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Sharma wins Davison Classic

Magruder's Neil Sharma had waited a year to win the Mad Mats Invitational before his home crowd.


For it was a year ago as a 106-pound freshman when Sharma lost a major decision to Bullis sophomore Ellis Kirsch in the title bout of an event hosted by Magruder. An impressive wrestler, Kirsch was 40-0 when he won last year's Maryland Independent Schools State title.


"I got majored by Ellis Kirsch at Mad Mats. He rode me out for a couple periods, and I learned that my bottom game needed work," said Sharma, a two-time junior league state runner-up. "I never got to wrestle him again, and now, he's gone on to wrestle at Blair Academy. That motivated me because I thought about that loss for weeks after."

Sharma ran the table from that point on, winning titles at the Montgomery County, Class 4A-3A West and Class 4A-3A state Tournaments. Sharma finished with a record of 33-1, joining three-time state champion Tony Howard as only the second sophomore to win a state title.


At states, Sharma had falls at 49 and 83 seconds of his first-round and semifinal bouts, with another in the quarterfinals in 3:01. Sharma won his title bout, 4-0, against Linganore sophomore Josh Arthur, whom he defeated for the third time of the year.


"I wrestled Josh three times last year and he was tough to wrestle," said Sharma, who pinned twice before winning his regional title bout, 2-0, against Arthur. "It felt good to win states, but I was definitely hungry for more."


That brought Sharma to last month's season-opening Mad Mats tournament, the 126-pounder’s first opportunity to impress his Colonels' fans in his home gym as a defending state champion.

 But after pinning his quarterfinal opponent in 1:43, Sharma lost a 9-5 decision to Duncan Stadler of Jackson-Reed. Sharma was suffering from an illness in advance of his loss to Stadler, who finished second following a 12-9, title-bout loss to Class 4A-3A state runner-up Stone Yuen, a junior from Einstein.


"I was not able to finish the tournament after that match," said Sharma, who defaulted from the tournament after losing to Stadler. "I am not making any excuses for that loss; I should have won regardless of my health at the time."


But Sharma gained a measure of revenge at last Friday’s Davison Classic Tournament at Randallstown High, where he hammered Stadler during an 18-3 technical fall victory.


"I was able to get into my attacks better from the neutral position and I was also able to turn him from on top," Sharma said. "I was simply disappointed in losing to him, but that was motivating to have a chance to wrestle him again at Randallstown."


Sharma, who was joined on the victory podium by teammates Jimmy Messer (132) and Shane Kelly (190) as the Colonels finished second to tournament champion Hammond.


As he enters this weekend's Tomahawk Duals at Havre de Grace with a record of 10-1 with six pins and two technical falls, Sharma's assessment of himself is that he is "actually a pretty good" scrambling wrestler whose "hand-fighting definitely needs work."


Sharma stated that his escapes from the bottom position have improved because "No has ridden me this year.”


“My countering has gotten better," said Sharma, an A-student. “My neutral positioning" and takedowns "have gotten better but can get even better."


Magruder's seven different male state champions represent 10 different individual titles led by three-time champion Tony Howard, whose career record was 105-1 before graduating in 2000.


Howard became the program's first state title winner in 1998, with his lone career setback being a disqualification loss during a match he was winning that ended when he was called for an illegal slam against an opponent who could not continue.


Then-junior Marc Heincelman became the second Colonel's wrestler to earn a title in 1999 when he defeated freshman Matt Eveleth of Chesapeake-Anne Arundel, 6-2, only to be a runner-up following a 4-3 championship loss to Eveleth in 2000.


Magruder crowned its third, fourth and fifth individual champions in 2005 with Zach Tolbert (112), Cam Watkins (135) and John Holloway (189).


Holloway earned a second title at 215 pounds in 2006, the same year that Magruder freshman Helen Maroulis became the first girl to place at the states with a sixth-place finish at 112 pounds in the 4A-3A state tournament.


As a Magruder junior in 2009, Maroulis became the first female to reach the finals of both the Montgomery County and Class 4A-3A East Region tournaments and repeated her sixth-place finish at states.


Maroulis later became the first-ever American female to win a gold medal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016, and world championship titles in 2015 and 2017.


Maroulis also won a gold medal in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and, most recently, a bronze medal in the Tokyo Summer Olympics and a gold medal in the January 2022 Ivan Yariguin Grand Prix in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.


Parke Overmiller (119) became the Colonel's sixth individual champion in 2010, and Isaac Righter (285), their seventh in 2020.


Having guided Magruder since 2011, A.J. Tao has coached Righter, Sharma and also defending 105-pound junior girls’ state champion Ana Martins (105).


As a 100-pound freshman competing at 106, Sharma went 28-3 with eight pins and four technical falls, finishing third at counties and regions.


"Neil currently has 71 total wins," said Tao, a 2003 Wheaton High graduate who was twice a county runner-up and qualified for states three times while wrestling 103-to-125. "As far as wins go, Neil is on track to get hopefully over 120 career wins or so. He's got to stay healthy and has to stay hungry. That's the key."


Magruder's Male State Champions


Tony Howard


140 pounds (1998)

152 pounds (1999)

160 pounds (2000)


John Holloway


189 pounds (2005)

215 pounds (2006)


Marc Heincelman


103 pounds (1999)


Parke Overmiller


119 pounds (2010)


Isaac Righter


285 pounds (2020)


Zach Tolbert


112 (2005)


Cam Watkins


135 pounds (2005)

Neil Sharma

106 pounds (2023)



Magruder's Female State Champion


Ana Martins


105 pounds (2023)



Magruder's All-Time Career Victories Leaders


Wins      Wrestler                              Graduation Year


141        Jordan Tolbert                    2011


131        Cammeron Mayberry        2012


126        Alex Tolbert                        2008


117        CJ Cramma                        2018


117        John Holloway                    2006


115        Zach Tolbert                       2006


112        Tyler Dykes                         2012


111        Andrew Conine                  2014


106        Andrew Barnes                  2014


105        Tony Howard                      2000


104        Kamen Barnes                    2012


104        Brent Martin                      2015


102        Joe Sanchez                        2016


99           Marc Heincelman              2000


99*        Helen Maroulis                  2009




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