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Border Wars Results: MD vs. VA

Virginia wins Border Wars as Collick and Halling pick up big wins for Maryland

Maryland girls lead the way with wins by Anunobi, Ford, Tsarni, and Wright highlight the day

On Sunday afternoon at the St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, the first annual Border Wars was brought to fans by St. Frances Coach Doug McClain and Spladle City. Last year, the event had no formal name and did not have the allure that was attached to this year’s effort.

“Well, last year it kind of fell in my lap when no one really wanted to take on the responsibility of the event,” McClain explained. “This event was held at Marymount University last year, and although we had an amazing turn out, many of Maryland’s top talent decided to sit that one out.

“Spladle City has a huge high school wrestling following on Instagram. His coming on board really legitimized the event for the kids. Jordan Murphy and Bryan Hamper we’re also big in putting this all together. It got to a point where all I had to do was host the event. I have a masters in Athletic Administration so I enjoy managing athletic events. I think we did a great job giving wrestling’s fans a quality event.”

The event mixed girls in as well as Freestyle competition. The team tally included all of the matches, and for the Maryland team, the girls did the heavy lifting as they won four of their five matches, with the boys contributing just three wins across eleven bouts.

The afternoon kicked off with five Freestyle matches before the Folkstyle slate. Virginia’s three-time state champion, Caleb Neal (Great Bridge) squared off with two-time state runner-up Joe Clark from Oakland Mills and was close to a tech-fall, but ended with a 10-2 win for Neal.

The girls went to work for Maryland next and they won two-in-a-row to take a 9-4 lead with Alexandra Ford (Laurel) and Ugochi Anunobi (Randallstown) outpointing their foes. Ford, a state gold medalist, needed one more point to gain a tech but put an 11-2 win on the board over state champion and Beast of the East placer, Eleanor Dean (Freedom).

“I think I have wrestled her before,” Ford said. “I don't think she remembers, so I don't know. I think it was a good match. She's a good wrestler. I feel like I was little bit more balanced and a little bit more calm in the moment, you know. I didn't (really have a game plan) but I just kinda, in my brain, I was just like stick to what I am good at. I have good hips, let me do a sprawl, try to get a few shots in, you know, snap downs although I didn't get them with her, that was my game plan.”

Anunobi, a three-time state champ and multi-time All-American, mowed Freedom’s Enerlan Davaatav down with a super quick 10-0 technical fall.

“(It was) just you know get in, get out,” Anunobi remarked. “I did my research. I mean I checked out like what she’s done. It’s like doing the basics, not really much else to do you know, wrestle every match like you know, the same match.”

A brief turn back to the boys resulted in six points being thrown on the count by Virginia with George M. Marshall’s Soren Pirhoun decking Bowie’s Jamil Morrow in the first frame, 2:19, in a battle of state champions. Morrow was seventh at the NHSCA Nationals.

Watkins Mills’ state champion and NHSCA finalist, Nebi Tsarni wrestled the last Freestyle match on the card and posted an 11-0 tech over Yorktown’s Charlotte Bowman, who was fourth in the state and fifth at the Beast of the East.

Western Tech’s Leian Wright, who was third in the state, won the first Folkstyle match with a 12-7 win over a wrestler whose name we have not been able to clarify as of press time. The back-to-back wins from the girls put Maryland back in front 17-10.

Weights were not “used” for this event. It seems like those willing to participate were placed as close as possible to someone in their weight range.

That being said, there was no confusion as to which weight the next set of wrestlers came from as Old Mill’s two-time state champion Rasheen “RJ” Duncan stepped to the line to face his heavyweight rival from Virginia, Broadway’s Drake Garrison. Duncan pinned Garrison in the championship bracket at the NHSCA tournament earlier this month then defaulted in their seventh-place match. On this afternoon, Garrison was in the driver's seat and rolled to a 7-2 decision.

One last switch back to the girls resulted in a second straight win for Virginia, and the only win by a girl for them, when Skyline’s Morgan Layman (3rd in the state, 5th at the Beast) defeated Montgomery Blair’s state champ, McKinley Jovanovic, 4-2, to draw the team score to 17-16 in favor of Maryland.

Clarksburg’s three-time state placer and one-time champ, Jonathan Chang registered Maryland’s first win by a boy on the day by winning a hard-fought bout over Woodgrove’s state champ, Sawyer Jones, 3-2. Chang was holding a 1-0 lead as the clock was ticking down but with 30 seconds left, Jones escaped to tie it up. With 20 seconds displaying, Chang executed a beautiful takedown to pick up the win.

“I never wrestled him before,” said Chang. “We had some common opponents that we wrestled similarly, so I knew going into it would be a pretty tough match, but I was confident in how I was gonna do. Watching Jesse Mendez and Beau Bartlett, when Jesse Mendez got interviewed after the match they were talking about, like, what was your idea after you scrambled, and you got on the leg. He said score, put it put the match away and don't let it go in overtime, so that's kind of my mindset going into like the last 20 seconds, you know score points when you can, don't let it go into overtime.”

Maryland would see their 20-16 lead fall by the wayside after three consecutive wins by Virginia gave them a lead they would not relinquish, 28-20.

Kellam’s state champion, Brodie Altman edged Northeast’s two-time state silver medalist Beau Schmidt, 1-0. Mountain View’s Nick Sanders, a state champion who was fourth at NHSCAs, came close to a major-decision, 11-4, over Albert Einstein’s Stone Yuen, who was second and first in the last two state tournaments. Cash Colbert (Paul VI), a NHSCA finalist and National Prep All-American, pinned New Town’s Maleek Ayonrinde, who was third in the state in the second period, 3:40.

A brief rally by the Maryland team featured two big wins over highly credentialed wrestlers. A battle of state champion and NHSCA All-Americans unfolded with Boonsboro’s Tanner Halling handling Loudon County’s Lincoln Kelley, 6-2.

“I know he's pretty good though and he just became an All-American, but I didn't really know much about him,” Halling offered. “I don't really like to do that (study opponents). I just go out there and wrestle my match. You know, if I go ahead and wrestle my match, I can beat anybody. Definitely my bottom game was a little weaker, but you know he's long and tall and a little bigger, so you know that's just gonna happen. My neutral was really good, not just sitting up there, getting to my attacks and then my scrambling was really good just getting to the scrambles and getting out of the scrambles.”

Stephen Decatur’s Elijah Collick posted a big-time win over James W. Robinson’s Caden Smith, 8-6. Both are two-time state champions and All-Americans. Smith has placed at Fargo and is on the periphery of the Scorebook Live National Rankings at 113lbs. Collick’s win brought the home squad within two, 28-26, with two matches remaining.

“I feel like I had control the whole time, well like he had my arm, but like I feel like I had three shots throughout the whole match,” added Collick. “I felt good during the match. I didn't feel scared anytime during the match. I haven't wrestled him before. It was a big win for me. I knew all I had to do was wrestle with him to beat him, and I ended up beating him.”

Fairfax’s Kross Cassidy was a silver medalist at NHSCAs and took care of Bullis’ third-place NHSCA finisher, Noah Tucker, rather easily, posting a 14-6 major decision to put Virginia out front 32-26 and leaving Maryland needed a pin to tie.

For freshman Salah Tsarni (Bullis) it initially appeared to be too great a task as Liberty’s nationally ranked (No. 22 at 165), three-time state champ and three time All-American, Noah Hall jumped out to a lead and was in control of the match. In the third period, Tsarni (a state champion and All-American at National Preps and NHSCAs) started to mount a comeback and had Hall on his heels as time expired with Hall holding on for an 8-6 win to push the final team tally to 35-26 for Virginia.

Wrestlers did not represent their schools at this event. We added that to the article for informational purposes. There were no team affiliations.

Virginia 35, Maryland 26

1-Caleb Neal (VA) dec Joe Clark (MD), 10-2 (Freestyle, 4-0)

2-Alexandra Ford (MD) dec Eleanor Dean (VA), 11-2 (FS, 4-4)

3-Ugochi Anunobi (MD) tech-fall Enerlan Davaatav (VA), 10-0 (FS, 4-9)

4-Soren Pirhoun (VA) pinned Jamil Morrow (MD), 2:19 (FS, 10-9)

5-Nebi Tsarni (MD) tech-fall Charlotte Bowman (VA), 11-0 (FS, 10-14)

6-Leian Wright (MD) dec Carr (VA), 12-7 (Folkstyle, 10-17)

7-Drake Garrison (VA) dec RJ Duncan (MD), 7-2 (Folk, 13-17)

8-Morgan Layman (VA) dec McKinley Jovanovic (MD), 4-2 (Folk, 16-17)

9-Jonathan Chang (MD) dec Sawyer Jones (VA), 3-2 (Folk, 16-20)

10-Brodie Altman (VA) dec Beau Schmidt (MD), 1-0 (Folk, 19-20)

11-Nick Sanders (VA) dec Stone Yuen (MD), 11-4 (Folk, 22-20)

12-Cash Colbert (VA) pinned Maleek Ayonrinde (MD), 3:40 (Folk, 28-20)

13-Tanner Halling (MD) dec Lincoln Kelley (VA), 6-2 (Folk, 28-23)

14-Elijah Collick (MD) dec Caden Smith (VA), 8-6 (Folk, 28-26)

15-Kross Cassidy (VA) maj-dec Noah Tucker (MD), 14-6 (Folk, 32-26)

16-Noah Hall (VA) dec Salah Tsarni (MD), 8-6 (Folk 35-26)

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