BALTIMORE – When Nigel Cross took over as the wrestling coach at DuVal this season, he knew the first season could be tough. However, he also felt the Tigers could make some noise in 2017-18.
Even though they just missed a spot in the Class 4A dual-meet regionals, set for next weekend at Bowie High School, Cross’ team has a 9-5 record with the postseason coming up. He’s very pleased with what his team has done so far.
“It shows, in my opinion, that we’re going in the right direction,” Cross said. “But there are things we need to do to get out of our own way.”
Cross said the Tigers are hurting themselves at times despite their success. They lost two tough duals in the final week, 40-27 versus Fairmont Heights and Calvert (29-27) despite the fact that the team was missing three starters in the first meet and two in the second.
The Tigers beat Wise, who wound up being the No. 4 seed in the Class 4A South Region earlier in the season. However, that didn’t lock up a spot in the dual-meet regionals.
“We wanted to make regions in duals,” Cross said. “I (now) expect a strong showing at the county tournament.”
Up next are the counties on Feb. 16-17 at Wise, followed by the regions the next weekend and then hopefully wrestlers can qualify for the states at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro.
Cross mentioned that several DuVal wrestlers had fared well this season despite the fact that the Tigers have just 14 on the rosters. They’ll be able to have 11 returning next year, so that puts DuVal in a good place right from the start.
He knows the wrestling business, having competed himself and won a state title in the heavyweight division at Oxon Hill High School 10 years ago.
Now, though, his focus is on DuVal. He likes the work of all of his student-athletes, but some of the top ones have been: Walid Elsayed (170, sophomore), Elijah Fontem (heavyweight, sophomore), Charles Silmore (126, senior), Christian Ferguson (138, senior) and sophomore Jerome Bridgers (106).
“The majority of my starting lineup are sophomores,” he said. “The majority of the team is comprised of first-year wrestlers. They’ve done a very, very good job so far. They’ve accomplished a lot in the sport, especially for the first year.”
Regionals for Duals
Several Prince George’s County teams made the semifinal rounds of the state dual meet tournament set to begin on Feb. 7 at various sites.
Bowie will host the Class 4A South Regionals. No. 4 Wise (10-4) meets No. 1 Bowie (12-2) in a first-round match with No. 3 Northwestern (11-3) meetings No. 2 Eleanor Roosevelt (11-3) in the other semifinal.
Those take place at 5:30 p.m with the two winners facing off at 7:30 p.m.
In Baltimore County, Gwynn Park is the No. 4 seed with a 9-5 record and gets to meet top-seeded Owings Mills (13-1) at the Eagles’ school in the first round at 5:30 p.m.
The winner of that will face the winner of the Eastern Technical-Hereford match at 7:30 p.m.
The Class 1A South Region will have three PG schools as No. 4 Largo (6-8) will take on host and top-seeded Fairmont Heights (11-3) at 5:30. This winner meets the winner of the match between No. 3 Lackey (7-7) and No. 2 Frederick Douglass (11-3) two hours later.