For the second consecutive season, the head wrestling coach at Catoctin High School (CHS), Ryan Green, was able to match a season-high record for coaching four of his wrestlers to the medal-winning rounds at the Maryland State Wrestling Tournament.
“That’s not a bad thing for this still very young team, a team in transition,” said Green, who has collected 139 dual meet victories and 76 losses during his nine-year shift at Catoctin.
Together, Green and his dedicated assistants, Richard Gialanella, George O’Brien, Tyler White, Garrett Baer, and Brad Maze, have enjoyed great success in the past, including, but not limited to, coaching all but one of the school’s seven state champions and twenty-two individual state medal winners, not to mention the numerous county and regional tournament champions and place winners. Once again, this unique and diverse collection of wrestling knowledge and philosophies has demonstrated why they are considered to be among the premier programs in the state. Last year Green’s freshman wrestlers occupied nine of fourteen varsity weight classes, and this season he had only two seniors in the paper-thin line up and was forced to forfeit four weight classes, giving up 24 points in each match. Despite these odds, the team was still able to win more than 50 percent of their contests, compiling a 14-12 overall dual meet record, with six of those losses falling within the 24-point margin deficit, resulting in the possibility that a 20-6 total might have been attained with a complete squad. The 6-8 regular season dual meet record was also affected, as three of those losses came within the same 24-point shortfall.
Although the club fell from the Maryland State Wrestling Association’s rankings for the first time in four years, slipping from number sixteen as a ranked dual meet team and from being ranked nineteenth overall in the state, they were able to capture an honorable mention bid as a tournament team. Catoctin wrestlers continue to be regarded as hard-charging, well-trained, aggressive and scrappy foes, demonstrated by the impressive results posted at tournaments this season. The Cougars finished in third place, with a record of 5-2 at the Bauerlein Duals. Ethan Fuss, the 106-pound sophomore, was the only undefeated wrestler representing Catoctin in that contest. Freshman Wyatt Payne (138 pounds) and fellow sophomores, Zachary Bryant (113 pounds), Joshua Small (132 pounds), Gage Randall (145 pounds), and Dennis Pittinger (195 pounds), each had only one loss during the two-day event.
Catoctin earned a fifth-place team finish out of a field of twenty tough programs at the 2016 Hub Cup, arguably one of the most competitive tournaments in the state. Zachary Bryant posted a perfect 4-0 showing at 113 pounds and was the team’s only Hub Cup champion. Dennis Pittinger and 285-pound-senior Payne Harrison both placed third, each losing only one match along the way. Joshua Small, Ethan Fuss, 152-pound-sophomore Jarryd Rosenberry, and Wyatt Payne rounded out the remaining medalists, finishing fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth, respectively.
As a team, the Cougar wrestlers were able to post a 3-2 record at their annual home dual tournament. Although the contest saw a reduction in team entries by about half, the Catoctin wrestlers set a record at the tournament. Five individual wrestlers, more than a third of the line-ups athletes registered perfect 5-0 records, the highest number of undefeated Catoctin wrestlers in the history of the tournament. Zachary Bryant, Ethan Fuss, Joshua Small, Ryan Springer, and Payne Harrison were flawless on the day, while 160-pound RJ Monaghan suffered only a single loss.
The Cougars managed to hold on for a fourth-place finish in a field of ten teams, dropping from third last year, at the Frederick County wrestling championships. The Cougars advanced seven wrestlers to the medal rounds and declared two County champions: Ethan Fuss and Payne Harrison. Fuss recorded three first-period pins, two of them in under a minute, en route to his first county title; Harrison collected two pins and a 6-2 finals victory, also claiming his first county title. Zachary Bryant made it to the championship round for the second consecutive year, but lost a tough 9-2 finals match. Dennis Pittinger bested his fifth-place performance of the previous year with a third-place finish. Freshman Wyatt Payne and sophomores, Gage Randall and RJ Monaghan, each secured regional berths by finishing in fourth place. Ryan Springer, the 220-pound senior, and Joshua Small were unable to rise to the placement rounds. However, both wrestlers were able to advance to the regional tournament based on their total seeding points obtained by match victories throughout the season. Jarryd Rosenberry, wrestling in the 152-pound slot, was unable to compete in the county tournament due to illness. He ends his tenth grade season with a 16-15 record.
For the third consecutive year, the Cougars captured a fourth-place finish out of nineteen teams at the 1A-2A West regional championships, arguably the most dominant region in the state. Of the fourteen 1A-2A state champions, eight hailed from the West, as well as thirteen of the twenty-eight finalists. There were thirty-four place-winners representing the region, seven weight classes with three place-winners from the west, six weight classes with two, and only one weight class with a single representative. Furthermore, the last eight team state champions have belonged to that region. Catoctin managed to qualify five wrestlers for the state tournament, including two regional champs, one regional finalist, and two fourth-place medalists. Lightweight Ethan Fuss and heavyweight Payne Harrison both celebrated their first regional title victories. Zachary Bryant lost by decision in finals to an undefeated, soon-to-be two-time state champion. Joshua Small bounced back from an uncharacteristic and uneventful county showing and went 2-2, finishing in fourth place to claim a seed in the state bracket. Also finishing in fourth place and with a record of 2-2, Dennis Pittinger was able to grab his first state tournament bid. Gage Randall, 145 pounds, was eliminated from the competition in a close 4-1 decision ending an impressive sophomore year. He had a 10-4 regular season dual meet record, lost only one match at the Bauerlien Duals (finishing 7-1), and posted wins at the Hub Cup, the Catoctin Duals, and the county and regional tournaments. He bested his freshman record by four wins and earned a Frederick News Post honorable mention bid to the All-County Team. He concludes his season with a 22-15 record and career record of 40-31. Wrestling out of the 160-pound slot, RJ Monaghan continues to improve match by match. He, too, was denied a state tournament seed, with a 6-0 loss in consi’s and finishing 1-2 at regionals. Monaghan had a 9-5 regular dual meet tally, went 4-3 at the Bauerlien Duals, and won four out of five matches at the Catoctin Duals. He posted notable wins at the Hub Cup, and the county and regional championships, earned a Frederick News Post All-County honorable mention selection, and wraps up his sophomore season with a 20-16 record. Freshman Wyatt Payne was unable to advance in the 138-pound weight class at regionals, going 0-2. He won a total of twenty-one matches in his debut season in a very deep weight class, and registered sixteen loses. He was recognized by the Frederick News Post with an All-County honorable mention endorsement. He had a regular dual meet record of 8-6, posted a strong 6-1 showing at the Bauerlien Duals, went 3-2 at Catoctin Duals, and placed eighth in the Hub Cup and fourth in the county tournament. Senior Ryan Springer was also halted in his first regional appearance. He had a regular dual meet record of 5-5, went 5-2 at the Bauerlien Duals, and was undefeated at the Catoctin Duals, posting a perfect 5-0 record. He won matches at both the Hub Cup and the county tournament, received an honorable mention bid to the Frederick News Post All-County Team, and ends his senior year with a 17-11 record.
Once again, the Catoctin wrestling squad occupied a top-ten space in a field of ninety-eight 1A-2A teams, finishing sixth, dropping from fifth the previous year. For the first time in twelve years, the Maryland state wrestling championships took place at a venue other than Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park. Fresh off of winning county and regional titles, and coming in as the top seed at The Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Ethan Fuss made his debut to the state tournament. He quickly overwhelmed his initial opponent with a first-period pin. His second contest was one of more memorable bouts that evening. A total of 22 points were scored in a fast-paced, back-and-forth clash that left spectators on the edge of their seats. When the dust had settled, Fuss had bested his opponent by two points and guaranteed himself a state medal. He lost his semi-finals match by fall then edged out a familiar foe by 6-3 decision. Losing again by fall in consolation finals, Fuss settled for a fourth place finish. The sophomore went 13-1 in dual meet action, was undefeated both at the Bauerlien Duals (5-0), as well as the Catoctin Duals (5-0), and placed fifth at the Hub Cup, winning four matches along the way. He secured Frederick County and regional titles and added three wins and a fourth place finish at the state tournament. Winning 88 percent of his bouts, Fuss was chosen for the Frederick News Post All-County 1st team and enjoys a number fourteen ranking in the state. His outstanding 38-5 season record brings his career totals to sixty-one wins and sixteen losses.
Zachary Bryant made his second appearance at states in as many years, placing fourth last year as a freshman. A heavier Bryant made quick work of his first opponent, winning by fall, and squeaked out a tough 4-2 decision in his next bout. A hard loss by decision in semi’s forced Bryant to the wrestle-backs, where he displayed his signature excitement and unpredictability with a huge 18-5 victory. He lost a saddening 6-4 decision and would settle for a fourth place finish. Bryant concludes his season with a 12-2 dual meet record and a 6-1 showing at Bauerlien Duals. He remained perfect for his first Hub Cup championship, and had an unblemished record at the Catoctin Duals. He placed 2nd at both the county and regional championships, is ranked number nine in the state by the MSWA, and was selected as a first team All-County wrestler by the Frederick News Post. He ends his year with a total of thirty-three wins and seven losses, winning 82 percent of his bouts, and a career total of 68-15.
Rounding out the three sophomores, and no stranger to the tournament, 132 pound Joshua Small also appears among the state competition for the second time in as many years. Small was forced out of the challenge last year, but made strides to better his chances this time around. Bumping up two weight classes and displaying a methodical, conservative wrestling style, Small won his first two matches by decision, 10-4 and 8-4. He lost his next bout against a defending two-time, and soon to be three-time, state champion. Two more losses by decision placed Small solidly in fifth place. A 10-4 regular dual meet total, a 6-1 finish at the Bauerlien Duals, a fourth place finish at the Hub Cup, and an undefeated 5-0 showing at the Catoctin Duals propelled him to a Frederick News Post All-County 2nd team nomination. He is currently ranked twenty-first in the state and ends his season with a 31-13 record and a career mark of 60-26.
Weighing 182 pounds as a freshman, Dennis Pittinger occupied the 220-pound spot this year and qualified for his first trip to states by placing fourth in the regional tournament. Pittinger lost his opening match by a 3-0 decision and his second match by a very narrow 3-2 margin, eliminating him from the tournament. However, Pittinger has an extraordinary sophomore season, winning twelve of fourteen regular season dual meets, going 6-1 at the Bauerlien Duals, and posting a 4-1 record and a third-place finish at the Hub Cup. He was unable to participate in the Catoctin Duals due to a concussion, but had a pair of victories in both the county and regional tournaments where he placed third and fourth, respectively. He earned a Frederick News Post All-County 2nd team nomination, had a winning percentage of 71 percent during the season with a record of 25-10, and sports a career total of 47-23.
Senior Payne Harrison made his second foray to the big stage. As a junior, Harrison was denied a trip to the podium, narrowly missing the placement rounds by a single point, but finishing 2-2. This year, however, things would be much different for the bigger, stronger, and more polished 285-pounder, occupying the number one seed. Out of the gate, Harrison stunned his first opponent, and the crowd, with a 36-second fall. He triumphed in his next two bouts, winning both by decision and propelling him to a finals match-up against an undefeated challenger. The outcome was disheartening, as Harrison was scoreless in a 6-0 loss, settling for a second place finish. The state finalist enjoyed a phenomenal senior year with an undefeated, 14-0 regular season dual meet record, as well as an undefeated 5-0 Catoctin Duals record. He posted a strong 5-1 showing, wrestling through the consolation bracket after suffering a second-round loss and earning a third place medal in the Hub Cup. An injury sidelined him from competition during the Bauerlien Duals. He swept the opposition and secured titles in the Frederick County and 1A-2A West regional championships, is ranked number ten in the state by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, and was named to the Frederick News Post All-County 1st team. Boasting a 94 percent winning percentage, the team captain concludes his season with a remarkable 32-2 tally, and a career total of 79-32.v
Pictured are the four state medal winners (from left): Zachary Bryant, Joshua Small, Payne Harrison, and Ethan Fuss.