Aaron Meekins

There are two words that every athlete would love to have next to their name: State Champion. For youth wrestlers, the path to being a state champion starts at the Maryland State Wrestling Association (MSWA) Qualifier. There are four qualifiers around the state based on geographical area. On February 12, three wrestlers from Catoctin Youth Association (CYA) attended the Central/West Qualifier at Northwest High School in Germantown, Maryland. All three of them qualified for the MSWA State Tournament, which will take place March 11-12 at the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury, Maryland.

Ashton Thompson, one of CYA’s eighth-grade leaders who sets a strong example for the younger grapplers on the team with his work ethic and technical skills, took home first place at the qualifier in the 106-pound division. Gracen Baer, a third-grade student athlete from Sabillasville Environmental School won third place at the qualifier in the 63-pound division. Xavier Meekins, a third-grade student athlete from Thurmont Elementary, won first place at the qualifier in the 56-pound division. All three will represent CYA in Salisbury and look to add State Champion to their wrestling resumes.

In addition to CYA being represented at the state level, all the wrestlers are gearing up for the very competitive end-of-season Mid Maryland Wrestling League Championship Tournament that will take place on March 5 at Urbana High School. This year’s team has many talented experienced and new wrestlers that look forward to putting forth strong performances with the hopes of returning to the podium or getting there for the first time. Dan Gable, one of the most famous wrestlers of all time once said, “Gold medals aren’t made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.”

Through the first half of the season, CYA wrestlers have put in the sweat, showed their determination, and showed they have guts. The tournament will be a great chance to put their skills to the test.

CYA Wrestling will finish their regular season with a home match on February 26 at 9:00 a.m. at Catoctin High School against the War Hawks and Maryland School for the Deaf. Please come out and support the team. Concessions are available and admissions are free. It will be their last tune-up before the MMWL Tournament, where they will face off against teams from Washington, Frederick, and Carroll counties. Keep an eye out in next month’s edition of the Catoctin Banner to see how they did.

*Correction/addition to last month’s article: At last year’s 2022 MMWL Tournament, Ashton Thompson placed second in his division at 95 lbs., and Shawn Smith also placed second in his division at 105 lbs.

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