Liberty's Gervie gets his wish, 8-4

Win helps Lions take Damascus wrestling

Winter sports

High Schools


DAMASCUS -- The last time Liberty's Brandon Gervie faced Hammond's Steve Sessa - in last year's 2A-1A state semifinals - he required overtime to win.

"That wasn't convincing enough to me," said Gervie, the defending 189-pound state champion. "I couldn't wait to do it again."

Gervie got his chance in yesterday's 17-team Damascus Holiday Wrestling Tournament, and his 8-4 victory over Sessa lifted Liberty over Hammond, 210-205, in a tournament victory that was the program's first of such magnitude in nine years under coach Mike Flemming.

Tied at 2 in the third period, Gervie (14-0) used an escape, a two-point takedown and three near-fall points to pull away for his third Damascus crown, his 50th straight win and his 100th career victory.

"There was a lot on the line for our team tonight, and this was the person I wanted to do this against," said Gervie, ranked No. 1 in The Sun. Sessa is No. 5. "I went after him in the third period, was able to put him on his back. I wanted to make sure I won more convincingly this time."

Hammond trailed by 18 points entering the title round, in which it crowned No. 4 Zach Halper (125), Eric Yee (130), No. 6 Jose Maldonado (135) and No. 2 Vince Taweel (140) to pull within a point (206-205) of Liberty.

Halper (11-1) scored two takedowns in his 4-3 victory over Glenelg's fifth-ranked Chris Stinnett (10-1), who won last year's event. Yee (10-2), in his first varsity season, upended last year's champion, Urbana's Justin Kropp, 7-6, in the quarterfinals, and later won, 12-10, in his title bout over Tuscarora's Andrew Hyrkas (13-2).

Maldonado rose to 10-0 with a 12-3 rout of Damascus' Blair Barnhard (9-3), and Taweel to 12-0 with a 3-0 shutout of No. 3 Crit Jennings (12-2), last year's titlist.

"We tried to step up after Devon [Gillett, at 112 pounds] lost," said Taweel, a two-time state champ whose three-year record is 87-6. "I was the only one to win at states last year, but a team title means a whole lot more to me than an individual."

Top-ranked Lew Spadaro (171) of No. 10 Severna Park moved to 10-1 by edging Georgetown Prep's Mike Esposito, 7-4, and Dan Bichner (119) of No. 11 Glenelg rose to 9-2 by scoring two pins and beating two others 14-2.

Mark Tsikerdanos (152) of Tuscarora and Brad Katzenberger (160) of Damascus breezed to their titles.

Arundel Holiday Tournament -- With the help of runner-up finishes from Mitch Fenton (125 pounds) and Joe Green (215), Archbishop Curley had the best showing among Baltimore area schools in the tough tournament, finishing second with 151 points to DeMatha's 176. Broadneck (136), Old Mill (127) and South River (124) followed.

Boys basketball

No. 1 Mount St. Joseph 69, Germantown Academy 51 -- Senior guards Kevin Swecker (17) and Dejuan Goodwin combined for 30 points as the top ranked Gaels (13-0) won their second game in the Benedictine (Va.) Christmas Tournament.

No. 2 Towson Catholic 51, West Salem (Ore.) 38 -- The Owls (11-3) evened their record at 1 in the Les Schwab Tournament in Portland, Ore.

Prep Charter 58, No. 4 Walbrook 55 -- Senior guard Rodney Spruill scored a game-high 27 points, but the Warriors (6-1) couldn't hold off the top-ranked public school team in

Staff reports contributed to this article.

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