Damascus wrestling claims Maryland duals title
By Gabe Hiatt,
Riding his opponent and working from every angle, Damascus 120-pounder Michael Wilkerson could not pin or even score a near fall in the second period of his bout at the Maryland 4A/3A wrestling duals final Saturday.
Urbana’s Jimmy Allen quickly nullified a reversal in the third period with an escape.
Wilkerson would need overtime to beat Allen, but the sophomore swaggered off the mat with a wicked glare after a resounding takedown that ended sudden death at North Point in Waldorf.
The win regained momentum for Damascus, adding three points to an eventual 37-28 victory for the Hornets.
“I’m so excited,” Wilkerson said during the trophy ceremony. “The coaches are telling me that I won the state for both of the matches.”
Wilkerson’s win earlier in the day clinched the semifinal for Damascus, which then forfeited its last three matchups of the 33-30 win over North Point.
Against Urbana, the defending dual meet champions, Wilkerson’s win plugged what could have been a seeping wound for the Hornets. Damascus won the first six bouts, but then dropped three straight before Wilkerson’s heroics.
Johnny Fischer (152) set a torrid tone when by scoring a technical fall in the first bout. Logan Brooks (160) pinned his opponent with 18 seconds remaining in the first period of the second match, and then Ari Cacopardo added another technical fall.
Mike Vernelson (182) accounted for Urbana’s first individual points of the championship with a second-period escape from Caleb Baisden, a senior captain for Urbana. Baisden fought Vernelson for a tight 6-2 win, and Urbana remained scoreless as a team.
Fellow seniors George Vinson (220), who will play football at Appalachian State after graduation, and Michael Scafate added consecutive pins to put Damascus up 31-0.
“Those guys are seniors. They’re leaders,” Coach John Ferguson said.
“I went up to them before they were freshmen. I said look, ‘If you guys come we’ll build this team around you.’ And we’ve done it. They left a great legacy at Damascus.”
Urbana’s Nick Kellar (285) pinned his opponent for the Hawks’ first win of the day.
Jake Makosy (106) won a decision, and his brother Tyler Makosy (113) notched a pin to give Urbana hope of winning, but Wilkerson’s win stopped the momentum.
Cory Obendarfer (132) won by decision to clinch the championship for Damascus. After the final, a group of uniformly bleach-blonde Damascus wrestlers tackled their coach and piled on with glee.
In 2A/1A action, top-seeded Winters Mill defeated Glenelg, 35-30, on 170-pounder Chase Cullison’s last-second pin in the final match of the day.