The Severna Park wrestling team celebrated senior night at home against South River on January 30 and offered glimpses of a handful of Falcon wrestlers who are likely to challenge for the county at the Anne Arundel County championships on February 15 and 16.
The Seahawks improved to 25-4 overall with a 46-23 victory over the Falcons in a hard-earned win featuring competitive matches throughout most weight classes.
Severna Park coach Trevor Bryden said the Falcons are tracking toward personal-best performances at counties, regions and states.
“We’ve got guys that have a lot of talent and potential, and we’re looking to take advantage of that,” said Bryden. “We’re looking to be peaking at counties and after that.”
After South River took a 6-0 lead with a first-round pin by Mason Smith of Andrew Trull in the 106 bout, Severna Park’s Jack Chadwick battled Nolan Lunsford at 113. Chadwick led 3-2 in the second round when he wrapped Lunsford up and nearly scored a pin, but Lunsford was saved by the bell as the round’s two minutes expired. Lunsford came back with an escape and a takedown in the third round to notch a 5-3 decision and put South River up 9-0.
Ty Daniels continued his strong season at 120 for Severna Park, winning an 8-0 major decision over South River’s Jamison Ballard despite receiving a battered and bloody nose that needed attention and bandaging in the second round. South River led 9-4.
South River’s Benjamin Robertson pinned Severna Park’s Gavin Cheesman at 126, and the Seahawks’ Joab Patino defeated Matthew Thompson 13-4 at 132. South River’s Michael Byers accepted a forfeit at 138, and the Seahawks led 25-4.
Severna Park’s Griffin Strickler made swift work of his opponent in the 145 matchup, pinning Justin Richards to gain six points for the Falcons. South River’s Wesley Corkran responded with a first-round pin of Jimmy Hopper at 152 to up the Seahawk lead to 31-10.
Severna Park forfeited at 160 to avoid South River’s reigning county champion, Trenton Puccinelli, instead sending Michael Hamlett up a weight class to wrestle South River’s James Purnell at 170. Hamlett rose to the challenge, taking his shot late in the first round and catching Purnell in a cradle to end the bout with a pin.
“Going into it, I figured he’s a tall kid, so I didn’t want to tie up too much, but basically just going through what we’ve been doing in practice, keep moving, keep shooting. Eventually I started on top, and cradles are my thing, so I just went into and got it done,” said Hamlett, who usually wrestles at 160 and who improved to 17-10 on the season. In the stacked 160 weight class in Anne Arundel County, he still likes his chances for a deep run at counties, region qualification and beyond. “I like to go into every match thinking I’m going to win it,” Hamlett said. “I think if I put in the effort I can go far in counties. The goal is to make it to states as always, so that’s what I’m shooting for.”
Severna Park’s Ron Schilpp fought admirably against South River’s Sam Hicks at 182 but couldn’t quite keep the Falcon momentum going. The pair went the full three rounds and were evenly matched, tied at 3-3 with 45 seconds left, but Hicks scored a late reversal to win a 5-3 decision, and South River led 40-16.
Ty Broadway got Severna Park back on track with a 9-0 decision over Kevin Lippincott at 195. Broadway, a sophomore, has been a major bright spot for the Falcons this year, and he improved to 25-2 with his win over Lippincott.
Connor Bowes nearly had his senior night marred just seconds into his 220 bout with South River’s Niko Nolte, as Nolte caught Bowes out of position and took him to the mat, threatening a pin. Bowes freed himself and battled back into the match.
“He caught me in a hip toss and I spent like a minute on the bottom,” said Bowes. “Eventually I got out.”
He still trailed 4-3 entering the third round, but he tied the match with an escape and got a takedown in the final minute to win a 6-4 decision over Nolte and improve to 24-3 on the season.
Ask of his confidence level with counties fast approaching, Bowes did not mince words:
“I plan to win counties.”
In the heavyweight matchup, reigning 3A/4A state champion Ka’Ron Lewis was a formidable opponent for Severna Park’s Connor Saladin. Saladin fought through the first round before Lewis secured a pin in the second round to end the dual.
With the county championships set for February 15 and 16 at Arundel, the Falcons have a handful of contenders for county crowns. Bowes, Broadway, Saladin and Chadwick all made the finals of the Severna Park Scuffle home tournament in January. The Falcons are hoping to get their top individuals through to the region tournament later in February.
“One of the advantages here in the next couple weeks, if we can fix some small things, some guys will really benefit from that,” said Bryden. “We’ve got some guys that if we can give them a little bit of individual attention and focus, we think they can go a long way.”