At one point during the regular season, Sparrows Point wrestling coach Mike Whisner referred to this as a “rebuilding year.”
One week after repeating as a regional dual champion and again finishing second in the dual-meet state tournament, the Pointers won their second consecutive Baltimore County tournament championship on Friday night/Saturday morning at Perry Hall.
Well, Sparrows Point did lose three county champions and two state champions from last year’s team.
“All 12 wrestlers that we brought placed, and out of those 12, only two are seniors,” Whisner said. “I think this year’s team is just scratching the surface of what they can accomplish.”
Sparrows Point had a 28-point lead entering the finals and cruised to a 226-187 win over runner-up Owings Mills.
Hereford finished third with 136 points, followed by Pikesville (125.5), Lansdowne (110), Eastern Tech (107.5), Western Tech (83), Milford Mill (79), Franklin (74.5) and Dulaney (72.
Patapsco took 19th place with 29 points, while Dundalk finished in 22nd place with 12.5 points.
Four local wrestlers won individual county titles: Richard Davis (113 pounds), Skyler Minutelli (145) and Givoni Herring (182) of Sparrows Point, and Patapsco’s Darius Sprye (138).
(Dylan Budka, a Dundalk resident who attends Kenwood, won the county title at 285 pounds.)
It was the second straight year the Pointers had three individual county champions.
“I thought we had a shot but knew it would be tough because we had two holes in our lineup and Owings Mills had three weight classes that, pretty much barring a major upset, were going to win,” Whisner said. “I didn’t think we had chance to win by a lot; if we won, I thought it would be close and it would be because we wrestled well in the [consolations].
“I was not expecting three champions.”
In addition to the three champions, Sparrows Point had one wrestler finish second (Danny Davis, 126 pounds); four wrestlers finish third: Bryce Schmidt (106), Matt Fouts (120), Luke Hoenig (138) and Lexx Carr (170); one finish fourth: Drew Gorsuch (195); two finish fifth: Mike Fouts (132) and Jake Rallo (160); and one finish sixth: Jake Lure (152).
Richard Davis, seeded fourth, became the first Sparrows Point freshman to win a county title.
Davis pinned top-seeded Ewan Hemmis of Catonsville in the semifinals, then won an 11-1 major decision over Damin Tiller of Owings Mills in the championship match.
Minutelli, seeded second, had to surivive a scary moment in the semifinals when he was illegally body-slammed to the mat byTowson’s Caleb Boyer.
Boyer forfeited, and Minutelli came back to win an 11-3 major decision over Victor Allen of New own.
“I was a little bit shaken up,” Minutelli said. “I had to be cleared by the trainer, but I knew I was going to wrestle in the final.”
The top seed, Herring won his first match with a 52-second pin, followed by an 8-3 decision in the quarterfinals and an 11-5 decision in the semifinals.
Against Diondre Space of Owings Mills in the championship match, Herring built a 4-1 lead with two takedowns in the first period, added an escape in the second period and eventually won 5-3.
Sprye, seeded second, was dominant in all four of his victories. Hr pened with a 14-4 decision, then pinned his next two opponents in 5:28 and 1:14.
In the championship match, Sprye faced top-seeded Chase Andrews of Perry Hall. Andrews had beaten Sprye earlier in the season, but Sprye cruised to a 15-4 victory.
“Last time he caught me in a cradle, almost pinned me, and won by a few points,” Sprye said. “I wrestled patiently this time, used my athleticism to my advantage.
“I wrestled defensively, waited for him to slip up, and took advantage.”
Sprye had four takedowns, and twice puts Andrews on his back.
The tournament was supposed to be held on Friday and Saturday, but a forecast of snow for Saturday led county officials to hold the entire tournament on one day.
The event started around 5 p.m. on Friday and finished shortly after 3 a.m. on Saturday.
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