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OP wrestlers take second at Battle of Manassas

- While the Yellow Jackets as a whole finished second during their home Battle of Manassas tournament, earning 203.5 points to victor Good Counsel's 228 points, Alex Gowers mauled his opposition en route to earning Osbourn Park's lone individual victory.

OP wrestlers take second at Battle of Manassas

Anyone watching Alex Gowers wrestle for more than a minute this past Saturday would realize why he is a senior captain of the Osbourn Park wrestling team.
While the Yellow Jackets as a whole finished second during their home Battle of Manassas tournament, earning 203.5 points to victor Good Counsel's 228 points, Gowers mauled his opposition en route to earning Osbourn Park's lone individual victory.
His scorecard in the 160-pound bracket looked like this:
First match: pin.
Second match: pin.
Third match: pin.
Fourth match: 6-1 decision.
Championship: pin.
Even OP's defending state champion Sean Badua tripped up in the 113-pound division, losing by pin against St. Paul's in the final round of bracket play.
Badua losing an event before the finals is so rare, Patriot's own state qualifier Anthony Olsen remarked, "That's like Hurricane Sandy."
Yet Gowers, who claims Olsen as his best friend and checks in at 21-2 on the season, came out with a nearly flawless day, minus that one point he gave up against Good Counsel.
"His benefit is that there is not a wrtestling room in the state he has not worked out in," said Osbourn Park head coach Michael Spudic.
Gowers and Badua are among a crew of senior veterans who are attempting to replicate the glory of the Class of 2012, which helped lead OP to its first district championship in 18 years.
"Even though we lost seven seniors, a lot of guys saw the success of what the older guys had done and learned a lot from it," said Spudic. "Their goals have been set much higher."
That's why Spudic assigned the seniors to work individually with younger up-and-comers on the team, in the hopes that they'll be able to share some of their wisdom while acting in the role of mentors.
It's something the head coach noticed 145-pounder Austin Conrow took to heart as he's working with freshman David Sniffen, who placed second at 138.
"Austin is more excited about David's success than his own," said Spudic, explaining how Conrow will discuss Sniffen's progress unprompted with the coach.
The freshman is in apparent good hands too: Conrow took second place on Saturday after putting up a 4-0 showing prior to the championship match, which he lost 2-0 against St. Mary's Ryken of Maryland.
Meanwhile, Sniffen is "just wrestling phenomenally," according to Gowers. "You can just see the fire in his eyes."
Among the other seniors, Nick Cooper is another to watch in the 170-pound class.
He and freshman teammate Caleb Curtis claimed fourth and fifth place respectively on Saturday in the same division.
"I definitely think he's going to make it to states this year," said Gowers about Cooper, who placed fourth during the Battle of Manassas.
Perhaps the ultimate strength of this year's Yellow Jackets team is the diversity in experience among those who are putting up big time results.
For instance, freshmen Ryan Lemoine (285 pounds), Jacob Maile (195 pounds) and Timothy Stallings (106 pounds) all placed in the top three or four for their weight classes this weekend.
Junior Duane Stever (152 pounds) took home third place while classmates Angelo Eclavea (120 pounds) and Matthew Dromazos (132 pounds) secured fifth.
Senior Mac McDonald (220 pounds) also ended up in the top three.
As for whether this group will be able to propel Osbourn Park past top contender Forest Park for a second-straight Cardinal District title, Gowers is optimistic.
"We're in a really good spot to beat them," he said, adding that the team's line-up is solid through about 10 or 11 spots so far.
In the mean time, Spudic mentioned that he would like to see more attention to mental and technical improvements in practices and during matches prior to the post-season.
"This was a good tournament to kind of build up more momentum," added Spudic.
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