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Daily Debrief: NHSCA Podium Results for Maryland's Grapplers

Updated: Apr 12

BEFORE WE BEGIN: Congratulations to Nebi and Salah for becoming the first Maryland brother and sister combination to make the NHSCA finals in the same year. Simply amazing!

Tsarni Siblings reach NHSCA Finals

In a unique turn of events Salah and Nebi Tsarni found themselves competing within minutes of each other in the NHSCA Championship Finals on Sunday Morning in Virginia Beach.

Unfortunately, they both came up short in their title quests with Salah falling 9-7 in the Freshman Division to fellow National Prep Placer, Lucas Boe of Lake Highland Prep, FL at 160lbs. Nebi, who is ranked No. 2 at 155lbs in USA Wrestling’s Girls Rankings, lost 9-2 to West Virginia’s Kaylie Hall (No. 8 at 170) in the 165lb finals.

Nebi clashed with Randallstown’s Ugochi Anunobi, who sits in the 12th position at 170 in USA Wrestling’s Rankings, in the semifinals and fell behind early on a big move by Anunobi that resulted in a takedown to the back for five points and a 6-1 lead. Tsarni battled back from the deficit to tie it at the end of regulation on a stall call.

In overtime, Tsarni took over and ended with a 12-8 victory. Anunobi came back to take third. Tsarni pinned and teched her other two opponents.

Salah beat the wrestlers who placed fourth through six on his journey to the finals. Fourth place finisher William Childs of Georgia was Tsarni’s semifinal victim. Fifth place Wyatt Hanssen from Utah dropped in the quarters and New Jersey’s Chad McConnell, who was sixth, fell in the round of 16.

Salah was joined on the podium by freshman teammate Noah Tucker, who placed third at 152 with an 8-2 win over Florida’s Jonathan Moreno, who was fifth in the 3A states. Tucker’s loss came to New Jersey state champion Sonny Amato, who is ranked 13th in the nation at 144 by Scorebook Live. Amato was fourth at the Beast of the East where he beat Gilman’s Tyson Sherlock, 6-1.

Maryland had a third freshman reach the podium in St. Mary’s Ryken’s Eli Gabrielson. Gabrielson placed sixth at 106lbs, losing his fifth-place bout to Pennsylvania’s Nolan Rice, who did not place in the AAA state tournament. Gabrielson’s other losses were to runner-up Mason Bauer, who placed fifth in Ohio’s DI states, and Missouri Class 1 state champion Jorden Bell. Bell placed fourth.

Archbishop Spalding joined Bullis as the only squads with multiple placers as Vincent Paolucci was seventh at 126lbs and Zane Leitzel took fifth at 138.

Paolucci, a senior, beat West Virginia’s Jacob Perry, a second-place finisher in the state, 7-4, in the seventh-place match. Paolucci was pinned by 2A Florida state champion Camren French, 1:14. In an odd twist, the Cavalier faced both fourth-place finishers from the New York state tournament, beating DII wrestler Caden Barrientos, 1-0, and losing to DI grappler Anthony Clem, 4-1. French placed third and Clem was sixth.

Leitzel’s antics occurred in the sophomore division with a 3:29 pin of Tennessee state runner-up Braylan Casper in the fifth-place bout. Leitzel beat the eighth-place guy, Texas’ Dominic Wilson, 4-2, and picked up a big win over Pennsylvania’s Hudson Hohman, who is an Honorable Mention wrestler at 132 in SB Live’s National Rankings.

The Cavalier lost to the first and third place awardees, both of whom have spent time in the national rankings, but currently sit outside the list. Colorado’s Thomas Verette won the whole thing and hung an 11-4 loss on Leitzel. Virginia’s Tyler Traves is a two-time state champion, who lost to Verette in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman at Fargo last summer. Verette is also a two-time state champ.

Two other sophomores made their way to the podium with South Carroll’s JoJo Gigliotti suffering an injury during his semifinal showdown with Washington’s Justyce Zuniga. Gigliotti completed the match with Zuniga, a two-time1A state titlist, but forfeited his remaining matches to land in the sixth spot after losing 3-2 to Zuniga.

Zuniga placed second after losing to AAA Pennsylvania state champ Trey Wagner in the finals. One of Gigliotti’s huge victories came versus a two-time Alabama state champion – John Stewart. Stewart placed third.

Stephen Decatur’s Elijah Collick lost his first match in the Round of 128 and battled all the way back to place seventh and become the Seahawks first NHSCA Male All-American; Anya Knappenberger was Stephen Decatur's first All-American. That is not an easy road as it is littered with state champions and state placers, but Collick won seven straight before falling to New York’s state runner-up at 106, Dunia Sibomana, in the consolation semis.

One of Collick’s notable wins came over New Mexico’s Roman Luttrell, 7-3. Luttrell, a two-time state gold medalist, was third in 16U Greco-Roman at Fargo last year. In his seventh-place match, Collick blanked a two-time state champ from Tennessee, Samuel Comes, by a 5-0 score. Collick’s opening loss came against Ohio’s Scott Fuller, who did not place.

Old Mill’s Rasheen “RJ” Duncan had to default during his seventh-place match after an injury gave him a fit. Virginia’s Drake Garrison, who Duncan pinned in the championship bracket was the beneficiary of that unfortunate outcome. Garrison was third in the Class 3 states.

The loss that kicked the senior to the consolation round came to the champ, New York’s Stephan Monchery, who also won a DI state crown, 4-1. Pennsylvania’s Dylan Bledsoe handed Duncan his other loss, 4-2. To give you an idea of how difficult Pennsylvania wrestling is, Bledsoe was just sixth in his region and did not qualify for the AAA state tournament.

Maryland saw two guys in the Junior Division bring hardware home, Boonsboro’s Tanner Halling (120) and Bowie’s Jamil Morrow (220).

Halling was eighth, dropping a 7-2 decision two two-time Texas state champion Isaak Arevalo in his placement bout. Halling lost to Illinois 1A state silver medalist Tyson Waughtel, 4-2, and Pennsylvania AA state eighth placer, Colton Wade, 3-0. Wade beat Waughtel in the fifth-place match.

Morrow won his seventh-place match 8-4 over North Carolina’s Hayden Haynes. Haynes was fourth in the 6A state competition. North Carolina 3A state gold medalist, Xavier Wilson, beat Morrow 7-2 on the way to placing fourth.

Morrow was sent to the consolation bracket by Virginia’s Wyatt Bush, who went on to win the gold after finishing second here last year. Bush has won three consecutive Class 1 state crowns.

Two other Maryland girls landed on the awards stand, Arundel’s Jada Chavez and one who competes for New Jersey’s Blair Academy, McKinley Jovanovic.

Chaves pinned Jessica LeClair from Alaska to secure a fifth-place finish. Chaves was pinned by Texas’ No. 8 Zurri Zamora, 3:37. Jovanovic placed eighth at 120lbs.

Five Maryland guys made it to the blood round before bowing out of the competition. Three juniors and two seniors. The juniors were, Spalding’s Sean Garretson (126), St. Mary’s Ryken’s Evan Boblits (145), and Gilman’s Gabe Smith (182). Winston Churchill’s Charlie Trenkamp (182) and Middletown’s Alex Hoy (195) were the seniors.

Three others were two wins shy of placing, Loyola sophomores Jayden Jackson (120) and Josh Hale (132), and South Carroll junior Evan Owen (120).

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