Damascus Wrestling in Search of Fifth Straight Dual Meet State Title
The Damascus wrestling team will be in a familiar position this Saturday when it competes in MPSSAA 4A/3A dual meet state tournament at North Point High School- the Hornets have won the last four MPSSAA dual meet crowns. Combine that with the group's back to back state titles in the MPSSAA individual state tournament, and it'll be difficult to find a stronger wrestling program in the state of Maryland at the moment.
Damascus has been involved in recent weeks with something else along with chasing a fifth straight dual championship- the team has won 125 straight dual meet matches, which is the eighth longest streak ever in high school wrestling according to the National Federation of High School Associations.
It's quite the streak to be a part of, but one that head coach John Furgeson doesn't think his team is being distracted since it was brought to their attention two weeks ago.
"We haven't put much emphasis on the win streak. Our focus has been on getting better as the season progresses," Furgeson said. "As far as a motivator for our kids, they just want to keep the tradition of doing their best all the time. They want to strive to be the best during their time."
For Furgeson, what makes the Damascus wrestling program unique from others is the youth program in the Damascus community. The Hornets routinely receive seasoned wrestlers from the feeder program which are prepared to compete at a high level straight away. This season is no different as Damascus has just four seniors on their roster.
From there, Furgeson and his coaches look to further not only their wrestlers' skills on the mat, but away from it as well.
"We want them to be the best in all that they do," Furgeson said. "Being part of a family and keeping each other accountable and allowing them to pick each other up allows them a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves."
The process has clearly yielded results, and Damascus will look to further extend its dominance in dual meet wrestling this Saturday.
Damascus will look to senior Scott Obendorfer for leadership. The 132-pound competitor is 36-0 this year and to Furgeson, is the ideal leader for any wrestling team.
Beyond Obendorfer, Damascus will also expect excellent performances from a pair of juniors who are 35-1 this seasn- Ryan Lawrence and Paul Evan Purkey. Lawrence, who wrestles at 145-pounds, brings a true physical element to the mat. Purkey is ultra competitive and brings a combination of quick moves and strength to the 182-pound division.
Rounding out the team's top performers this season is sophomore Johnny McLaughlin, a sophomore who is 34-2 in the 120-pound division that Furgeson commended for being unpredictable on the mat.
What makes Damascus a difficult team to compete with though is how relentless its lineup is though. Up and down the lineup the team features wrestlers with excellent record including junior John Allan Furgeson (154-pounds, 30-7), sophomore Elijah Baidsen (195-pounds, 27-4), senior Mikey Bradshaw (220-pounds, 28-4), freshman Timothy Furgeson (160-pounds, 28-5), senior TJ Macklin (113-pounds, 28-6), junior Dyllan Ramirez (126-pounds, 24-12), freshman Silas Patton (106-pounds, 21-6), freshman Aiden Beall (170-pounds, 19-8), junior Josh Creegan (140-pounds, 14-1), and junior Collin Gallagher (140-pounds, 14-2).
As talented as the Hornets' lineup is this season, Furgeson still expects a tough day on Saturday as Damascus will compete with North Hagerstown, Glenelg and Leonardtown for the state title.
"They all have incredible wrestling traditions," Furgeson said of the three other teams left in the 4A/3A state tournament. "Each team is bringing with them great leadership as coaches and wrestlers."
Even though Damascus has enjoyed a lot of success in recent years, it is not lost on Furgeson how difficult it is to win the dual meet state championship. That's why he and his wrestlers are taking nothing for granted.
"We are truly blessed and grateful for the experience," Furgeson said. "One day when we look back we may truly appreciate how phenomenal this is, but right now we are focused on trying to be our best and use our God given talents to the best of our abilities."
|February 10th, 2017||By: Wick Eisenberg|