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Guilford Park makes history!

Guilford Park sophomores Ruby Lenkey (110) and Leandro Saravia (113) made history for the Panthers' wrestling program, which is in its first season at a first-year school.

Saravia placed fourth in the Howard County Tournament on the weekend of February 16-17 at Wilde Lake High, becoming the first Panthers' wrestler to place in that event. Guilford Park opened this year, combining students from Hammond and Long Reach.

“It’s fun,” Saravia said. “We’re building a new program.”

A week later, Lenkey pinned LaPlata senior Lauren Ladd in 3:24 of their championship bout to win the Class 2A-1A South Region title at Patuxent High, becoming the Panthers' first regional champion.

“I felt like it was another step for the girls wrestling program,” said Lenkey, who placed fourth at regions as a freshman at Hammond last year. "I’m not only the first regional champ, but also, the first girls’ regional champ at Guilford Park.”

On the boys' side, Saravia won his Class 2A-1A South Region semifinal, 10-0, over LaPlata sophomore Deegan Woomer, who finished third at regions.

Saravia finished as a regional runner-up following a title bout loss by fallchampion,inst Huntingtown freshman Landen Vercoe, a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference champion who improved his record on the year to 30-1.

Lenkey and Saravia qualified for the Class 4A-3A state tournament at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, which will be held on February 29-through-March 1-2.

"Leo and Ruby both wrestled at Hammond last year as freshmen," said coach David Roogow, whose Panthers' program is composed of freshmen and sophomores. "Leo wrestled JV for counties at Hammond, and Ruby placed fourth in the girls' regionals but didn't qualify for states. They’re perfect kids to build a program around."

On the way to placing fourth in the county tournament, Saravia lost a double-overtime bout to Hammond senior Cody Johnson. A county champion as well as a county runner-up, Johnson placed second at last weekend's Class 2A-1A West Region tournament. Saravia has a record of 30-11, having placed second at the Randallstown tournament and fourth at the Damascus tournament.

"Leo has busted his but during all of the off-season and during this season," Roogow said. "His former Hammond teammates were shocked at how good Leo has gotten this year, especially when he lost to Cody Johnson in the county semifinals."

Panthers' freshman Luis Galo-Orellana (106) pinned Patuxent freshman Nick Rosenberger to finish fifth at regions, and sophomore teammate Zeno Ban (150) finished sixth at regions following an overtime, 7-5 loss to Gwynn Park junior Rene Dorelus.

Roogow formerly coached at Centennial, being an eight-year assistant through 2007, and a six-year head coach until 2013. At Centennial, Roogow coached three of the Kraisser siblings, Brian, Nathan and Austin, the latter for only his freshman season.

The Kraissers have produced 14 state champions for the Eagles, with current junior Calvin Kraisser (144) being in pursuit of his third crown in the Class 2A-1A after having earned a pair of Class 4A-3A titles.

Calvin Kraisser is the sixth wrestler and the fifth sibling in a family legacy that has spanned four decades. Father and coach Cliff Kraisser was a state champion for the Eagles in 1983, elder brother Nathan earned four each in county, regional and state crowns before graduating in 2012.

Austin won four each in county and regional crowns as well as three state titles in four championship births through 2016, and Jason graduated in 2019 with four each in county, region and state titles.

"I didn't know I was ready to get back into coaching until I met our athletic director, Mike Lerner last spring," Roogow said. "The opportunity to build a program from scratch was something that was very appealing to me. I could not have chosen kids who are more fit to be the face of the program than Leo and Ruby."

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