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Dolezel is undefeated going into States

Reservoir’s third-ranked junior Andrew Dolezel is a wrestler who can win for losing.

"I began wrestling with the Howard County Vipers Recreation League when I was 10, and I've won no junior league titles. Before high school, I had a losing record, barely making it to the states," said Dolezel, a 132-pound returning Class 4A-3A state runner-up. "I was always leaving states after going 0-for-2. I like to think that every time that I got smashed that I learned something from it. It made me a lot better and I'm now beating people who I had gotten beaten up by years ago."

Last weekend, Dolezel improved his overall record to 39-0 on a pin in 24 seconds and in 2:47 before winning his Class 4A-3A South Regional title match, 9-4, over fifth-ranked Eleanor Roosevelt senior Stephen Exum.

A regional champion last year, Dolezel trailed, 2-0, and 3-2, against Exum, a former workout partner whose record slipped to 23 -2.

"I trained with him in the off-season after the 2023 state tournament. He's a good guy who has gotten a lot better since the last time I saw him," Dolezel said. "I had never met him in a match, but I just kept my composure. I've had a lot of losses in the past, but all of those losses have amounted to me now being among the best in the state."

Dolezel takes a career record of 111-7 into the Class 4A-3A state tournament at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, which will be held on February 29-through-March 2. Standing 5-foot-8, Dolezel describes himself as “a lanky and aggressive” wrestler. As a 113-pound freshman, Dolezel was second at counties and regions and third at states, finishing his season at 31-5.

As a 120-pound sophomore, Dolezel won both the county and regional titles before finishing second at states, ending his season with a record of 43-2.

As a freshman, Dolezel used a 9-3 decision to reach the Class 3A East Region finals, where he lost, 10-0, to eventual Class 4A-3A state champion senior Arya Habibi of Marriotts Ridge.

As a ninth-grader at states, Dolezel lost his first round bout, 6-2, to eventual runner-up sophomore Jacob Gaum of Whitman, who lost his title bout, 7-1, to Habibi.

Dolezel went 4-0 after following his loss to Gaum comprising a pin in 1:50, an 11-7 decision, a 16-0 technical fall and a fall in 4:11 of his third-place bout with Broadneck freshman Brandon Whyte-Taylor.

Now a 120-pound junior, Whyte-Taylor’s record is 39-2 having added a Class 4A-3A East Region crown to his Anne Arundel County titles from a week earlier.

Last year at counties, Dolezel pinned his semifinal opponent in 61 seconds and finished off River Hill’s Jacob Cohen at 3:25 of their title match. Dolezel dominated last year’s Class 4A-3A East region with a 45-second fall, another in 4:41 and a championship, 18-2 technical fall.

Last year at states, Dolezel won his first bout, 11-4, his second by fall in 4:38, and his semifinal, 6-1. Dolezel lost his title match, 8-2, to Sherwood senior Jace Munoz, who finished at 46-0.

Two weeks ago, Dolezel won counties following a fall in 1:52 and a 16-1 technical fall in the semifinals before pinning title-bout rival Isaac Choi of Glenelg in 4:29 after having built a 10-1 lead.

"Pinning someone in the finals of a tournament isn't really testing me," Dolezel said. "I'm fully confident in my abilities and I know that in all of my heart I can win states this time."

Dolezel has a challenging weight class at states with his first-round match being against Northeast junior Rex Graves, a fourth-place finisher out of the Class 4A-3A East Region whose record is 30-11.

Getting beyond Graves will earn a likely quarterfinal match-up with 11th-ranked defending state champion Cooper Van Scoyoc, who was a runner-up in the Class 4A-3A West Region following a 5-3 decision loss to 10th-ranked Northwest senior Jason Beale.

In victory over VanScoyoc, Dolezel would likely earn a semifinal berth against North Point junior Gable Pauole, a returning fifth-place state finisher whose record is 31-3. Ranked 12th, Pauole is a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference champion who earned his regional crown with a 5-2 decision over Anne Arundel County champion junior Cole Figueroa of Arundel.

Should Dolezel reach the state finals, he'll likely face the winner of a quarterfinal match between Exum and Beale, the latter of whom has a record of 43-1.

The Gators won a Class 4A-3A state tournament title in 2010, when Mark Colabucci (145) won his first of two crowns, Mike Mullens (152) and Josh Hamilton (285) were second, and both Josh Knox (112) and Danny Poore (119) were fourth. Colabucci (171) won his second crown in 2011, and Mason Kilcarr (132) earned a state title in 2014.

"If I am able to wrestle my best in four matches, then I will win," Dolezel said. "For right now, I'm focused on Thursday's match [against Graves.] That match comes before any others, so I can't look past that."

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