This past February, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School freshman Issac “Ike” Guttentag was in the midst of a blazing campaign at 106 pounds.
Just two days before last season’s Montgomery County Tournament, the Barons’ wrestler boasted 36-2 record, which included 15 pins and five each in technical falls and decisions.
But Guttentag’s season ended prematurely “when he broke his hand in practice on the Wednesday before the county tournament,” according to his father, Steve.
“Obviously, it was a disappointing end to last season. I thought I was peaking at just the right time before I got injured,” said Ike Guttentag, whose elder brothers, Drew, a then-sophomore, and Eli, then a senior, placed fifth and second at states, respectively.
“You can’t control those type of things, so I just try to shake it off and work as hard as I can when I am healthy. It wasn’t all bad as I got to watch my brothers’ place in the state tournament.”
But Guttentag is off to a blistering start as a 120-pound sophomore, with a 5-3 victory over Springbrook High School junior Matt Kilby, keying a 41-22 dual meet victory over the defending Class 4A state duals champions on Dec. 14.
“The match with Kilby was really fun, and he gave me everything I could handle and more. His low stance throughout the match made it tricky to get in on shots, and his overall defense was very strong,” said Guttentag.
He scored a takedown and three near-fall points following a scoreless first period for a 5-1 lead to neutralizing Kilby’s late reversal.
“Luckily, I was able to connect on a shot and take him down in the second period. I started on top in the third period and rode tough and eventually got back points off an armbar,” said Guttentag. “I looked for the pin to help my team secure the win, but unfortunately, he slipped out. Kilby is a great competitor and wrestler, so I am happy that I came out of there with a win and points for my team.”
Pinning for the Barons (2-0) were Jeo Martinez (152), Drew Guttentag (160), Evan Wasserman (170) and Nick Scott (220), with Christian Simpson (113) earning a technical fall, and a decision from Sam Moffitt (106).
“I was very pleased with the performance of freshman Sam Moffitt at 106…Considering the circumstances, he stepped up to the plate and delivered,” Twevlth-year Head Coach Nick Arnone said. “The same can be said for junior Nick Scott. We had to move Nick up to 220 and he delivered with a pin. Nick is a first year wrestler who has a ton of potential and room for growth. He’s someone who should only get better as the season progresses.”
The loss ended a 19-match winning streak for the Blue Devils (8-1), who earned their program’s first-ever state title by defeating South River of Anne Arundel County at North Point High in Charles County in February.
The Blue Devils went 25-1 last year – their only loss being against 17-time county champion Damascus, 39-24 – with a pair of wins being against the Barons, 41-25, during the regular season, and, 31-28, in the state dual semifinals.
“With the recent history we’ve had with them, this was obviously a match we had circled on the schedule. We’ve only had one match up to this point, so our coaching staff is experimenting with lineups and still developing our inexperienced wrestlers,” said Arnone.
“From a coach’s perspective, to have a match of this magnitude this early in the season, it was a little nerve-racking. Fortunately, with this team being filled with experienced upperclassmen, they didn’t seem fazed by the task of taking on the defending champs. We know that Springbrook was down a few wrestlers. But on this day, our kids did what they had to do to win the dual.”
“The Springbrook match was awesome. A great team effort and an incredible atmosphere. We lost to Springbrook twice last year,” Guttentag said. “So we have been circling this match since the schedule came out. I thought there was great intensity to the match. By far, the most exciting high school match I have been in.”
For the Blue Devils, third-place regional finisher Grayson Wendel (132) dominated fourth-place regional finisher Aiden Moffitt, 15-3. Regional champion and third-place state finisher Pierre Jean (138) edged Fabio Martinez, 5-4, and Chinua Sabater (126) did the same with the Barons’ Lance Lorenzo, 2-1. Teammate Ryan Tran (195) defeated B-CC’s Dan Shapiro, 2-1, and Matt Bauer (285) defeated the Barons’ Alhassane Kouyate, 3-2.
Arnone avoided a potential battle between fourth-place state finisher Jeo Martrinez and the Blue Devils’ Sayfore Sieh (145), a regional runner-up who received a forfeit.
“Unfortunately, with the team score being what it was, I had to move Jeo up a weight class. This is always difficult to do as a coach because you want to see this marquee matchup,” Arnone said. “But in this situation, I had to focus on the team aspect first. If we’re fortunate enough to see them again at the state duals, I expect that adjustments will be made, and lineups will be changed. That’s just something good coaches and teams do, and Springbrook is obviously a very good team who I have a ton of respect for.”