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Trojan Wars

South Carroll's top-ranked super sophomore Jo Jo Gigliotti finished second at 127 pounds, while second-ranked juniors Evan Boblits (145) and Will Buckler (160) and No. 2-ranked freshman Eli Gabrielson (107) all of St. Mary's Ryken placed third at the Dec. 29-30 Trojan Wars Tournament at Chambersburg Area High in Chambersburg, Pa.


A defending Carroll County, Class 2A-1A North Region and Class 2A-1A state champion, Gigliotti improved on last year's fourth-place finish when he was among the team champion Cavaliers' six wrestlers who finished within the top five of their weight classes -- including a champion and two runners-up.


Boblits, Buckler and Gabrielson were among the Knights' seven wrestlers who finished eighth or higher, pacing their team to a sixth place finish in a 51-team event won by Bald Eagle Area High School of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.


Finishing seventh for the Knights were seniors Tyler Wood (127) and Josh Strong (152) along with freshman Ethan Valdisera (114), while junior Sean Jewett (285) placed eighth.

"I think we wrestled well regarding our team's representation," said Boblits, a two-time Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion who has been runner-up at the Maryland Independent Schools State Tournament and placed fourth at National Preps. "Our cardio needs to improve and we absolutely have some work to do in specific positions. Other than that, we represented ourselves well, as well as Maryland as a whole. We proved that we can compete up there with some of the best from Pennsylvania."

Gigliotti went 4-1 with two pins, a technical fall and a major decision, but was disappointed in his championship loss.


"I just hold myself to a higher standard because I know how good I can be," said Gigliotti, 16, who entered high school as a four-time junior league state title winner. "It's tough knowing that my three career losses were at this tournament."


In succession, Gigliotti reached the finals following a 17-2 technical fall, an 85-second pin, a 12-4 major decision and a fall in 3:23, the latter in his semifinal bout against eventual third-place finishing freshman Stephen Myers of Parkersburg High of Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Gigliotti lost his title bout, 7-3, to senior Lucas Fye of Bald Eagle, whose two-year record of 46-4 includes a 5-0 seminal victory over senior Cael Rossi of Lower Dauphin High of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania as well as winning last year's Trojan Wars event at 120 pounds.



"JoJo was ahead 2-0 after a high-crotch into a double-leg takedown in about the first 30 seconds of the match. The kid stood up, and JoJo took him to the mat twice before cutting him," said his father, Anthony Gigilotti, 42, a former Class 4A-3A state champion at Sherwood in 1999. "Jo Jo actually led, 2-1, entering the second period before the kid came back on him. But the kid is committed to wrestle at Lock Haven, so he's very good. All of JoJo's losses have been at this tournament. He just has to go back to the laboratory and get better, which I know he will do."


At 15-1 this season, Gigliotti has a two-year record of 63-3 that includes last year's 9-3 decision over Mount St. Joseph senior Carter Nogle, who is a defending champion in both the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools state tournaments.

Gigliotti went 48-2 a year ago, culminating with a 3-2 state championship victory over Boonsboro sophomore Tanner Halling, who entered at 45-0. Myers improved his record on the year to 16-1 following a 7-5 victory over Rossi in their third-place bout.


"I don't like losing at all," JoJo Gigliotti said. "We're just going to go back to the drawing board like last year and hopefully not lose again."

Boblits went 6-1 with two pins and a technical fall, Buckler was 5-1 with two pins and a technical fall, and Gabrielson, 5-1 with two pins. Boblits used an overtime victory to win the season-opening Ray Oliver Tournament at McDonogh Tournament on December 1-2, doing so against Gilman's senior Tyson Sherlock, a defending titlist in the MIAA and private schools state tournaments as a junior after having placed second and third at each as a sophomore.


In addition, Sherlock was also a third-place finisher at last year’s National Preps Tournament as well as last year's National High School Coaches’ Association tournament champion after being a fourth as a freshman and a runner-up as a sophomore.


Boblits was able to pull off an overtime rideout victory, being the only champion among the St Mary’s Ryken’s eight wrestlers who placed within the top four of their weight classes and pacing the Knights (228,5 points) to the overall title ahead of runner-up Archbishop Spalding (197.5) in the 26-team tournament.


At the Trojan War tournament, Boblits avenged his earlier, 2-1, quarterfinal loss to junior Tyler Hood of St. Christopher's in Virginia by winning their third-place bout by overtime riding criteria.


Hood had been relegated to the consolation rounds following a semifinal, 2-1 overtime loss to eventual champion Reagan Milheim of Warrior Run, a sophomore who won his title bout, 8-1, over senior David Burks of Virginia's Strasburg High.


Boblits also owns an overtime, 4-1, decision over Hood's teammate, sophomore Walker Turkey, who finished third behind Boblits at the McDonogh tournament where Hood pinned his way to the 150-pound title.


"I like to believe that I could have won this tournament, but I didn't. I'm glad I was able to get my rematch with the St. Christopher's kid for third place,” Boblits said. “Between knowing he won the Ray Oliver tournament at the weight above me and having wrestled his teammate at Ray Oliver, I knew he would be a great opponent.”

Buckler lost his semifinal, 3-1, to eventual champion Joey Divello of Virginia's Skyline High, a junior who blanked freshman Nolan Reinert of Pennsylvania's Gettysburg Area High, 10-0, in the finals.


Buckler won his third-place bout, 6-1, over junior Hudson Spres of Pennsylvania's General McLane High, whom he defeated, 8-3, in the championship quarterfinals.


"I like to think I wrestled well, but I have to work on opening up more and letting points fly. So now it's time to grind more,” Boblits said. “This shows the rest of Maryland that we are nothing to overlook. We can compete with any team or individuals that we step into the circle with."


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