St. Mary's Ryken junior Tony Antonioli is not a great runner. But by joining the cross-country team last fall, he has become one of the best wrestlers in Southern Maryland.
"I used to play soccer in the fall, but it didn't get me in shape for wrestling," said Antonioli, who was a backup goalkeeper. "Cross-country got me in shape. I hated it, but it got me in shape."
In cross-country, Antonioli placed a distant 82nd at the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championships. But this winter, he is 13-2 on the mat. He won the 152-pound titles at the Chopticon and Boys Latin tournaments and placed fourth at the Damascus Holiday Tournament. Both of his losses came to Zach Copp of Delaware's Caesar Rodney High School.
"Last year, I was sucking wind in the third period," said Antonioli, who went 23-5 and won the SMAC title at 145. "But this year, I'm in much better shape."
Most of Antonioli's victories this winter have been decisive--he has 10 pins and two major decisions.
"In order to be a pinner, you have to be aggressive," St. Mary's Ryken Coach Gary Willis said. "Tony takes a lot of chances on the mat, but he always knows what he's doing. It may look like the other guy is in control, but Tony has him right where he wants him."
Antonioli's favorite move is the Granby shoulder roll, which he learned from his father, Vince, while wrestling for the St. Mary's Junior Wrestling Club. The move is risky because it exposes the wrestler's back, but when executed properly it can be very rewarding.
"The idea is keep rolling until you're on top and in control," Antonioli said. "Yes, you open yourself up to getting pinned or giving up near-fall points because your back is on the mat, but unless he's in control, you don't lose any points. . . . He may think he's going to pin me, but I already know what I'm going to do."
Calvert's Injury List Grows
Injuries continue to plague Calvert (5-2, 2-2 SMAC). One day after losing two-time state qualifier Buck Sampson for the second time this season, freshman 103-pounder Clinton Parker hurt his knee in practice and has since undergone arthroscopic surgery.
Sampson, who hurt his back at work before the season started, returned Jan. 4 and won a match against St. Mary's Ryken. But he reinjured his back the following day and is out indefinitely. Parker, who is 10-0 and considered one of the best 103-pound wrestlers in the state, will miss at least four weeks, possibly the rest of the season.
"Injuries are crushing us," Calvert Coach Dave Kistler said. "They're affecting our lineup and they're affecting our team psyche."
Calvert got one bit of good news last week when junior Tony Roberts returned to the starting lineup. Roberts, who placed fourth in the SMAC last season at 145, injured his knee in the team's first scrimmage. In his first match back, he was leading Northern's Jesse Ratliff, 7-6, before getting caught in a headlock and pinned.
"Given some time and wind, Tony should be a force in the SMAC," Kistler said.
Bohmenkamp Comes Back Strong
Despite a three-year layoff, Northern senior Nick Bohmenkamp is 9-5 this season at 112.
He placed fourth at the Chopticon and Lackey tournaments and was fifth at the Patriot Classic.
"Nick is a very good wrestler," Northern Coach Jeff Fowler said. "I think he'll place at SMAC and regionals and will wrestle well at the state tournament."
Bohmenkamp was a two-time youth league champion in Georgia but did not wrestle his first three years in high school. He transferred to Northern this season and is one of the reasons the Patriots are 4-1 overall, 4-0 in the SMAC.
Southern Maryland Wrestling Rankings
103--1, Chris Moore (14-2), Westlake, Jr.; 2, Derek McDermott (13-2), McDonough, Fr.; 3, Cliff Weimert (12-6), La Plata, Jr.
112--1, Jeremy Harpold (13-1), Thomas Stone, Sr.; 2, Dennis Wieder (9-4), Chopticon, Jr.; 3, Ryan Reffitt (9-5), Westlake, Fr.
119--1, Max Buff (16-2), Calvert, Soph.; 2, Josh McKeever, Lackey, Jr.; 3, Chris Shelton (15-4), Northern, Jr.
125--1, Bobby Jameson (11-2), Thomas Stone, Sr.; 2, Matt Bancroft (12-3), Calvert, Fr.; 3, Josh Litz (10-4), Chopticon, Jr.
130--1, Jon Peters (15-1), Westlake, Jr.; 2, Walter Hoffman (17-5), Northern, Fr.; 3, Adam Dankulich (9-5), La Plata, Sr.
135--1, Jason Kiessling (15-0), McDonough, Soph.; 2, Nathan Myers (14-3), Westlake, Soph.; 3, Justin Holman (12-4), Calvert, Jr.
140--1, Garrett Black (12-0), Chopticon, Sr.; 2, Marcello Nucci (15-2), Northern, Sr.; 3, Justin Miller (13-5), La Plata, Jr.
145--1, Ryan Forman (16-1), Northern, Soph.; 2, Dustin Little (12-4), Calvert, Sr.; 3, Joe Parker (10-6), St. Mary's Ryken, Sr.
152--1, Tony Antonioli (13-2), St. Mary's Ryken, Sr.; 2, Martin Queen, Lackey, Jr.; 3, Ryan Vega (11-3), Patuxent, Sr.
160--1, Jeremy Sanford, Lackey, Sr.; 2, Shane Copsey, Leonardtown, Sr.; 3, Danny Nucci (10-6), Northern, Sr.
171--1, Nick Carrington (14-1), McDonough, Jr.; 2, Dennis Williamson (11-5), La Plata, Sr.; 3, Jesse Tiralla (11-4), St. Mary's Ryken, Jr.
189--1. Sean O'Connor (15-1), Patuxent, Sr.; 2, Will Baines (12-3), Great Mills, Sr.; 3, Sean Ruppard (14-4), La Plata, Sr.
Hvy.--1, James Dunkle, Lackey, Sr.; 2, Jim Schumacher (12-4), McDonough, Sr.; 3, Josh Laster (9-4), Chopticon, Sr.
Top teams--1, Northern; 2, La Plata; 3, Leonardtown; 4, Calvert; 5, Thomas Stone.