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1A Coach of the Year: Bryan Hamper

If South Carroll's Bryan Hamper chose to retire from coaching right now, the 40-year-old would already have cemented his legacy among the state's all-team greats, if not the most accomplished.

A 2001 South Carroll graduate, Hamper was twice a state champion and twice placed fourth at the states. Hamper coached his alma mater to Class 2A-1A state tournament titles in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 before the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association ceased scoring the state tournament in 2018.

Hamper completed this, his 11th season as head coach during a career in which he has spent 13 years as an assistant.

It was a campaign which included Hamper guiding the eighth-ranked Cavaliers (27-0) to their third straight Class 1A state duals crown and their 34th consecutive dual meet victory.

The Cavaliers also earned a school record-tying eight individual Carroll County titles among a milestone 10 finalists in winning their program's fourth straight Carroll County Tournament crown under Hamper, who is being named a Coach Of The Year by Legacy Wrestling.

South Carroll also crowned six Class 2A-1A North Regional champions among eight finalists, and tied their record of four individual state champions, all of whom are sophomores, with one of them being 11th-ranked Landon Hamper (165), son of the coach.

Bryan Hamper has personally coached 28 of the South Carroll's Maryland public school-leading 41 individual state champion wrestlers.

Second behind the Cavaliers with 36 individual champions apiece are Old Mill of Anne Arundel County and Owings Mills of Baltimore County.

In fact, Hamper has coached more individual champions than Montgomery County power Damascus, which boasts 26.

South Carroll crowned four sophomore Class 2A-1A state champions in Landon Hamper, top-ranked, repeat title winner Jo Jo Gigliotti (132), second-ranked Grayson Barnhill (106) and fourth-ranked Anthony Rodrigues (175) among eight wrestlers who finished within the top six of their weight classes at states.

Also for the Cavaliers, second-ranked junior Evan Owen (120) was a state runner-up for the second straight year after having placed fourth as a freshman.

In addition, the Cavaliers received fifth place state finishes from 10th-ranked freshman Brody Henry (126) and 12th-ranked freshman Davy Snyder (138) along with a sixth-place effort from 13th-ranked sophomore Angelo Marchany (144).

Barnhill, Owen, Gigliotti, Henry, Snyder, Hamper, Rodrigues and senior Decklen Logan (285) comprised the Cavaliers School-record-tying eight champions and milestone 10 finalists as South Carroll and won their program's fourth straight Carroll County Tournament title in February.

The Cavaliers earned six Class 2A-1A North Regional titles a week later with Barnhill, Owen, Gigliotti, Henry, Snyder and Rodrigues (175). Landon Hamper and Marchany were regional runners-up.

Barnhill has been named a Lower Weight Wrestler Of The Year by Legacy Wrestling, and Gigliotti, a Middleweight Wrestler Of The Year.

Barnhill took only 59 seconds to finish state championship bout rival and Stephen Decatur junior Juan Hinojosa for his 33rd pin of the year against one forfeit to complete his season with a record of 34-0 and to improve his two-year career mark to 72-9 with 63 pins.

Barnhill has dominated his past two seasons over the course of the county, regional and state tournaments. where he is 16-1 with 16 pins, 15 of which came in the first period.

The son of Anthony Gigliotti, a former Class 4A-3A state champion at Sherwood in 1999, Gigliotti went 51-1 on the season with 38 pins, improved his career mark to 99-3, and finished sixth at 126 pounds in the sophomore division of last weekend's National High School Coaches Association Tournament (NHSCA) held in Virginia Beach.

Landon Hamper rebounded to win states after being pinned 3:32 of his regional final bout with Owings Mills junior Cregg Ngounou.

"Landon was winning but got pinned," Bryan Hamper said. "It was a crazy situation."

But Landon was more focused and meticulous at states, winning his first bout, 5-1, over Boonsboro junior Trevor Sowers, his quarterfinal match, 4-3, over Stephen Decatur senior Parker Intrieri, and his semifinal, 5-2, over Hereford senior Dom Garbarino.

Landon won his title match, 5-4, over Catoctin junior Hunter Bradshaw. Meanwhile, Ngounou eliminated Intrieri following a 7-4 consolation victory but finished fourth after being pinned by Sowers in 39 seconds.

Garbarino placed sixth, appearing to mean that Landon Hamper emerged as champion from the stronger side of the 165-pound bracket.

"At states, Landon beat the wrestler in the first round who ended up pinning Ngounou," Bryan Hamper said. "But I would much rather have him lose that match at a regional event than for that to happen in the state tournament."

Landon Hamper is the eldest of Bryan’s four sons, including John David, 8, and 9-year-old twins, Kaid and Korbin. John David is a two-time junior league state runner-up, and the twins are a pair of state qualifiers.

The Cavaliers' county tournament performance came a week after earning their third straight Class 1A state duals crown at North Point High representing their 34th consecutive dual meet victory.

South Carroll finished at 33-1 last season, winning that crown with a 46-30 triumph over a Northern-Garrett County Huskies squad which entered at 25-0. Last year’s title-winning effort marked the Cavaliers’ seventh straight dual meet victory following a 36-25 loss on Feb. 2, 2023.

Barnhill, Owen and Gigliotti were among eight county champions for last year's Cavaliers, coached by Anthony Winfield.

Winfield's squad also received county titles from eventual three-time state champions Mike Pizzuto (145) and A.J. Rodrigues (160), two-time state title-winner Gage Owen (138), and state champ Rylan Moose (182) -- all of whom won their third straight county titles.

Then-sophomore Manny Rodrigues (195) was the eighth to win a county championship last year.

Winfield is among Hamper's assistant coaches on a staff that includes former South Carroll state champion Jake Pooton, Stephen Sessa, George Brauer, Nick Dahl, Phil Brown and Tony Rodrigues.

Brown was a 149-pound Maryland Scholastic Association champion at Mount St. Joseph in 1983, Sessa was a 189-pound Class 2A-1A state champion at Hammond in 2006, and Pooton was a 182-pound Class 2A-1A state champion for the Cavaliers in 2014.

The father of AJ, Anthony and Manny Rodrigues, Tony was a private schools state champion as 125-pound freshman at DeMatha Catholic High in Hyattsville, Maryland, of Prince George’s County in 1997, and a Class 4A-3A state title winner as a 125-pound sophomore at Seneca Valley High of Montgomery County in 1998.

Manny Rodrigues is expected to return to next year's lineup as a senior two years after being a county and regional champion and a state runner-up and missing his entire junior year.

That means next year's Cavaliers will return four state champions, two state runners-up, nine county title winners and seven regional champions.

Although Hamper called last year’s Cavaliers’ squad “one of the most talented returning teams I’ve ever seen in the state of Maryland," he believes that next year's may be even better. “Having 10 freshmen or sophomores in our lineup is a great indicator for where we are as a team and for the future of the program."

South Carroll’s Three-time State Champions

Mike Chenoweth

Michael Pizzuto

AJ Rodrigues

Joey Thomas

Jamar Williams

South Carroll’s two-time state champions

JoJo Gigliotti

Bryan Hamper

Cam Hobin

Gage Owen

South Carroll’s 41 individual state champions

1981- Hank Burke

1994- Mike Chenoweth

1995- Mike Chenoweth

1996- Charlie Conaway

1996- Mike Chenoweth

2000- Bryan Hamper

2001- Bryan Hamper

2004- Andrew Winfield

2004- Tim Ferguson

2005- Cam Hobin

2008- Cam Hobin

2008- Zac Stavish

2008- Tyler Mullen

2010- Sam Wright

2011- Chris Wampler

2012- Willie Reiter

2013- Steven Schmitz

2014- Jake Pooton

2015- Joey Thomas

2015- Tim Null

2015- Jamar Williams

2016- Joey Thomas

2016- Shane Conners

2016- Jamar Williams

2017- Joey Thomas

2017- Travis Crawfors

2017- Jamar Williams

2020- Michael Pizzuto

2020- Gage Owen

2020- AJ Rodrigues

2022- Michael Pizzuto

2022- Gage Owen

2022- AJ Rodrigues

2023- JoJo Gigliotti

2023- Michael Pizzuto

2023- AJ Rodrigues

2023- Rylan Moose

2024- Grayson Barnhill

2024- JoJo Gigliotti

2024- Landon Hamper

2024- Anthony Rodrigues

Note: Bryan Hamper has been a head coach for three-time champions Joey Thomas, Jamar Williams, AJ Rodrigues and Michael Pizzuto, two-time titlists Jojo Gigliotti and Gage Owen, and individual title winners Sam Wright, Chris Wampler, Willie Reiter, Steven Schmitz, Jake Pooton, Tim Null, Shane Conners, Travis Crawford, Rylan Moose, Grayson Barnhill, Landon Hamper, Anthony Rodrigues. (28 Total Titles)

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