County wrestlers have success this season
Published by The Enterprise
By JOHN NISWANDER
For St. Mary’s Ryken second-year wrestling head coach Philip Brown, the 2019-2020 season was a step towards building a winning program for years to come.
Brown helped lead the Knights to the program’s first-ever Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament team championship at St. Mary’s Ryken High School on Feb. 1.
“To win the conference, it was really important as far as building a tradition and a winning philosophy,” Brown said. “We know we’re moving in the right direction.”
St. Mary’s Ryken, which finished the regular season at 19-2 overall and 8-0 in WCAC meets, claimed first place with 220.5 points. St. John’s of Washington, D.C., last season’s tournament champions, finished second this season with 198 points.
“It was great to win,” Brown said. “We couldn’t have done it without the support here of the school being phenomenal, from the administration to the athletic department. It was a big team effort from everyone at the school.”
The Knights had nine wrestlers competing in the 14 championship matches, and five prevailed to place first: freshman Mason Buckler (106 pounds), junior Chris Albo (113), junior Tyriel Jefferson (120), senior Blake Jury (132) and sophomore Kaylen Perez (220).
“We wrestled well as a team this season,” Jury said. “We told everyone at the beginning [of the WCAC tournament] that this was going to be a team effort. We all showed up to wrestle and it went well.”
In the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference, Great Mills freshman Jocelyn Cacek made history by becoming the first female wrestler in SMAC and school history to capture a state title after claiming the 225-pound crown at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro on March 7.
“It was exciting to know that I was the first SMAC girls wrestler to win a state title,” said Cacek after the winning the state title. “It really hit me when I got up on the podium and got my medal. Coming in here as a freshman, I never expected anything like this to happen.”
Other wrestlers in the county may have been denied a state title this season, but still managed to have strong campaigns.
Chopticon junior Greg Griffith completed an outstanding season with an overall record of 43-2. Griffith was crowned the SMAC tournament champion at 170, but fell in the Class 4A-3A South Region tournament and in the 4A-3A state tournament to Huntingtown’s Josh Stokes. Griffith lost by a combined three points in his only two losses of the season after topping Stokes during the SMAC tournament final and in the regular season.
Chopticon sophomore Trey Kratko and senior Garry Gorham each claimed a Class 4A-3A South Region tournament championship at 120 and 195, respectively.
A quartet of wrestlers from Leonardtown captured SMAC tournament crowns: senior Sean Vosburgh (120), senior Brian Bieshelt (132), junior Finn Eskeland (145) and senior Joe Stanalonis (285).
Trevon Jordan of Great Mills completed his junior season with a 34-11 record and a SMAC tournament championship at 182. Hornets junior Wilfred Vergara finished his campaign with a 34-8 overall mark for the year which included second-place finishes at 126 in the SMAC and 4A-3A South Region tournaments.
Staff writer Ted Black contributed to this report.
- School News