SMWC Wins Major Club Event

Vineland, NJ
May 15, 1999

Living up to expectations, the Seagull Freestyle Duels May 15th in Vineland, New Jersey, proved to be the toughest club challenge so far this spring. SMWC met the competition head on and came home with both the title, and with bragging rights for the Mid-Atlantic's strongest duel club this year.

Eight top clubs were invited to the event, representing Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Conneticut, New England, and of course, Maryland. As expected, every club was loaded with HS All-Americans, HS State Champs, and Prep School Champs. SMWC was no exception.

Split in two groups of four, SMWC faced always strong Central Jersey (Team Hammer) in its first match. The last time these two teams met head to head in a duel was at the 1992 PV Challenge Cup when Hammer won in the HS age group and lost the kids age group.

SMWC's Rudy Rueda (left) started off with both a loss and injured sholder at 98 lbs. Then SMWC's Clint Parker won handily, Darian Kess lost a tough one at 110 lbs, and Jose Martinez scored a fall at 115 lbs. After that, matches went back and fourth with several close scores. SMWC's Frank Wright (130 lbs), in only his second freestyle match ever, had a super win. Garrett Black (at 141 lbs) and Bryan McDermott (right at 147 lbs) had very tough losses before Kevin Gabrielson lost another hard fought decision, injuring his knee in the process.

Central Jersey seemed to falter after Kevin's match, with SMWC winning handily the next several matches until Akil Patterson (left) faced CJ's National Prep Champion Steve Mocco, one of the nation's best heavyweights. Akil did a great job, moving on the bottom, and preventing Steve from getting a victory by fall or tech fall.

Although SMWC won, the injuries plagued the club in its next wins against Seagulls, a madeup local team, and then Maverick WC in the cross-bracket semi-finals. SMWC had no trouble with any of these clubs, scoring solid victories. A big match took place when Mike Faust, SMWC's National Prep Champ at 215 lbs, faced Maverick's Jon Neve, also a national Prep Champ the next weight below Mike. Mike took control of the match early on and never looked back.

In the finals, SMWC faced Renagades in another of many hard fought battles over the years. Matches again went back and fourth with each team looking tremendous. SMWC's William McKinney pulled out a close win at 120 lbs after trailing most of the match. SMWC's Juan Sanchez had a tremendous backwards supley against his opponent for a touch fall at 125. Frank Wright was hammered at 130 lbs, SMWC forfeited at 135 lbs, then SMWC's Garrett Black (left) at 141 lbs took control and pinned his opponent. This win brought the club back into the running.

Then SMWC lost again at 147 lbs, before Kevin Gabrielson (left) hobbled onto the mat at 154 lbs. to try to put SMWC ahead.

Kevin faced one of Renegades best, and met the challenge with a major victory. Renagades still had a couple more big cards to play and they did agianst SMWC's Jerome Ollavere at 165 lbs and Omari Patterson (right at 175 lbs), who had a wild match but tech fall loss. That was about all they could muster. SMWC's CJ Muno suffered SMWC's final loss at 195 lbs, before SMWC's Mike Faust and Akil Patterson accepted forfeits.

The match was very close and final scores were re-calculated several times. After the smoke finally cleared, SMWC held a one point margin, and bragging rights for the season. SMWC was coached by Bruce Gabrielson and Roy Hill. Shown below are SMWC Coaches Bruce Gabrielson and Roy Hill holding the first place plaque.

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