Damascus handles Glenelg for second straight year, earns sixth straight duals crown

Damascus Swarmin HornetsGlenelg came up empty for matching its trio of Howard County champions against their Damascus counterparts during Saturday’s Class 2A state duals at North Point High in Charles County, a factor critical to a definitive 49-16 victory for the Swarmin’ Hornets.

Senior John Allan Furgeson (160), sophomore Tim Furgeson (170) and senior Ben Lokos (182), all county champions, ground out tough decisions over state runner-up Max Sotka, Jacob Jones and fourth-place state finisher Sam Alsheimer as the Swarmin’ Hornets completed their second consecutive 25-0 dual meet season with their 152nd win in a row and their program’s unprecedented sixth straight state duals championship.

“We definitely knew the strength in their lineup was right there,” said Lokos, who missed all of last year due to a knee injury but won a county championship as a sophomore before finishing third at regions and states.

“It was really great seeing John Allan win. Then, to see Timmy beat his guy really pumped me up. After I won, we knew it was over and they were demoralized. That was the nail was in the coffin, so to speak.”

The Swarmin’ Hornets won 20 of 28 bouts over the course of two dual meets, routing Owings Mills of Baltimore County, 50-18, in the semifinals.

Coached by John Furgeson, the Swarmin’ Hornets have also beaten Class 4A state dual champion Urbana of Frederick County 40-18 and Class 3A title winner Huntingtown 54-7.

Double-winners for the Swarmin’ Hornets were state champion Paul Purkey (195-220), Aiden Beall (195/220) and Michael Emerick (106) with two pins each, Lokos, Tim Furgeson and Elijah Baisden (285) each with a pin and a decision, state champion Ryan Lawrence (152) with a pin and a forfeit, and John Allan and Dyllan Ramirez (138) with a decision and a major decision.

“It was important to start out strong,” said Ramirez, a senior who was fourth at regions last year. “The rest of the lineup kept things going strong, so it was great to end the regular season like that.”

The Furgesons and Lokos represented the meat of the lineup and the fifth, sixth and seventh bouts of the night, with John Allan scoring a late takedown and two near-fall points during his 5-1 decision over Sotka, Tim Furgeson, a takedown and a cradle for two near-fall points during a 5-2 victory over Jones, and Lokos, an overtime takedown to defeat Alsheimer 3-1.

“In overtime, I just made him have to fight off a headlock,” said Lokos. “I got him in a bad position and ducked under toward the edge of the mat.”

Coached by alumnus and former state champion Bichner siblings, Dan and Matt, the Gladiators moves were calculated based on past histories against the Swarmin’ Hornets.

A state runner-up, Sotka has beaten Tim Furgeson 4-3 and Lokos 2-1 in overtime at 170 pounds on the way to runner-up finishes in tournaments at Damascus in December and the War On The Shore at Stephen Decatur in Berlin, Md., last month.

Jones had rebounded from a 3-2 lost to John Allan in the 160-pound finals at Damascus to win the same weight class at War On the Shore, where Tim Furgeson finished fifth.

Jones and Tim Furgeson shared a common opponent in Jonathan Short of Mount St. Joseph, who lost to Jones 5-2 at War On The Shore but defeated Tim 2-0 in the same event.

“Jacob is a good wrestler, but I felt I wasn’t wrestling my best at War On The Shore,” said Tim Furgeson, whose Swarmin’ Hornets also defeated Glenelg (23-1) for last year’s crown, 47-18.

“My coaches and practice partners got me ready to wrestle anyone. They [Gladiators] were trying to get the matchups they thought could win, but my brother’s matches always fire me up, and we put a damper on their plan.”

A fourth-place state finisher at 182, Alsheimer looked to capitalize on a perceived advantage in size against Lokos, who was runner-up at that weight to Lake Braddock’s Virginia state champion Tyler Matheny at Damascus after a 6-0 loss, and who was pinned by Churchill’s Fio Tranquill last month.

The Swarmin’ Hornets led 10-0, following a pin and a major decision, respectively, by third-place state finisher Johnny McLaughin (132) and Ramirez.

It initially appeared that the Gladiators had gambled successfully to pull within 10-3 by dropping Drew Sotka (145) from 152 for a 7-1 decision over sixth-place state finisher Josh Creegan, even after a forfeit to Lawrence stretched the Swarmin’ Hornets’ lead to 16-3.

“They did a great job dropping Drew Sotka to face Creegan and then forfeiting to Ryan,” said head coach John Furgueson. “They tried to take away our momentum but got our team bench into a frenzy. Then, John Allan came out and won, and it was like, ‘Uh Oh!’”

Lawrence’s was the first of eight consecutive wins by the Swarmin’ Hornets for an advantage of 49-3 with three bouts remaining, the last four victories being pins by Beall, Purkey, Baisden and Emerick.

Lokos said the Gladiators “were demoralized” following Beall’s pin in 1:51, after which Purkey’s fall put the match out of reach mathematically, 35-3.

A county champion and regional runner-up who was third at states last year, John Allan quarterbacked the Swarmin’ Hornets’ past two state championship-winning football teams, including a 31-7 triumph over Gwynn Park in December’s Class 2A title game.

A running back, Lokos was injured during late-season games as both a junior and senior.

“I dislocated both elbows and fractured my right elbow in the state quarterfinals. I knew Alsheimer’d been injured and in a similar situation as I was,” said Lokos, who will likely compete at 170 pounds for the remainder of the season.

“At this point, I’m starting to wrestle pain-free, turning the season around and getting where I want to be. With John Allan beating Sotka, wherever Sotka decides to wrestle at states, Tim and I will have the benefit of knowing John Allan beat him. Being a senior, it’s great to be a part of this.”

The Swarmin’ Hornets begin pursuit of their 16th county title and seventh in a row at the Feb. 16 and 17 County tournament at Gaithersburg High, followed by the ensuing weekends’ regionals and states.

However, the Swarmin’ Hornets can’t win a seventh state tournament, given that the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s structure was adjusted in April to no longer keep team scores while crowning individual champions.

Formerly separated into 4A-3A and 2A-1A classifications out of North, South, East and West regions, the MPSSAA now crowns four (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A) separate regional and state dual champions as opposed to two.

Damascus has also been reclassified into 2A from 3A based on decreased enrollment, and competes in 2A West for duals, and 2A-1A West for the regional tournament.

Churchill (26-2) was a Class 4A state runner-up following Saturday’s 41-27 loss to Urbana and after defeating Roosevelt of Prince George’s County 54-29 in the semifinal.

Pinning twice for the Bulldogs were Jack Connolly (138) and Elijah Zack (152), with Zack decking Urbana’s fourth-place state finisher Shane Acton in 2:19.

Other double-winners for the Bulldogs were Fio Tranquill (182) with a 69-second pin and a decision, Andrew Welch (195-220) with a decision and a forfeit, and Chris Ervin (120) with a pin and a decision.

The Bulldogs’ Ryan Kaplow (220) had a pin against Roosevelt, and Alec Velikanov (285) a fall against Urbana. 



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