GDS Wrestling Wins Its First MAC Championship

The wrestling team poses for a group photo after winning the MAC tournament. Photo by Ben Hellman.

On Feb. 2, GDS won its first ever MAC Duals Wrestling Championship at the Potomac School, winning all four of its bouts. Saint James finished in second place. 

The competition was between five schools and took place over five rounds. Each school played one other in each dual and participated in four of the five rounds. In every dual, two wrestlers were sent to the mat to compete for their weight class. If only one school had a wrestler in the weight class, they won by forfeit. 

Matches that ended in a forfeit or pin gave six points to the winning team and zero to the losers. Matches that finished without a pin added either three, four or five points to the winning team’s score depending on the margin of victory and gave nothing to the losing team.

In the first dual, GDS faced off against Sidwell. The Hoppers began with quick pins by freshman Drew Lamel and senior and team captain Henry Tucker. The team then finished with match wins by junior William Edwards, senior Hayden Martz and freshman Paolo Imbroscio. GDS won 60–19. 

“I was very happy with mine,” Lamel said when reflecting on his match. “I got a pretty good pin pretty early. My opponent was not very good against the cradle, which was one of my stronger moves.” 

Though freshman Tyler Smallwood lost his match, he was able to highlight bright spots in his performance. “I was very proud of myself for not getting pinned,” he said. “But I felt like I could have done better if I had took some more shots—played some more offense.”

GDS had a bye during the second dual, and took advantage of the time off by using it to regroup for the rest of the tournament. After a lengthy bout between Saint James and Potomac, GDS resumed play against Saint James. After junior Adam Harris was pinned in the first match, GDS won all but one non-forfeited match, once again scoring 60 points in a 60–23 victory. 

“I got a good throw, took him to the mat, and I pinned him with an arm bar relatively quickly,” said freshman Beck Holtzman, who notched a pin against a Saint James wrestler in the third dual.

GDS faced its stiffest challenge against St. Andrew’s, losing two of their three matches. However, the two losses didn’t set GDS back in a significant way. St. Andrew’s had to forfeit eight matches since they didn’t have a wrestler in the requisite weight classes, putting the dual out of reach for the Lions before anyone even wrestled. GDS won the dual 54–18, but without the forfeiture, would have lost 12–6. 

In the final dual, GDS played tournament host Potomac for the title of MAC duals champions. GDS won its first six matches by pin, despite falling behind on points in many of the matches. 

Sophomore Alex Marchand, in one of the most eventful matches of the tournament, went back and forth with his opponent before scoring an escape, takedown and eventual pin down 10-8. 

“I pulled a reversal on the guy,” Marchand said. “I pushed his head down and put him in a half [nelson], and he was trying to fight against it, but I just sunk in as deep as I could. I pushed my body weight against him.” 

In a string of four matches in the middle of the game, Smallwood and sophomore Luis Martinez both won by forfeit, as did two Potomac wrestlers, due to weight classes of the wrestlers not lining up. As the Hoppers scored pin after pin, on the GDS sideline, it became evident that they had the duals championship clinched. GDS wrestlers jumped out of their seats to cheer on their team in the last few matches and hugged in celebration after each point of victory. After a win by Harris and a loss by senior Anoush Keinath-Ismael, GDS wrapped up its first MAC wrestling title in school history. 

While most fans had filed out of the Chester Gym by the end of the tournament, the team was ecstatic, celebrating in a nearby room and coming out to pose for a triumphant photo. For the first time in history, the MAC wrestling duals championship banner lay in the hands of the Hoppers. 

CLARIFICATION (Feb. 6): A previous version of this article did not specify in certain paragraphs that GDS won the MAC duals championship, different from the MAC wrestling championship scheduled to be contested on Feb. 10. The duals championship consists of head-to-head matchups between teams in the league; the second championship event is scored based on individual winners.

CORRECTION (Feb. 6): A previous version of this article erroneously referred to the school Saint James as St. James.