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Jan. 26, 2008

Wrestling manhandles Watkins Mill

by Andrew Kung, Online Sports Editor and Copy Editor
NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM, Jan. 24

The Blair wrestling team came through with a dominant effort on Thursday night, soundly defeating the outmanned and outmatched Watkins Mill Wolverines at home, 52-18 thanks in large part to four wins by forfeit and powerful performances from Blair's captains.
Senior captain Bereket Kebede pins his opponent in just 14 seconds amid a 52-18 win against Watkins Mill. Molly Brune
Senior captain Bereket Kebede pins his opponent in just 14 seconds amid a 52-18 win against Watkins Mill.

Blair started the night with a commanding 24-0 advantage prior to the first match, as Watkins Mill did not suit up players at every weight class. Seniors Santos Guevara (215), Charles Chikelu (HWT), Raul Medina (112) and Aaron Sacks (103) were each awarded six points for wins by forfeit. According to head coach Jake Scott, having so many automatic wins was somewhat of a rarity. Indeed, Chikelu wrestled and defeated the Watkins Mill heavyweight the last time these two teams were matched up. The 24-point lead was one that the Blazers would not relinquish, allowing just 18 points the entire match.

The highlights of the evening were the dominant performances from senior co-captain Bereket Kebede (157) and junior Alhaji Janneh (171). Both were able to manhandle their opponents early, scoring astounding pins in less than 15 seconds. Kebede's match clocked in at a mere 14 seconds and Janneh won in just 13 seconds. Senior captain Haben Ghebremeschel (140) also won on a pin in the first round.

Junior Kekura Musa (125) started his match strong, but grew tired in round two before regaining his edge in round three and finishing with a hard-fought 7-5 win to earn three points. Sophomore Johni Meeks (135) was in control of his opponent with several early takedowns, but wore down as match went on. Meeks was very close to being pinned as time expired, but managed to escape with a 17-13 win (three points). Junior Miche Ulysse (145) was in control for entire match, leading 5-0 after round 1 en route to a 10-0 shutout win (4 points).
Junior Miche Ulysse managed to pick up his opponent multiple times during his 10-0 win. Molly Brune
Junior Miche Ulysse managed to pick up his opponent multiple times during his 10-0 win.

Senior co-captain Phine Ulysse (160) fought hard in a back and forth match that saw numerous moments of strong play from both wrestlers. He was able to avoid the pin, but eventually lost by a score of 11-4. Freshman Emmanuel Ramirez (119) and sophomore Lam Cao (120) were both overpowered by their Watkins Mill opponents and succumbed to early pins. The last wrestler was Junior Denis Flores (189). In a close match, Flores was up 5-4 after a full-nelson penalty, but his opponent rallied to tie the score at 9-9 before taking the lead for good and prevailing for a 14-9 victory.

Overall, Scott was pleased with the team's performance on Thursday. "The guys really came together and wrestled strong," he said. Scott was particularly impressed by the leadership and strong showings from the captains, Kebede, Phine Ulysse and Ghebremeschel.

But Scott also saw room for improvement. "Honestly, we came out a little flat at times," he said. "Watkins Mill is not the most challenging team." In the future, Scott hopes to score more pins, which are worth more points. "We're going to work on pushing our opponents, wrestling relentlessly," he said. The team will also focus on working with individual wrestlers at specific weight classes, in preparation for their next meet on Saturday, where they will take on Wheaton and Einstein.



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