(March 6, 2015) Sophomore Andy McKahan and junior Brett Kim will represent Stephen Decatur during the 4A/3A state wrestling tournament, SATURDAY AND MONDAY, at Cole Field House on the University of Maryland-College Park campus.
McKahan and Kim will compete in the championship meet because of their top four finishes during the 4A/3A South Regional tournament last Saturday at Henry A. Wise High School in Prince George’s County. The competition was originally scheduled to be a two-day event, but several schools were closed last Friday due to icy road conditions.
McKahan captured his second regional title, by winning the 126-pound weight class division.
He earned a technical fall (16-0) victory over Eleanor Roosevelt’s Smair Salih in the first round. McKahan edged out Henry A. Wise’s Deontrae Callaham 2-1 in the semifinals. The sophomore earned a 5-1 decision over Jacob Wood of Huntingtown to win the title.
“I wrestled well. I just need to finish my shots,” McKahan said. “I need to not look [ahead] to my next match.”
Kim scored a technical fall (16-0) victory over Eleanor Roosevelt’s Eugene Latson in the first round of the 160-pound weight class. He lost to LaPlata’s David Pipes 9-4 in the second round.
Despite rolling his ankle in his match-up with James M. Bennett’s Louis Bernard, he logged a 14-4 major-decision win. Kim fell to Chopticon’s Josh Rackey 3-0 to finish in fourth place.
“I thought I did pretty good getting fourth. If I didn’t hurt my foot, I think I would have done better,” he said. “I worked hard throughout the tournament. I was happy to place and to go to states.”
The top four grapplers in each weight class advanced to the state tournament.
“They’re peaking at the right time so it will be fun to watch,” Martinek said of McKahan and Kim.
Decatur senior TJ Scafone (120), junior Tyler Vansice (145) and sophomore Ean Spencer (220) placed fifth in their respective regional weight classes. Senior Jeremiah Purnell finished sixth in the 132-pound division.
Decatur took fifth overall out of the 26 schools represented at regionals.
“They all placed higher or even with what they were seeded so they all kind of overachieved, but at the same time, only sending two kids to states is kind of frustrating when you take three fifths. Those kids were one match away and they were in those matches,” said Decatur Coach Todd Martinek. “I knew coming in where we were seeded was going to be tough to get guys through and it was tough. I think we wrestled well and I’d like to take more kids to states so it was a little bit of happiness and a little bit of disappointment together.”
Martinek said he likes where McKahan is positioned in the state bracket.
“Andy is in a really good spot. I like his match-ups the first couple of matches. I think they’re very winnable,” Martinek said. “I like where he’s at to place, and if things go right, he could win it.”
McKahan said he needs to focus and “just wrestle my match” and not think about what his opponent is going to do.
Last year, McKahan placed third in the 113-pound weight class division at states.
“I have a fourth seed from another region [in the first match] and it will set me off for the rest of the tournament,” McKahan said. “I feel good about [the competition]. I got a few tough kids, a good freshman [Aaron Brooks] on my side.”
Kim has a tougher draw. With a fourth-place finish at regionals, he will battle a regional champion in the first round, Travis Chidebe of Meade High School, the 4A/3A East 160-pound winner.
“He’s got the defending state champ in the first round. That’s a tough match-up, but Brett’s going to be all about trying to fight back through [the bracket] and place,” Martinek said. “He’s certainly wrestling well enough to do that.”
To be successful, Kim said he needs to “work hard throughout my whole match and do my best.”
“I’m not really nervous. I’m just looking forward to learning from the experience and the really good wrestlers that are there,” he said.