As we approach the end of the thirteenth year for Southern Maryland Wrestling Club, it's time once again to review our activities. I look back on our accomplishments this past season with considerable pride. While not our most successful season ever, it can certainly be considered a very good one.
We started practicing the third week of September with about 20 dedicated members for our second year at Riverdale Baptist HS. A small group of only 12 wrestlers attended the first tournament, St Marks in Delaware on September 25th. We had three champions plus several others who placed, and the momentum was generated for a turnout of 35 to 40 members practicing with us before the regular school and club seasons started after Thanksgiving.
During the regular folkstyle season our members wrestled for a variety of clubs and school teams, with many members making their mark at private or public state high school championships and other major tournaments.
Congratulations to our Maryland High School State Champions: Jason Gabrielson, Sidney Billups, Boomer Black, Bryan Paige, Robert Alexander, Tyrone Neal and Billy Phillips. Tyrone also won Eastern Nationals as did junior age group wrestlers Kevin Gabrielson and Rudy Reuda. We had five National Prep Champions (seven of our members made it into the finals). Although we only had two AAU National Folkstyle Champions this year, we 14 place, seven who placed in the top three. In addition, Riverdale HS and MacNamara HS were generous enough to provide vans for our team to attend the AAU folkstyle nationals in St Louis, for which we are extremely grateful.
Spring practices started the end of February, with membership slowly building to 91 members of various ages. After a two year absence, we also had a serious female wrestler again this season. We were fortunate to have three mats available in Riverdale's large gym so we could easily accommodate the large crowds we often drew for practice. Even at the seasons end we still needed two mats for practice, a good indication of the seriousness of those who work out regularly.
For the third straight year we pounded all competition at the MSWA age-weight state folkstyle championships and club championships. We didn't have enough members attend the Maryland freestyle club championships as a team, but several individuals, in particular Ryan Forman, did very well.
Some other interesting notes this season. Long time Hall-of-Fame member and SMWC coach Steve Arslanian finally got married. Steve and another long time coach Eric Lewis helped on a regular basis much of the season. Jake Scott graduated from American U, and along with Craig Herwig, were inducted into our Hall-of-Fame. Jake also lost in the Consolation Finals at the NCAA Championships.
Our practices ended for the season on Thursday, July 13th, with a joint SMWC/Bulldog Wrestling Club workout. Only about 30 members were present, with several away at various events. Some of you attended Cadet, Junior, or AAU Grand Nationals and did well. Our pre-national weekend camp was held July 15-16 before heading to Tulsa for AAU Grand National. If we can get a team together for the Junior Olympics, we may have a practice or two in August. Otherwise, I'll send all dues paying members a card in September when we start up again. Have a good summer.