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MAWA West Region Results

Marks-Jenkins and Stewart dominate at MAWA West Region

On Sunday April 7th a contingency of Maryland Wrestlers traveled north to Pennsylvania for the Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association’s West Region at C3 Sports in State College.

Three more region tournaments take place over the next month that culminates in the Eastern Nationals at the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury, Maryland on May 4th. The top four from each region advance to the nationals, so our focus here is highlighting the Marylanders who qualified this past weekend. Once you qualify for the nationals, you cannot enter another regional.

Perry Hall’s undefeated state champion and third place finisher at USA Folkstyle Nationals, Victor Marks-Jenkins continued his postseason assault that has saw him lose just the one match at the Folkstyle Nationals to Illinois’ Brody Sendele.

In the Advanced 160lb bracket, Marks-Jenkins decked Bedford, Pennsylvania’s Cuyler Hale in 1:55. The Gator pinned his first opponent then won an 18-5 major decision over East Freedom, PA’s Blair Miller.

Maryland has two other champs in the Elite Division with Winters Mill’s Alexander Martin taking the 125lb gold and Calvert Hall’s Griffin Stewart taking top honors at 145. Martin pinned Anita, Pennsylvania’s Hunter Dobson in 1:41 in the finals and won a tight one over Sean Clements (Glen Rock, PA), 6-4, in the semis.

Stewart is a multi-time private school state placer, who placed at National Preps as a junior. The Cardinal dominated his three opponents pinning Snoop Shilcosky (Sidman, PA) in the finals, 1:58, teching his semifinal opponent – James Balo (Holidaysburg, PA), and pinning in his opening bout in 1:26 over Alex Surovec (Howard, PA).

Two Marylanders finished as silver medalists, Manchester’s Joey Day (93) and Williamsport’s Aidan Alvarez (118). Day did his work in the Advanced Division where he went 1-2 in the Round Robin final with Camp Hill, PA’s Landon Linn, winning the middle match. Alvarez was in the Elite brackets.

Manchester’s Donavan Evans was third in the Advanced category at 100lbs, pinning Jacob Erb (Leechburg, PA) in the consolation finals, 1:09. Winters Mill’s Colton Wasmer also grabbed an Advanced Bronze with an 8-4 decision of Joshua Dobson (Anita, PA) at 125.

Placing fourth in the Advanced 285lb compeition was Lanvale, Maryland’s Caden Miller.

This weekend (April 14th) is the MAWA South Region, which is being held at the Wicomico Civic Center.

Jaron Smith secures spot at Olympic Trials

Former Oakland Mills two-time state champion and University of Maryland grappler Jaron Smith won the 125KG weight class in Freestyle at the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier this past weekend at the James W Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, VA.

In the finals, Smith edged Jacob Bullock (Indiana RTC), 6-5. The Orange Crush wrestler pinned Jordan Wood of the New York Athletic Club in 4:36 in the semis and got by Nathan Taylor (Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club), 10-7, in the quarters. Smith was seeded fifth. Taylor was fourth, Wood was first, and Bullock was the No. 2 seed.

Smith will now compete in the Olympic Trials on April 19th and 20th at the Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State University.

In the Women’s Division, Alex Szoktnicki, who placed in the boys’ state tournament for South River in 2023, was seeded No. 1 but could not fulfill those expectations, falling twice and failing to place. The eventual champion, Lauren Louive (NYAC) teched Szoktnicki in the semis, 10-0, and another tech fall loss came in the consolation semis to Team Tornado’s Lana Luciano, 10-0.

While these two wrestlers are not from Maryland, their accomplishments at the event should be pointed out, especially in regard to expectations tied to seeding as Jax Forrest was seeded seventh and won the 57KG bracket and Bo Bassett was unseeded and finished second at 65KG.

These results are incredibly noteworthy since both of these guys are just sophomores in high school and happen to be teammates on the Bishop McCort squad. Both are ranked No. 2 in the nation at their high school weights by Scorebook Live (Forrest at 126, Bassett at 138).

There is no need to rehash their many accolades. The reason for adding them to a Maryland recap is to show how the very best seek out challenges and don’t concern themselves with seeds and who is the favorite.

Forrest won by a 10-0 tech fall over 2015 NCAA Champion Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) in his final’s bout. While Bassett fell in the finals to four-time NCAA All-American Matt Kolodzik, to reach the finals, he teched 2019 NCAA Champ Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers). So, a sophomore (Forrest), qualifies for the Olympic Trials….Dream BIG! Go forge your Legacy by challenging yourself. Playing it safe doesn’t make you great, pushing yourself does. Seek out the challenges, don’t hide from them.

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