Two months ago, Damascus High senior Chase York broke his left arm in a football game, so when the wrestling season began he was wearing a sling. Last night, he made a triumphant return to the mat, winning the 112-pound title for the host school at the eighth annual Damascus Holiday Tournament.
Other individual winners included Sherwood All-Met Frank Edwards (152 pounds) and Bullis's Max Meltzer (103) and Tanner Cerand (189). Caesar Rodney of Delaware won the team title with 251 points, followed by Franklin (204), second-ranked Damascus (197), Williamsport (192) and Calvert Hall (152).
"The competition at this tournament is awesome," said Damascus Coach Dave Hopkins, whose team won the tournament last season. "Our kids wrestled well tonight, especially the younger kids, but we couldn't hang with Caesar Rodney. They're awesome."
York's performance was equally impressive. Despite missing the first eight weeks of the season, York pinned his first three opponents last night and earned a 5-3 decision over Jason Oren of Oakland Mills in the final.
"I'm happy with the way I wrestled," said York, who placed third at the Class 4A/3A tournament last season at 103 pounds. "I went out there to win and that's what I did. I didn't get a pin [in the final] like I wanted, but I did the best I could."
It should be noted that York is not the most decorated wrestler in his family. Brandon York was a two-time state champion at Damascus, Nick York was a state runner-up and Ryan York placed third at the Class 4A/3A tournament last season.
"Chase comes from a wrestling family and I think that helps," Hopkins said. "When you're the baby of the family getting beat up by your older brothers, you have to get tough. It's survival of the fittest."
Hopkins, who coached all four York brothers, said he sees similarities between Chase and Brandon, who wrestles for Maryland. Hopkins said that both wrestlers are tenacious on the mat and have a burning desire to win.
"Chase wants to be a state champ like his brother and that motivates him," Hopkins said. "If he continues to wrestle like he did tonight, he has a chance."
As for beating his brothers, that may be a little harder.
"When I was a kid, we used to wrestle all the time," said York, whose family put carpets on the basement floor for the boys to wrestle on. "I got beat up pretty good, but I always hung in there. Maybe one day I'll beat them."