The Panthers wrestling program assembled its biggest team ever and turned in another strong season this winter complete with an array of team and individual accomplishments.
Almost 70 kids wrestled for the Panthers this season as the organization capitalized on its free mat nights it holds throughout the year to build interest in the program and give wrestlers ample practice time.
Split across two squads, the A and the B team, the Panthers enjoyed extensive success at the county and state level in multiple large wrestling meets. The B team won the team county crown, placing first at the B League Anne Arundel County Championship on February 17 at Arundel High School. The A team placed ninth out of 88 teams in the straight weight category at the Maryland State Wrestling Association Age/Weight State Championships at Showplace Arena over February 23-24, and 12th as a team in age/weight.
Leading the way for the Panthers was the unprecedented title trifecta achieved by Collin Lewis. Lewis, 12, a five-year wrestler with the Panthers, became the first Panthers wrestler to become a straight weight state champion, which he did at 105 lbs. He also won the age/weight state championship as a 12U/105-pounder and was likewise the Anne Arundel County champion at 105 lbs, becoming the first Panther wrestler to achieve those three mantles in a single season. Lewis was 61-2 overall on the season.
Fellow A-teamer Isaac Cicchetti, 8, won the county championship at 60 lbs in the A League Anne Arundel County Championships at South River on March 3, where the Panthers took fifth as a team. Cicchetti also won the Most Outstanding Wrestler award for the tournament — the latter is a first such award for a Panther wrestler. Cicchetti was runner-up in straight weight at states and placed third in age/weight.
Makenzie Cardenas, 8, placed first at states as an 8U/75-lbs wrestler to achieve the distinction of becoming the Panthers’ first-ever female state champion. Cardenas was one of three female wrestlers for the Panthers this season along with Summer Mutschler and Emily Schreiber. Mutschler was third at the county B championships and third at 10U/60 lbs at age-weight states. Cardenas and Mutschler also were able to meet and get a picture with Helen Maroulis, the American wrestler who has won gold medals at both the Olympics and world championships and who is originally from Rockville.
Gavin Lewis, 10, was runner-up at age/weight states at 10U/90-lbs, and he also placed eighth at the county championships. A five-year Panthers wrestler, Lewis went 50-13 on the season.
Bently Schmidt placed third at 8U/65 lbs at age/weight states, and Beau Schmidt was fifth at 10U/85 lbs. Beau Schmidt was also fourth at A team counties and seventh at the straight weight state meet. Blake Jarmer, 13, placed second at the Cougar Challenge at 115 lbs, fourth at A team counties, sixth at 14U/110 lbs at age/weight states, second at age/weight state qualifiers, and was a straight weight states qualifier. Hunter Wargo went undefeated in county matches throughout the season, was runner-up at counties at 50 lbs and runner-up at straight weight states. Landon Szymanski, 9, was runner-up at 55 lbs at A counties and seventh place at the Maryland State Junior League wrestling championship on March 10 at Mount Saint Joseph’s. Wyatt Thompson was fifth at counties at 55 lbs and eighth in the straight weight state competition. Quin Greenstreet (55 lbs), Dylan Ritter (90 lbs) and Cameron Cannaday (96 lbs) all placed sixth at counties. Braddox Pisano (70 lbs) and Logan Harris (100 lbs) placed seventh at counties. River Thompson placed eighth in the A league county championships.
Charlie Mutschler, 9, was county champion at the B county championships, helping the Panthers to the team title. Kyle Moran, 7, placed first in the 8U/70 lbs bracket at the B county championships and finished the season 24-5 overall and atop the podium as county champ. Hunter Singer, 6, was county champion at 57 pounds and also placed first at the Camp Barnes Tournament in Delaware. Dominic Crocetti, 8, was county champion at 8U/60 lbs at the B county tournament. Nathan Ray was also a champion for the Panthers at the B county championships. Dalton Mitchell placed first at counties. Scotty Githens, 14, was county champion as a first-year wrestler in the B county championships’ 14U/107-lbs bracket. Jackson Blauciak, 6, placed first in the 6U/65 lbs bracket at B counties. Trevor Webb progressed steadily throughout the season and got extra practices with the A team before sweeping the competition at B counties to place first in the 80 lbs bracket. Devin Weatherstein, 7, was MSWA Future Champions (Novice) in his first year of wrestling.
David Beatty, 6, won in overtime in the 45 lbs semifinals at the B county championships and finished as the county’s runner-up in helping his team to the championship. Jaksyn Elliott placed second at B counties, and Bryce Schmidt also placed second at B counties. Brooks Singer, 4, placed third in the Matt Morrow Tournament at Northeast in his first year of competitive wrestling. Lucas Barchanowicz placed first at the Bel Air Brawl. Karson Rebstock placed fourth at counties.
Coach Carl Cicchetti spoke proudly of the Panthers’ most successful season so far and said the program continues to grow in strength and number.
“We keep moving in the right direction and getting better and better every year,” said Cicchetti. “I am very proud of my boys and girls for the effort they continue to put forth and can’t wait to see what the future holds for our program.”