Middletown High School’s wrestling team needed to be perfect if it wanted a shot at knocking out top-seeded Winters Mill in the semifinal round of Wednesday’s Class 2A/1A West Region Duals. But the Knights were far from it.
The fourth-seeded Knights lost the match’s first nine bouts and never recovered en route to a 48-17 loss in Westminster.
“I don’t think we wrestled well as a team,” Middletown coach Jim Schartner said. “We wrestled decently. But they’re a very good team, you got to do better than decent.”
The Knights didn’t win their first match until more than halfway through the dual meet when Tyler Hishimoto defeated Kyle Fisher 9-6 in the 120-pound weight class. Hishimoto’s win was followed by victories from Greg Cox (8-6), Hayden Roberts (15-0) and captain Matt Capobianco, who pinned Winters Mill’s Jimmy Guercio in the 138-pound weight group.
The Falcons earned the top seed by finishing 14-0 in the regular season and played the part from start to finish. Malik Randall (195), Jake Utz (285), Taylor Logue (113), Wes Cook (145) and Cody Sharkey (152) each had pins in the victory.
“This region is probably one of the best regions in the state,” Schartner said. “So what you see here is what you’re going to see at the state level.”
It was the second consecutive year Winters Mill knocked out Middletown in the regional duals. Last season, it spoiled Middletown’s first ever postseason appearance, defeating the Knights 38-28.
Several Middletown wrestlers could make runs in the upcoming individual competitions, including Capobianco, who finished second in the state last year.
“He’s working to get better. He has a couple things he knows he has to get better at. When he meets the top level guys, he’s got to be able to [execute],” Schartner said.
Roberts and Cox could also perform well over the next three weeks.
But Schartner is not looking ahead to the individual tournaments quite yet.
“At this point, we still have team competition. As a team, we need to be more aggressive, we need to attack, we need to finish what we get into. That’s where we as a team need to go,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve wrestled our best match yet this year. Our best match is still ahead of us.”
Winters Mill 48, Middletown 17
160: Arizona Oxendine (WM) d. Tucker Ziegler, 9-4
170: Cole Myers (WM) d. Derek Bain, 9-2
182: Chase Cullison (WM) rec. forfeit
195: Malik Randall (WM) f. Jesse Gladhill, 2:14
220: Ryan Hightower (WM) d. Blake Lincoln, 9-4
285: Jake Utz (WM) f. Alex Chung, 3:39
106: Flavio Valdez (WM) d. Josh Grossnickle, 4-3
113: Taylor Logue (WM) f. Brennan Lincoln, 1:43
120: Tyler Hishimoto (M) d. Kyle Fisher, 9-6
126: Greg Cox (M) d. Chris Rose, 8-6
132: Hayden Roberts (M) t.f. Neal Rinker, 15-0
138: Matt Capobianco (M) f. Jimmy Guercio, 1:54
145: Wes Cook (WM) f. Andrew Clearwood, 2:58
152: Cody Sharkey (WM) f. Cody Stroop, 1:15