Damascus and Springbrook had been in this position before — and the wrestlers were letting the Waldorf crowd know how many consecutive titles they have won. The Swarmin’ Hornets beat Manchester Valley, 42-26, to continue their state dominance with an eighth consecutive crown. Springbrook topped Annapolis, 40-27, to claim back-to-back titles.
“It’s very special,” said Springbrook Coach Rob Whittles, last season’s All-Met Coach of the Year. “Last year, because we had never done it before, it was really cool. Doing it again just kind of solidifies that what we’re doing is the right thing. It’s just as exciting as it was last year.”
For parts of the season, Whittles wasn’t sure his team was healthy enough to return to the state final. But in its regional championship Wednesday, Springbrook (23-3) put together its preferred lineup for the first time.
Among it was Armon Nettey, who didn’t compete for the majority of the season. Montgomery County Public Schools denied the senior’s athletic waiver after he transferred within the county from Sherwood to Springbrook at the start of the school year. Nettey began wrestling again Jan. 30, when MCPS determined he would be eligible after reviewing change-of-residency paperwork.
Springbrook trailed by two points early in the match, but four consecutive wrestlers, including Nettey at 138 pounds, prevailed to power the Blue Devils to victory.
“I’ll remember it forever,” Nettey said. “This is something that barely happens in anybody’s life.”
Damascus is 23-3, but this could be considered an inconsistent season compared with the Montgomery County powerhouse’s typical accomplishments.
By Dec. 14, the Swarmin’ Hornets had won 182 consecutive dual meets, which was the longest active streak and the third-longest ever, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. Then Damascus fell to Virginia power Great Bridge for its first loss since the 2012 playoffs. The Swarmin’ Hornets also lost to South River on the same day.
After the match, Coach John Furgeson put the defeats in perspective. While the winning streak was fun, he said, the team’s goal was to claim the state championship.
“Everybody counted us out,” Furgeson said. “We believed it could happen. We said, ‘We’re not leaving the gym without a state championship,’ and the kids bought into it.”
Damascus and its Carroll County foe were tied at 20 when the Swarmin’ Hornets won two consecutive matches. Then Furgeson’s son, Timothy, clinched Damascus’s crown with a pin in the 220-pound weight class. When Timothy Furgeson walked off the mat, his dad embraced him for a long hug.
“The hugs get tighter every single year,” said Timothy Furgeson, a Villanova football signee.
In the 2A championship match, Glenelg (21-4) fell to Worcester County’s Stephen Decatur, 42-24.