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St. Frances & Brunswick Dominate

Legacy Wrestling 7th Ranked St. Frances Academy claims South River glory by taking down the hosts

Isiah Womack won a clash of 120-pound sophomores by fall against Anne Arundel County champion Trent Shipley to pace seventh-ranked St. Frances Academy in a 46-30 victory over 19th-ranked host South River at the Seahawks' dual meet tournament on Friday. Womack improved to 21-3 with his triumph over Shipley, who slipped to 21-2 after having placed third at regions and fifth at states at 106 pounds for the Seahawks a year ago.

"I never had wrestled him before,” said Womack, 16, a transfer from Richard Montgomery where he was a regional champion, placed third in Montgomery County and fifth at states at 113 pounds. “I just went out like I do with every match. I was feeling him out as I wrestled my hardest. Being at St. Frances, I've gotten so much better as a wrestler."

Womack's was among five pins and two technical falls for the Panthers (8-1) against the Seahawks (22-1), with pins also coming from sophomore Joseph Womack (106), junior Kamren Griffen (126), junior Noah Shird (138) and junior Douglas Johnson (215) and technical falls from senior Walter Smith (144) and junior Chase Carpintieri (157).

Winning decisions for the Panthers were senior Mo Womack (132) and freshman Logan Brown (150), the latter by 8-7 over junior Class 4A-3A East Regional Tournament runner-up Ben Ford, who slipped to 21-2.

"I got third at [the Montgomery County tournament] and got fifth at regions last year, but it's more than just the coaching that I'm getting that makes me more confident," said Mo, 17, who improved to 21-5 and is also formerly of Richard Montgomery. "It's the environment that we wrestle in. The wrestling room, the people we wrestle, the competition is better, everybody wants to work hard and has the same exact goal that you have."

Carpintieri is 13-5 after having finished fourth at private school states last season, Griffin is 11-2 after placing seventh at states, Shird improved to 19-5 after placing fifth, Johnson sits at 15-4 after placing seventh, Smith is 17-5, and Brown, 18-6.

“We have a full lineup this year and I think that we’re much better overall,” said Carpintieri, whose Panthers lost an earlier dual meet to No. 6 Loyola. “The way we performed in this tournament shows that we’re a more serious contender than we were last year.”

Joseph Womack improved to 21-4, being a former junior league wrestler who has been a runner-up three times in seven tournament appearances.

"I've never won any state titles, but I'd always place in every single one. And I always lost to the kid who won it either in the finals or in the semifinals," said Joseph Womack, 14. "As soon as I got into the wrestling room, I could already see that I was getting better than I was last year. I'm just wrestling way better than ever before."

Others wrestling well for the Panthers are junior Derrick Grant (165) at 19-5, and sophomore AJ Lopez (175). Grant is a former regional champion for Dunbar, who was fifth in the state for the Panthers, and Lopez, a former regional champion from Sherwood.

The Panthers finished on a high note in advance of Wednesday’s quad meet set for 4 p.m. with No. 1 Mount St. Joseph, No. 3 Archbishop Spalding and Archbishop Curley at Mt. St. Joe’s Smith Center.

“Being out in Virginia for two or three weeks straight, going to the Beast of The East and things like that allowed the kids to wrestle a schedule where they weren’t necessarily worried about the singlet the guy was wearing,” said second-year coach Doug McClain, 41, whose Panthers were fourth at last year’s Maryland Independent Schools State tournament.

“This type of schedule allowed our guys to simply concentrate on wrestling. There were things that they learned that they became confident with using. They became more confident with the way they’re moving and navigating around the mat. Coming back to Maryland for this tournament, they were more confident than I have seen previously.”

McClain first began coaching at New Town in Baltimore County, where he guided the Titans to their first two winning seasons from 2010-2012. McClain began coaching at Dunbar ahead of the 2012-2013 season, guiding the Poets to 13 Baltimore City Dual Meet and Tournament championships, two regional dual meet crowns in seven final appearances, and a pair of state dual meet runner-up finishes.

In addition, McClain guided six state finalists and two NHSCA All-Americans, including Jorden Pryor, who became the only three-time state champion from Baltimore City and captured a NHSCA National Crown as a senior. McClain was named the Baltimore Banner and Baltimore Sun’s coach of the year last season. Interestingly, the Banner honor was shared with South River’s John Klessinger, who McClain just defeated.

In vanquishing the Seahawks of 24th-year coach Klessinger, the Panthers handled a program that is after its third straight Class 4A state dual meet crown, having earned last year's with a resounding, 42-28, triumph over Urbana of Frederick County in the state championship match on Feb. 11 at North Point High School in Waldorf.

A five-time county tournament and seven-time county dual meet champion, South River finished at 16-2 a year ago, also crowning county champions in Shipley, junior Busayo Balugon (285) and senior Aiden Healey (190).

Healey finished second at regions and fourth at states, Shipley was third at regions and fifth at states, and Balugon, fourth at regions. Healey went 8-0 and is 22-1 for the season, Shipley and Ford were both 7-1, the latter, rising to 22-2 on the year.

Pinning for the Seahawks against the Panthers were freshman Jackson Peeples (113), sophomore Evan Paximadas (165) and senior Brent Phillips (175). Peeples went 8-0 in the tournament to improve to 10-0 on the season, Paximadas went 7-0 to rise to 14-3 overall.

Balogun went 6-1 at the South River Duals, and junior Austin Langis (106) and senior Xavier Foran (144) were both 6-2.

The Seahawks went 8-0 at the December 15-16 Warrior Duals at La Plata of Charles County, including a 43-27 victory over runner-up and Anne Arundel County rival, Old Mill. Joining the Panthers Womack brothers, Brown, Carpintieri, Griffen and Shird as champions of the South River duals were the Seahawks' Healey, Paximadas and Peeples.

McDonogh crowned sophomore Giuseppe (JJ) DiMonte (175) and senior Noah Onkst (215), who are up from 165 and 190 pounds a year ago. A 165-pound MIAA runner-up last year who was sixth at states, DiMonte went 8-0 with three pins to improve his overall record to 16-4 with seven pins. For the season, DiMonte owns victories over junior state runner-up Sepanta Ahanj-Elias of Bullis senior third-place state finisher Nate Furgeson of Landon. A returning MIAA champion and state runner-up, Onkst was a middle linebacker on the Eagles’ MIAA A Conference runner-up football team.

Others winning titles were junior Class 4A-3A state champion Drew Montgomery of Northern-Calvert County and second-year wrestling junior Grayden Stramanak (285) of Annapolis.

Stramanak went 9-0 with eight pins and a technical fall in the tournament, improving his overall record to 20-2, according to coach Tom Sfakyanudis.

"Grayden is a second-year wrestler, but he's making strides quickly," said Sfakiyanudis, a 1992 Annapolis graduate who was a county champion, regional runner-up and a Class 4A-3A state semifinalist. "Grayden is a standout lacrosse player who is such a great athlete who is very fast and very strong. We convinced him to come out for wrestling and he had a great tournament at South River."

Brunswick dominates Clash at The Creek

Brunswick crowned seniors Morgon Corwine (157) and Ben Wells (190), juniors Evan Mullen (106) and Austin Curry (215) and sophomore Seth Crawford (126) among eight wrestlers who finished within the top three of their weight classes to win the 11-team Clash at The Creek Duals on Thursday at Tuscarora High.

The Railroaders went 10-0 and rose 15-1 on the year, among their victories being those over the home-standing runner-up Titans (47-32), Springbrook (46-30) and, earlier this year, Walkersville (47-31).

Crawford is a defending Frederick County and regional champion who was fifth at the Class 2A-1A state tournament and has not yet yielded a takedown, according to J.C. Porter, and assistant to head coach Scott Stiles.

Corwine is a defending county champion who was a regional runner-up, placed fifth at states and is committed to Frostburg State University. Corwine, Crawford and Mullen are 23-0, Wells is 12-2, and Curry, 18-5.

Finishing second was sophomore Lane Riggleman (285), who is 19-3, with third-place finishes from freshman Cayden Boedecker (113) and sophomore Colby Moore (120). Also wrestling well for the Railroaders is junior Jake O'Connor (132), who has pinned 13 opponents in 14 victories.

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