 285 after being a 197-pound runner-up as a freshman, Snyder, of Woodbine, has secured his place in that conversation with last Sunday’s performance in the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Snyder (213 pounds) overcame a 1-0 deficit for a 4-1 decision over the host country’s Rasul Magomedov, becoming the first American man to earn a second gold medal in an event touted as the world’s most difficult open tournament, according to the USA Wrestling website.

A winner of last year’s final against Magomedov, whom he pinned in 5:02 of their initial bout, Snyder was named the tournament’s Best Foreign Wrestler.

“Wrestling has taught me a lot, and I have been blessed to learn from some great teachers and role models from within the sport,” Snyder told The Sentinel on Wednesday. “It is important to me to have a role in teaching others about the correct way to think about competition in training. I think that helps grow the sport and make it more entertaining.”

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Still undefeated, Churchill’s Tranquill pins Damascus’ Lokos

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Churchill's Fio Tranquill gets the fall against Damascus’ Ben Lokos to remain unbeaten this season in the 182-pound weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKChurchill's Fio Tranquill gets the fall against Damascus’ Ben Lokos to remain unbeaten this season in the 182-pound weight class.   PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  POTOMAC — As a freshman three years ago, Fio Tranquill’s football season at Churchill was cut short and a wrestling tryout negated by a severe bout with Lyme disease.

Now a senior third-year wrestler for the Churchill Bulldogs, Tranquill’s having the time of his life, improving to a mark of 28-0 with a pair of pins during Saturday’s 47-15 tri-meet loss to the visiting 15-time county champion Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets and a 56-22 victory over Quince Orchard, loser by 72-9 to Damascus.

Tranquill scored an upset fall in 5:24 over 182-pound Swarmin’ Hornets’ senior Ben Lokos, who missed all of last year due to an injury but as a sophomore was county champ before finishing third at regions and states.

Lokos led 2-0 early in a wild match that featured five lead changes before Tranquill reversed the Damascus grappler to his back for the pin, overcoming a 7-6 deficit. Tranquill led only 7-5 before pinning the Cougars’ Ryan Jones in 4:24.

“I wasn’t sure I would win, but in the end, I heard my coaches screaming to head-hunt. I saw his head, grabbed it, pulled him over and that was it,” said Tranquill, who was third at counties and regions last year.

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Damascus state champ Purkey back to pinning ways, continues Hornets’ win streak

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20180128 Churchill vs Damascus Wrestle 19Paul Purkey of Damascus takes on Churchill's Andrew Welch. Purkey would take the win in the 195-pound weight class.  PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK   POTOMAC — State champion Paul Purkey of Damascus embraced last month’s challenge against three-time state champion Aaron Brooks of North Hagerstown, even though he was pinned in their 195-pound bout.

“I was excited to wrestle Brooks,” said Purkey, a University of Maryland-bound county and regional champion last year at 182 pounds who earned a private schools state title as a Good Counsel sophomore.

“I was telling the coaches that if he didn’t bump up, I’d have wanted an exhibition. I wanted the competition. It can only help me to get better. It keeps me humble and motivated to know that there can also be someone better.”

Purkey returned to his pinning ways during Saturday’s tri-meet victories over host Churchill, 47-15, and Quince Orchard, 72-9, helping the 15-time county champion Swarmin’ Hornets (19-0) to run their dual meet winning streak to 146 consecutive matches.

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Blair Blazers take down Sherwood Warriors in critical MoCo dual

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SANDY SPRING — Senior Bryan Huynh endured cramping in his lower right leg and scored an overtime takedown on mat’s edge for a pivotal 6-4 decision against junior Paul Christianson during a 33-32 dual meet victory for the visiting Blair Blazers at Sherwood on Jan. 24.

The Blazers also won the evening’s final two bouts on a fall by Matt Morris (195) and a forfeit to senior Rudy Ngougni (220), erasing a 32-21 deficit and rising to 25-4 overall (11-0 in non-tournament dual meets) under second-year coach Tim Grover.

“I was ahead 2-0 in the first period after the takedown, and it just hit me really hard. I wasn’t sure, at that point, if I’d be able to wrestle well enough to win,” said Huynh, a junior varsity county champion last season.

“I usually shoot a lot more but I wasn’t as confident, thinking my leg would cramp up on me if I took another shot. I had to look for opportunities that were less stressful. I felt a cramp coming on as I took that final shot, but I just pushed through. He had a whizzer in, but I got points for it, and I’m happy I won.”

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Churchill wrestlers earn Paint Branch crown, eye Damascus showdown

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20180120 The Pit 195lb 1Both Andrew Welch of Churchill and Ike Kalu of Western Tech are exhausted as their 195-lb weight class finals took 8:00. Welch prevailed for the win. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  Sean Mahan (145), Fio Tranquill (182) and Andrew Welch (195) won titles, with seniors Chris Ervin (120) and Jack Connolly (138) finishing second as Churchill placed 11 wrestlers within the top six of their weight classes to win the 21-team Paint Branch Invitational Tournament on Jan. 19 and 20.

The Bulldogs (18-0 overall, 8-0 minus tournament dual meets) outscored runner-up Old Mill of Anne Arundel County 220.5-to-203.5, continuing their tremendous year under coaches Tim Lowe and Tony Howard heading into Saturday’s tri-meet with Quince Orchard at 15-time county champion Damascus.

At Paint Branch, Elijah Jack (152) finished third, Ryan Kaplow (220) and Alec Velikanov (285) were fourth, Carlos Villamar (132) fifth, and Parker DeSalvio (160) and Mac Ballman (170) both sixth.

The Bulldogs are now 3-0 in tournaments, having gone 10-0 to win the Rocket Launch Duals at Richard Montgomery and captured the title at the Joe Verciglio Memorial Tournament at Chantilly High of Virginia under Lowe, who was a two-time state champion at Einstein while Howard was a three-timer at Magruder.

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Sherwood junior defeats Clarksburg senior for impressive victory at Battle of the Brook

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Chris Sanchez of Sherwood takes a 15-8 decision on Clarkburg's Nick Gonzalez for the 138lb weigth class tournament. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKSherwood's Chris Sanchez takes a 15-8 decision on Clarkburg's Nick Gonzalez for the 138lb weight class tournament. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  Chris Sanchez executed a five-point throw to break a 4-all tie and end the first period as the 138-pound Sherwood junior overcame Clarksburg senior Nick Gonzalez for a 15-8 title-winning victory in a marquee bout of the Jan. 12-13 Battle at The Brook tournament at Springbrook.

A DeMatha transfer who was fifth in last year’s private schools' state tournament, Sanchez won a clash between two of Maryland’s top public school wrestlers in only his second tournament of the year over consecutive weekends.

“Getting that move late in the first period was big for creating separation,” said Sanchez, who improved to 6-0 with four pins and a technical fall, pacing the Warriors (180 points) to a runner-up finish behind the host Blue Devils (197.5).

“I wish I could have stuck him, but I really didn’t get the right angle on it. I was able to maintain the right mindset for the rest of the match and take advantage of my opportunities.”

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Ryan Lawrence, John Allan Furgeson pace Swarmin’ Hornets with centennial victories

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Ryan Lawrence of Damacus scores a 3-1 finals win against Joey Dunn of Sidwell Friends in the 152lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKRyan Lawrence of Damacus scores a 3-1 finals win against Joey Dunn of Sidwell Friends in the 152lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  With five title winners and 12 wrestlers placing within the top four of their weight classes, the Damascus wrestling team featured victories by State champions Ryan Lawrence (152) and Paul Purkey (195) as well as fellow senior John Allan Furgeson (160) en route to winning the Swarmin' Hornets' own 13-team holiday tournament last week.

Other champions crowned at the end of the two day event – which took place on Dec. 27 and 28 – were freshman Michael Emerick (106) and junior Elijah Baisden (285), with junior Johnny McLaughlin (132) and seniors Josh Creegan (145) and Ben Lokos (182) placing second, sophomores Timothy Furgeson (170) and Aiden Bell (220) finishing third, and freshman Nick Biava (120) and sophomore Vito Vahasdizke (126), fourth.

The event was a dual meet format on Wednesday which yielded results toward seeding Thursday’s bracketed tournament.

Lawrence improved his record to 19-0 on Thursday by earning a 3-1 championship decision over two-time Mid-Atlantic Conference champion Joey Dunn of Sidwell Friends. Lawrence's win over Dunn was the second in two days, with a 3-2 decision during Wednesday's dual meet earning him his 100th career victory. After Thursday, his win count rose to 108.

“This is probably the fourth or fifth time that I’ve wrestled him in the past few years,” said Lawrence, a two-time county and regional title winner who was third at states as a sophomore.

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