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Howard County Times 2023-24 wrestling All-County: Centennial's Calvin Kraisser maintains dominance in new classification

Apr. 24—Centennial junior Calvin Kraisser participated in his first competitive wrestling match at age 6. From a storied wrestling family, Kraisser has always been a hard worker with a great competitive drive.

His on-the-mat accomplishments speak for themselves, entering this year as a two-time Howard County, regional and Class 4A/3A state champion. However, his junior year offered a new challenge as the Eagles moved down in classification.

Despite new opponents, Kraisser's dominance remained, winning the 144-pound 1A/2A state title. He closed out a 36-1 junior season with 33 pins. In three years, Kraisser is 97-3 and for the third straight year is the Howard County Times Wrestler of the Year, his third straight season with that distinction.

All of that success came while balancing a loaded schedule. He plays soccer in the fall, leaving little time before wrestling. While he's contemplated stopping soccer at certain points, Kraisser enjoys the camaraderie with his teammates and the community.

"It's definitely challenging, but it's fun at the same time," Calvin said of the schedule. "That is my choice, not just wrestling all year round. It's not an excuse I use though because I could stop whenever I want."

After high school wrestling concludes, Kraisser works diligently in the offseason preparing and participating in national wrestling tournaments. This year, he wrestled in the NHSCA High School Nationals April 5-7 and will wrestle in the 2024 U.S. Marine Corps Junior Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota, July 12-20.

He sees the benefits of that packed year-round schedule during the high school season. Soccer helps Kraisser improve two critical wrestling skills: endurance and footwork. However, the most valuable growth comes during offseason practices with Headhunters Wrestling Club.

Those sessions rotating between three-to-four daily practice partners are invaluable.

"Those practices do benefit me a lot," Calvin said. "Those partners are really experienced. I'm getting a different feel from my regular high school team because in high school I wrestle the same guys over and over. Here, there's a lot of really good partners that I can go with that are around my weight. Getting a bunch of those different feels, heights, weights and stuff like that helps a lot, especially with the high school season."

Centennial wrestling coach and Calvin's dad, Cliff Kraisser, has seen the benefits of that offseason training with each of his sons. Calvin's older brothers, Austin, Jason and Nathan also competed in national tournaments. The trio combined for 11 MPSSAA state titles.

"It's usually a different coach than me, which is good for Calvin," Cliff said. "He doesn't hear my voice all the time. I encourage different coaches. They might have a different style than I teach, so that's a good thing. The different partners are a great thing. It's great to wrestle with other guys that are preparing for national tournaments. He gets to wrestle private school kids that maybe go to bigger tournaments during the season that we don't get to go to."

Those experiences facilitated further growth with Kraisser, who noticed tangible improvement in the neutral position. That diligent work has helped Kraisser improve his shot and finishing speed.

With that growth, Kraisser embraced his newest high school challenge. Despite the opposition change, high expectations remained as the junior focused on one match a time.

He won all six matches at the Howard County Tournament and 2A/1A West Regional by pin, and was once again the favorite entering the state tournament. While that grand stage brings nerves for some, Kraisser finds comfort in that he's competed on larger stages before.

Kraisser's state championship match pitted him against Liberty's Dylan Ohler, whom he defeated during the regular season. He was victorious once again, winning the state title with a pin in 3:13. With family and friends on hand, Calvin secured the family's 15th state title.

"People say, 'It gets old. It doesn't get old," Cliff said. "Every single year it's exciting. Nothing is given to anybody. You've got to go out and earn it and take it. Every single one is unique. This one was even more unique in that it was different competition except in the finals. It's hard to beat a good kid multiple times."

Even with that success, Kraisser has a continual growth mindset. He's one step closer to rarified air as just eight wrestlers in Maryland have won four state championships. Kraisser seeks to become the ninth and third in his family following in the footsteps of Nathan and Jason.

All-County first team

Sravanth Saladi, Marriotts Ridge, senior, 106 pounds

Saladi was an integral part of the Mustangs' county tournament victory, winning the 106-pound title. He placed third at the Class 4A/3A South regional and was a state qualifier.

Rocky Alabbadi, Marriotts Ridge, senior, 113 pounds

Alabbadi was a leader for the Mustangs and won the 113-pound title at both counties and regionals. He placed fourth at the Class 4A/3A state tournament, ending the season 41-4.

Boden Pistorio, Marriotts Ridge, sophomore, 120 pounds

Pistorio won the Howard County title at 120 pounds and placed third at regionals, also qualifying for states.

Orlando Castelan-Cortez, Oakland Mills, freshman, 126 pounds

Castelan-Cortez burst onto the scene as a freshman, winning both a county and 4A/3A South regional title. He also qualified for states.

Francheska Bonilla, Oakland Mills, junior, 130 pounds

Bonilla finished as the runner up at both the 4A/3A South girls regional and state championships, completing her junior season 20-4.

Andrew Dolezel, Reservoir, junior, 132 pounds

Dolezel continued his success from prior seasons despite moving up in weight class. He won both the Howard County and 4A/3A South Regional title, closing out his season with a 44-1 record and a third-place finish at states.

Trinity Butler, Oakland Mills, senior, 135 pounds

Butler was a key veteran for the Scorpionsm finishing as a runner-up at regionals and states, closing out the season 22-4.

William Terry, Hammond, senior, 138 pounds

Terry closed out his career earning his 100th victory, en route to the county title. He also placed third at the 2A/1A West regional and fourth at states, closing out the season 44-6.

Samantha Semprun Salazar, Atholton, junior, 140 pounds

Semprun Salazar placed second at both the 4A/3A South region and states, finishing the season 14-4.

Collin Szczepanski, Glenelg, junior, 144 pounds

Szczepanski was the Howard County runner-up, losing to Kraisser, and was one of the Gladiators' leaders throughout the season.

Raul Rodriguez, Oakland Mills, sophomore, 150 pounds

Rodriguez won at counties after finishing as a runner-up last year. He then placed second at regionals and was a state qualifier.

Diego Gambrill, Oakland Mills, senior, 157 pounds

Gambrill was one of five Scorpions to win a county title and went on to place fourth at regionals. He also qualified for states.

Joe Clark, Oakland Mills, senior, 165 pounds

Clark continued his success from prior seasons, winning both the county and regional title. He then finished as a state runner-up, ending the year 39-1.

Jayden Timothy, Hammond, sophomore, 175 pounds

Timothy was one of two Golden Bears to win a county title and also finished fourth at regionals. He concluded the season as a state qualifier.

Brighton Barker, Oakland Mills, senior, 190 pounds

Barker won the county title after finishing as a runner-up last year. He placed fourth at regionals and closed out his career as a state qualifier.

Mark Enamorado, Atholton, senior, 215 pounds

Wresting up at a higher weight class, Enamorado thrived. He won both the county title and 4A/3A South region title, ending his career as a state qualifier.

Nathan Faulkner, River Hill, senior, 285 pounds

Faulkner won the county title, avenging a loss in last year's county final. He also was the runner-up at regionals and finished as a state qualifier.

All-County second team

Josef Finn, River Hill, freshman, 106 pounds

Cody Johnson, Hammond, senior, 113 pounds

Kadence Chau, Reservoir, senior, 115 pounds

Timmy Zink, Mt. Hebron, sophomore, 120 pounds

Clara Freeman, Hammond, junior, 125 pounds

Jonathan Sexton, Glenelg, sophomore, 126 pounds

Isaac Choi, Glenelg, junior, 132 pounds

Justin Soriano, Atholton, senior, 138 pounds

Trip Bennett, Marriotts Ridge, junior, 144 pounds

Skylar Zook, Reservoir, sophomore, 145 pounds

Garin Jeng, River Hill, senior, 150 pounds

Connor Severino, Mt. Hebron, junior, 157 pounds

Jonah Obitz, Marriotts Ridge, junior, 165 pounds

CJ Nyorkor, Marriotts Ridge, sophomore, 175 pounds

Isaac King, Howard, senior, 190 pounds

Peter Danko, Glenelg, junior 215 pounds

Caleb Snype, Howard, senior, 285 pounds