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Wrapping up the Maryland wrestling season

Let's take a look back at the season that was in Maryland public school wrestling, complete with everything that didn't make it in the print edition story on the state tournament this weekend.

Could there have been a more perfect matchup in the 125-pound final than Adam Krop and Tyler Goodwin?

When Goodwin scored a quick takedown in the first period it appeared as though Arundel’s aggressive sophomore might have the upper hand. Known for his tilt-moves and fondness of technical falls, Goodwin is a smooth wrestler with a bit of a mean streak and Krop admitted he was apprehensive before the match began.

“I was kind of kicking myself saying ‘Adam, it’s ok to be a little confident,’ I was definitely nervous and respectful of his talent,” Krop said. “He’s easily the toughest opponent I’ve had to face in four years at the state tournament. I just capitalized on my experience…I knew if I kept my head and stayed patient that I’d have a chance to win.”

Early into the third period Krop got his chance, scoring on a reversal that put the score at 4-3. The Princeton-bound senior held on to that lead for the victory, becoming the first three-time state champion from Frederick County.

While the 125-pound match may have brought together two of the area’s most dynamic wrestlers, the most dramatic final bout came at 140.

Old Mill’s gritty junior Ron Vaughters was in firm control, up 8-3 with just 12 seconds remaining in the third period when he slammed La Plata’s Nick Romero. The Warriors’ senior lay on the mat for more than three minutes, and Vaughters threw his headgear and punched the mat in frustration as he waited to see if the move would cost him his second state title.

If a wrestler is called for an illegal slam and the opponent cannot finish the match, the former is disqualified. As a sophomore at Mount Mat Madness, Vaughters lost a match when he was disqualified for slamming Urbana’s Peter Tatanish.

Although athletic trainers instructed Romero to not try to wrestle, he told the La Plata coaches he wanted to get up and that he didn’t want to win that way. When Romero stood up and the clock started, Vaughters hugged him until time expired thankful for his opponent’s act of sportsmanship.

“It takes a real man to do that,” Vaughters said. “I would have done the same thing. If they’re beating me out there I’m not going to take someone’s title away.”

Romero received the loudest ovation of the night among 4A/3A competitors first when he stood up and again when his name was announced as the second-place finisher. He finished the year 28-8.

It’s been an enjoyable ride watching Tyler’s older brother Frankie Goodwin take on the Maryland public schools this season. An incredibly fluid wrestler, Maryland-bound Frankie Goodwin finished 37-1, and his lone loss came by disqualification in the Ray Oliver Invitational final when he was called for an illegal move.

His 12-0 major decision over Magruder’s Jordan Tolbert was his first MPSSAA title, but he captured both the Maryland Independent Schools state title and MIAA title in 2009 while at Mount St. Joseph.

I’ve written a lot about Reservoir in the past few weeks, as the Gators made program history by winning their first-ever Maryland duals title, tournament title and Mark Colabucci (145) claiming the first individual crown as well. It’s been quite a run ever since the regular season resumed after the region’s various snow storms – all told Reservoir went five for six out of the possible team titles they could have won this season.

After Colabucci capped his perfect 44-0 season, I asked Coach Ryan Kanaskie when he realized how much determination and potential the gregarious junior had. For Colabucci, he knew winning a state title wasn’t a pipe dream after he beat Vaughters in the 4A/3A East region duals.

“I saw him in the room and we knew we had a couple good kids early on, started working with them a bit more and it didn’t take too long until we knew that we had something special in him,” Kanaskie said. “But it’s hard to know how far that will go, getting in the right weight class, wrestling the toughest kids and just getting yourself mentally prepared. For Mark it really fell into place and when the big matches came up he was ready for it. A lot of kids will shrink when they get into the big atmosphere, but Mark relishes these situations.”

One of the biggest surprises of the state finals came when Seneca Valley’s Bernard Wolley upset defending state champion Mwanza Wamulumba of Meade with a 5-3 sudden victory. After forcing overtime, he scored a takedown on the edge of the mat with three seconds remaining in the first overtime period.

“I never could have imagined this,” said Wolley, a junior who finished the season 33-2. “My coaches and everyone who supported me just told me to be confident out there and I have to thank them. I’m not the biggest guy or the fastest guy by any means. People look at me, little with short legs, and think they can pick on me but I don’t give up easy.”

North County’s two-headed monster in the upper weights, Pat Downey (171) and Pat Carey (189), put state titles on top of their perfect seasons. It was Downey’s second Maryland title after he won the 2A/1A title at 160 pounds last year for Loch Raven.
Conversely Carey, who finished as 189-pound runner up for two straight years, finally captured the elusive championship with a 5-3 decision over Whitman’s Taylor Leighton.

“I couldn’t come here three times and leave with silver,” Carey said. “He was different, doing stuff nobody’s done to me really. He was putting me in a kamora tying me up…he was just funky. He was stronger than I thought, I think I underestimated him thinking that he looked a little weaker when he was warming up.”

In two seasons, Centennial sophomore Nathan Kraisser has established himself as one of the most dominant wrestlers in the area. He left no room for doubt as he maintained complete control in a performance that sealed his second straight Maryland title, wrapping up a 38-2 season. Kraisser is 75-2 in his pair of high-school campaigns and there aren’t many who would be surprised if he adds another crown in 2011.

Final results

103: Alex Polonsky (Wilde Lake) 11-6 dec. over Brant Leadbeter (Northern)
112: Nathan Kraisser (Centennial) 14-1 maj. dec. over Shaun Murphy (Perry Hall)
119: Parke Overmiller (Magruder) 7-2 dec. over Cameron Kirby (River Hill)
125: Adam Krop (Urbana) 4-3 dec. over Tyler Goodwin (Arundel)
130: Frankie Goodwin (Arundel) 12-0 maj. dec. over Jordan Tolbert (Magruder)
135: Tanner Wrublik (Tuscarora) won by fall in 1:58 over Salaman Riddell (Old Mill)
140: Ron Vaughters (Old Mill) 8-3 dec. over Nick Romero (La Plata)
145: Mark Colabucci (Reservoir) 5-3 dec. over Connar Zimmerman (La Plata)
152: Martez Allen (Leonardtown) 3-1 dec. over Mike Mullens (Reservoir)
160: Zeke Gammill (Damascus) 3-2 dec. over Reed Neubaum (Quince Orchard)
171: Pat Downey (North County) 6-4 dec. over Chris Urps (Chesapeake)
189: Pat Carey (North County) 5-3 dec. over Taylor Leighton (Whitman)
215: Bernard Wolley (Seneca Valley) 5-3 sudden victory over Mwanza Wamulumba (Meade)
285: Taylor Gload (Hereford) won by fall in 3:11 over Josh Hamilton (Reservoir)

By Katie Carrera  |  March 8, 2010; 3:51 PM ET
Categories:  Wrestling  
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