The Blue Devils (25-1) won the first state title in program history last season, emerging as champions in the Maryland 4A dual tournament with a 36-18 win against South River in the final. They also claimed their first regional title with a 43-27 win against Montgomery Blair in the 4A North final.
Springbrook returns six qualifiers from last season’s Maryland 4A/3A individual state tournament, including Pierre Jean, who took third at 106 pounds, and Sayfore Sieh, who took fifth at 132 pounds.
Jean and Sieh spent the spring and summer competing at tournaments up and down the East Coast and come into this season stronger than ever, Whittles said. The seniors will each compete at a higher weight class (126 for Jean, 145 for Sieh) this year, and their competitive drive remains sharp.
Still, the Blue Devils do not spend much time reminiscing on their state title victory as they prepare for their first competition of the season.
“They all want to try to win again, but they know that is months away,” Whittles said. “If we want to do it, we have to get better now, and that’s what we need to concentrate on.”
(Records from last season)
1. Damascus (26-0) Last ranked: 1
After two straight seasons as runners-up, the Rams ascended to the top of the podium at the Virginia Class 6 championship last March.
Brady Pruett and Joe Fisk earned second-place finishes in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament as freshmen, and they will look to repeat — or exceed — last season’s performances in their sophomore campaigns for the Cavaliers.
4. St. John’s (25-3) LR: 4
5. Springbrook (25-1) LR: 8
After winning an individual regional championship as a junior, Pierre Jean will aim for a state title as a senior.
6. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (13-4) LR: NR
Springbrook edged Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 31-28, in the Maryland 4A dual semifinals last February, but the Barons return an experienced cadre of wrestlers, including three qualifiers for the Maryland 4A/3A individual state tournament.
7. Leonardtown (27-2) LR: 7
The Raiders cruised to victory in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference tournament last season with wins in six of 14 weight classes, then finished as runner-up to South River in the 4A East regional tournament.
8. Battlefield (8-2) LR: 5
The Bobcats finished fifth in the Virginia Class 6 state tournament last season after winning their fourth regional title in five years and their eighth straight district title.
9. St. Mary’s Ryken (19-5) LR: 9
St. Mary’s Ryken finished second to St. John’s in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament last February, but behind reigning individual title winners Blake Jury and Evan Eldridge, the Knights will look to make a run at the team championship.
10. Freedom (16-3) LR: NR
The Eagles won their fourth consecutive Loudoun County championship last season as well as the Region 5C championship before finishing eighth at the Virginia Class 5 state tournament.
On the bubble: Glenelg (23-1), Hammond (25-6), Huntingtown (32-14)