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The Birth Family Wrestling Legacy Continues

Havre de Grace freshman Madison Birth trailed by a point with eight seconds left in her 106-pound bout with North Caroline High sophomore Darly Ortega in their initial bout of last weekend's Tomahawk Duals at Havre de Grace.

Not only was Birth wrestling in her home gym and her first of what would be eight bouts, but the 14-year-old was doing so with her father, Scott, a former state champion for Bel Air High, screaming instructions from the stands.

"There was a lot of pressure because he was backing up and he was strong," Madison Birth said. "I felt like he was stalling, but I knew that with time running out, I couldn't wait for the referee to call it -- so I kept on shooting."

Birth finally scored a double-leg takedown for the 4-3 victory, her first of a tournament she completed by going 8-0 with four pins to improve her record on the year to 16-4 with nine pins.

"I was able to finally get in on his legs for a double-leg takedown, but I knew it wasn't over," Birth said. "I still had to ride him out until I looked up at the clock and there was no time left. That's when I knew it was over and I had finally won."

Among Madison's falls at the Tomahawk Duals were those over Fallston freshman Joey Lutz in 69 seconds, Magruder freshman Chris Reilly in 78 seconds, Edgewood freshman Benjamin Jorge in 3:11 and Patterson Mill sophomore Austin Nielsen in 3:44.

Madison finished second in the voting for Outstanding Lower Weight Wrestler behind 126-pound junior Tommy Blankenship, a fifth-place finisher at last year's Class 2A-1A state tournament who went 6-0 with two pins, a 15-0 technical fall and an overtime, 8-6 victory over Class 4A-3A state champion Neil Sharma of Magruder.

"This was a long day, so this feels pretty good," said Madison Birth, who has also placed fourth at the Battle Of The Bridge Tournament at Bohemia Manor High. "Most people see me wrestle and they don't expect to see me beating the boys in the manner I've been able to.”

Madison's older brother, Connor, a junior at Havre de Grace, went 7-1 with 5 pins at the Tomahawk Duals, improving his record to 17-6 with 11 pins and a technical fall. Connor returns after having placed third in last year's Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Tournament.

Scott, 50, is among three wrestling Birth siblings along with Chris, 52, and Matt, 47, all of whom competed for Bel Air High.

Chris and Scott won Class 4A-3A state titles, while Matt, now an assistant at Bel Air, earned a Harford County title and second place finish at regions before graduating from Bel Air in 1995.

Chris’ sons, Jack, a junior, and Max, a freshman, wrestle at 150 and 157 for Walkersville in Frederick County.

Conner was a regional champion as a freshman and placed third at counties as a sophomore. Scott's elder son, Ethan returned to the sport for his final year of high school as a senior last year and won 20 matches. As a former junior league wrestler, Ethan placed second at states in Greco and third in freestyle.

"I'm happy that I did well," said Connor. “And it was fun watching Madison beat the boys."

As an eighth grader and 102-pound member of the Mavericks’ Wrestling Club, Madison won four state titles in Maryland girls’ folkstyle, two in Pennsylvania Greco-Roman, and one in Pennsylvania freestyle.

Madison is considering a transition to wrestling girls, who have clamored to the sport since the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association held its inaugural all-girls state wrestling tournament at Northeast High in February 2018.

At the Tomahawk Duals, Madison was successful in a weight class which also featured North Harford junior Bryn Cespedes. Although Madison never faced Cespedes, they shared a common opponent in Reilly, an 8-5 loser to Cespedes.

Madison is kind of up in the air about wrestling in the girls states. On one hand, that would give her an opportunity to become a four-time state champion as a girl," Scott Birth said. "But on the other hand, Madison already has won numerous girls’ state titles, and she wants to win a boys' state title, which is also something no girl has ever done."

At Walkersville, Jack Birth is 22-3 with 18 pins, having gone 9-1 at the earlier Walkersville Tournament and 5-0 at the Dorsey Duals. Max is 24-2 with 20 pins, having gone 9-1 at the Walkersville Tournament and 4-1 at the Dorsey Duals.

"We do keep up with one another about how everyone is doing," Jack said. "We go back and forth calling one another about wrestling, mostly at family gatherings." 

Chris Birth won three county titles in four championship appearances, two regional crowns in three title bout births, and placed first and third at the Class 2A-1A states as a junior and Class 4A-3A states senior in 1989 and 1990.

As a junior, Chris beat Hereford’s Rob Hough, 6-4, in the 130-pound state finals a week after losing to him, 4-1, in the regionals.

Scott twice earned county titles and one each in regional and state titles, the latter as a senior in 1992 who went 24-0 with 16 pins. Scott dominated his Class 4A-3A state championship victory, shedding 10 pounds and overwhelming previously unbeaten, 125-pound rival Craig Middledorf of Montgomery County’s Paint Branch High.

In addition to his 10-2 rout of Middledorf, Scott also defeated the previous season’s Class 2A-1A state champion, Jim Ervine, of Havre de Grace earlier that year.

The family matriarch, Patty Kallmyer, is the mother and grandmother of all of the grappling Births. She had intended on attending the Tomahawk Duals but her work occupation interfered to the point where a reporter broke the news to her regarding her grandchildren's accomplishments.

"I was going to go up there, but I got caught up with work," Kallmyer said. "I was surprised that Scott hadn't called me yet, but I'm not surprised about Madison because Madison is a beast."


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