COLLEGE PARK, Md. —While wrestling might soon be gone from the Olympics, the energetic atmosphere Friday at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House showed that the sport is still very much alive in the high school ranks.
Nearly 450 wrestlers were in action during Day 1 of the Maryland state tournament, including 11 from Washington County.
As South Hagerstown coach Thomas Ashby said, there’s nothing quite like the state-tourney environment.
“The crowds are bigger, the cheers are louder and you feel all the eyes on you,” he said.
Nine county wrestlers are still alive in their brackets, including one in the title hunt.
Williamsport senior Nick Miller won both of his matches in dominant fashion Friday to advance to Saturday’s championship semifinals in the 106-pound weight class in Class 2A-1A. He pinned Patuxent’s Stanley Pressley in 42 seconds in the quarterfinals after pinning Bohemia Manor’s Cody Trybus in 52 seconds in the first round.
“I’m just trying to get them out of the way quick,” Miller said.
In the semifinals, he’ll face Catoctin’s Garrett Buckley, whom he’s 2-0 against this season. Miller pinned Buckley in the Hub Cup finals in January and then pinned him again last weekend in the West semifinals on his way to the region title.
“Hopefully I’m going to do it again,” Miller said. “But you can’t take anybody lightly, especially at the state tournament. I need to stay on my toes.
“I’m excited to hopefully make it to the finals,” he added, “and then hopefully win it.”
Also for Williamsport, Bryan Davis (126 pounds), Kobe Baker (145), Austin Keadle (195) and Brandon Iseminger (285) each went 1-1 to remain alive in the 2A-1A consolations.
In Class 4A-3A, South Hagerstown’s Isaiah Brooks (106) and Marquil Holt (220) and North Hagerstown’s Gene Balcita (138) and Amont Hawkins (182) also each went 1-1.
The top six finishers in each 16-man weight class earn placewinning spots on the podium.
Ashby said he’s confident that both of his Rebels will place.
“It’s their first time at the state tournament, and they handled the nerves and jitters very well,” he said. “I’ve never seen them wrestle better.”
Of course, Ashby also knows that anything can happen.
“That’s what states is about,” he said. “Anybody here can beat or pin anybody at any given time.”
Smithsburg’s Travis Leopold (195) and Saul Herrera (285) each went 0-2 Friday and were eliminated.
Maryland State Tournament