MHS wrestlers pin their first state championship

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On Feb. 13, the Middletown High School wrestling team took home State Championship hardware at the MPSSAA State Dual Meet. Prior to that date, the idea of taking home a State Championship wrestling trophy was lingering on the minds of the MHS wrestlers as they were defeated in the State Championship last year by Oakland Mills High School. This year however, the team captured the first wrestling State Championship in school history by defeating Dunbar High School, 36-25.

A critical piece of that championship puzzle nearly missed out on his chance to make history for MHS.

MHS senior Ed Guerrero was involved in a car accident the day before the State Dual Meet. On his way to school, Guerrero flipped his car when he lost control due to icy road conditions.

“I lost control, I tried to regain control but I couldn’t. I went over a snowbank, flipped my car, then slid across the top,” he said.

Fortunately for Guerrero, he walked away from the accident with minor injuries, enabling him to compete in the State Dual Championship the next day.

“I was a little shaken up by the accident. But what I was most concerned about was being ready for states the next day,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero went 2-0, picking up victories in both the state semifinal and state final matches. Guerrero’s victories gave Middletown the upper hand to defeat Oakland Mills High School in the state semifinal and to defeat Dunbar High School in the state final.

“It’s surreal. All year we have been working to beat the best of the best and we went out there to show the state what Middletown wrestling is. It was a great feeling from last year in which we ended up losing in the finals to this year ending up as the State Champions,” said Guerrero.

Winning their matches in the state final for Middletown were: senior Ed Guerrero, sophomore Ethan Grossnickle, junior Sean Farron, junior Danny Bertoni, sophomore Josh Paige, junior Adam Bain and sophomore Cam Farrow.   

The Knights finish the dual meet season with 30-1 record.

“This is a great team. It is a young team that will be great in the coming years,” Guerrero said.

MHS junior Sean Mullican picked up one win at the State Dual Meet to help MHS capture the state title.

“It was extremely exciting. It still is. We are looking forward to the Individual Championships this weekend,” said Mullican.

Jim Schartner, the MHS wrestling coach, has been coaching wrestling at Middletown for 24 years and has had back-to-back teams qualify for the State Dual Championships.

“It is absolutely awesome,” Shartner said. “It is awesome for everyone involved. It’s awesome to see the process that we started at the beginning of the season pay off. The goal of that process is to have everyone work hard so that at the time of states, our guys are in the best condition possible.”

Looking forward, the MHS wrestling team has County Championships and Individual Championships taking place this weekend at Oakdale High School. On Feb. 19, the JV Championships start at 4 p.m. and on Feb. 20, the Varsity Championships start at 9 a.m.

“We’re going to be out there defending our County Championship title and working to give everyone a run for their money; we’re going to show up ready to fight and wrestle for the full six minutes,” said Guerrero.

Last year Middletown placed four wrestlers on the podium at the end of the individual Championships. This year, they look to increase that number. The first step was accomplished by winning the MPSSAA 1A/2A State Dual Championship. Now the team has their sights set on taking down any individual competition that stands between them and the podium at Oakdale.