Kent County’s Ford crowned Holiday champ; Sutton takes 3rd

WORTON — Kent County sophomore Scottie Ford picked up his second tournament title in as many weeks, and remained unbeaten, after heading the 138-pound bracket of the Dec. 15-16 Kent Holiday Tournament.

Ford defeated William Penn Charter School’s Lucas Weinstein in the championship bout, 9-4, after taking the lead for good with an early second-period reversal that broke a 4-4 tie.

The tournament format was two pools with eight wrestlers in each pool. The top two wrestlers from each pool advanced to the semifinals, with winners going to the championship round and losers going to the consolation finals.

The third- and fourth-place wrestlers from each pool were entered in a four-wrestler bracket to determine places five through eight.

Ford finished 7-0, which included a 36-second pin of Weinstein in the fourth round.

The difference in the two matches with Weinstein?

“He just learned a couple of my moves,” Ford, who will be 16 next month, said in an interview immediately after his championship match.

Ford was the runner-up last year at 132.

Since then he has grown about 4 inches and bumped up a weight class.

Ford rarely was tested in this year’s tournament, winning five bouts by technical fall in addition to the pin to advance to the championship round. He attributed his success to “hard work and practice.”

One of those tech falls came in the semifinals, where Ford schooled Archbishop Curley senior Carlos Rodriguez, 21-5.

Curley, a private all-boys school in Baltimore, totaled 451.5 points to lead the 16-team field.

William Penn Charter School of Pennsylvania placed second in the team standings with 412.5 points.

Forest Park (325), Northeast-Anne Arundel (309) and Queen Anne’s (308) rounded out to the top five.

Tournament host Kent County was 10th with 167 points.

That’s a very credible showing for the shorthanded Trojans, who filled only five of the 14 weight classes and lost one of their standout wrestlers to medical forfeit in the fourth round.

Senior Brady Sutton (5-2) was third at 144 pounds, freshman Landon Merritt (2-3) was seventh at 126, and Ethan Clark and Anthony Wilson (2-4) were eighth at 150 and 175, respectively.

Sutton had the unfortunate draw of two of the best wrestlers in the tournament, Beau Schmidt of Northeast and Rohan “RJ” Bucknor of the Bullis School of Potomac, who would go on to place one-two. Schmidt was the Class 1A/2A state runner-up last year at 132, while Bucknor placed sixth in the Maryland independent schools state championships.

Sutton was 4-0, with all four wins by fall, before he lost a 10-3 decision to Bucknor in the last of the seven rounds on day two of the tournament.

Sutton also lost on points to Schmidt in the semifinals, but wrestled back to win his consolation final against James Lamana of Elkton.

Schmidt, who pinned Ford last year to win the 132-pound title, defeated Bucknor, 11-0, in this year’s 144 final.

The Holiday Tournament, now in its 50th year, marked the high school debut for Merritt, who is a second-generation KCHS wrestler.

Wilson had his first taste of the 175-pound weight class, where the action is a little faster than the 190 and 215 weight classes that he has been accustomed to.

And Clark was just getting started when he was forced to withdraw due to injury. He defeated Northeast’s Caleb Monahan by an 11-0 major decision in the first round and then stuck William Penn Charter School’s Hugh Maley early in the third period of their second-round match.

KCHS coach Chris Yiannakis told The Evening Enterprise in an email that Clark injured his shoulder in his second match, “doing what a wrestling mentality builds you to do — he pushed past his limits and defeated his opponent. … It means we lose him for a while to recovery.”

***

In the junior varsity tournament, Kent County’s Nate Daley (3-2, two pins) and Cody Cummings (3-2, two pins) placed third at 118 and 145 pounds, respectively, and Aidan Butler was sixth at 158.

In the girls tournament, Kent County freshman Rhilynne Ashley-Pinder went 1-1 at 115 with a 37-second pin of her Queen Anne’s opponent.

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