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Century is on a win streak & they have many Blessings

Century coach Zach Blessing has had a turnaround season during his first year coaching the Knights, whose four-match week culminated with an upset victory over then 29th-ranked Glenelg of Howard County on Friday night.

“We had four dual meets this week,” said Blessing, who was hired in April and chose his brother, Troy, and father, John, as his assistants. “We lost to [Legacy Wrestling #12] Manchester Valley, 54-15, on Monday but rebounded on Wednesday to beat Southern-Garrett, 60-10, and Boonsboro, 37-34, and then Glenelg, 42-24, on Friday.”

Blessing is in his10th year of coaching, having volunteered at Winters Mill from November 2015 through March 2018, assisted at South Carroll from November 2018 through September 2022, and volunteered at Francis Scott Key last winter from October 2022 through March.

Blessing was a junior varsity backup wrestler when coach John Lowe’s Falcons won Class 2A-1A state tournament titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Blessing was a 195-pound senior in 2014 when his fourth- place finish helped the Falcons to win the Carroll County Tournament.

As an assistant to Matt Thomas at South Carroll in 2022, Blessing helped to guide the Cavaliers squad to a Class 1A state duals crown as part of a four-year dual meet record of 24-1 against county teams (67-11 overall).

Troy Blessing was a two-time county champion and fourth-place regional finisher before graduating in 2018 from Winters Mill.

Among Century’s triumphs is an early-season victory over county rival Winters Mill which marks the time the Knights have beaten the Falcons since 2015. Junior Cameron Wagner (150) went 4-0 for the week, improving his overall record to 22-13 with 12 pins.

Going 3-1 for the week were juniors Dylan Vroom (132), George Halligan (144) and JT Ferguson (175), seniors Joey D’Orsogna (157), Donovan James (215) and Chidima Iziogo (285), and sophomore Brayden Brassell (113).

Iziogo is 25-2 with 16 pins, Brassel is 17-3 with 10 10 falls, and Ferguson is 19-4 with 11. In addition, Vroom is 20-9 with 10 pins and Halligan is 18-11 with 15 falls, D’Orsogna 21-11 with 13, and James has a record of 23-10.

In the previous five years before Blessing’s arrival, the Knights have gone 42-75 in dual meets and just 3-27 against Carroll County rivals, according to Blessing.

“This year we went 13-9 with a 2-4 record in Carroll County. We’ve won four of our last five dual meets and the last three in a row,” Blessing said. “We went 7-7 against public schools in Maryland and we went 6-2 at the Friars Duals Tournament at Curley.”

Century finished third at last month’s Friars Duals, where Wagner went 7-1 with 6 pins and Iziogo, 6-1 with four pins. Halligan (144) went 6-2 with pins in all his victories for the Knights at the Friars’ Duals.

D’Orsogna and junior Chris Brooks (138) won six of eight bouts with four pins at the Friars’ Duals, Ferguson went 6-2 with five pins, and James, 6-2 with two pins.

A member of the Knights’ football team who plans to play that sport in college, Iziogo may have come farthest for the Knights, having placed third at last year’s county tournament and finished with a record of 18-16.

“Chidima was a first-year wrestler as a sophomore and wrestled on the junior varsity,” Blessing said. “He went 6-0 with four pins to win his weight at [last month’s] Battle of the Boro at Boonsboro High school. He’s a very solid student, I have an awesome staff, and a lot of credit goes to them.”

“Family is a special thing to call brother and sister," Iziogo said. "I never felt a family on a team for a long time, but this year I’m honored to call the 2024 Century Knights Wrestling Team a family."

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