Springbrook wrestling makes history at ‘Grapple at The Brook’ tournament


photo by Dan Feher

by Julie Futrowsky, Jade Soto, and Michael Solomon

For the first time in the tournament’s 20 year history, Springbrook varsity wrestling team took home the 1st place trophy at the Grapple at The Brook. After 20 long years of hosting the multi-state competition and repeatedly falling short, head coach Rob Whittles was able to lead his team to their first ever win at the Grapple.


“Winning the Grapple is huge for us. We have run the tournament for 20 years and it’s nice to be champions. But we always pride ourselves on bringing tough competition to the tournament so that makes it harder to win,” Whittles said.


Springbrook hosted schools from various areas, including teams from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Some of the most competitive of these teams were also from Montgomery Country, including Walt Whitman, Damascus, and Winston Churchill.


The Blue Devils edged out second place Sherwood by 17.5 points and brought home the gold. The host team had eight wrestlers that placed within the top four of their respective weight classes, including seniors Billy Madden, Jack Brutus, and Minh-Tri Nguyen; juniors Sahid Antar, Aimrick Nya and Jean Mehul; and sophomore Sayfore Sieh.


Jean Mehul took home the 1st place prize in the individual competition, and ended the weekend with and overall record of 20-2. Mehul immigrated to the United States eight years ago from Hati and, surprisingly, didn’t even know what wrestling was until his freshman year. After winning a total of 25 matches as a sophomore, Jean Mehul is now an elite competitor, and is dominating top-tier wrestlers from all over the county.


Whittles and his team have been able to follow through on quite a successful season this year. The Blue Devils currently have a record of 18-4, and just recently qualified for the regional duals. “Our work ethic sets us apart from other teams that we compete against,” said Whittles, who is currently in his 5th year as head coach. He attributes much of the team’s tradition and success to former head coach Rob Wendel, who Whittles says, “Instilled that work ethic during his 19 years as head coach.”


Although he takes pride in the “coachability” of this year’s team, Whittles acknowledged the fact that many of the wrestlers on the roster don’t have as much technical experience in the sport as in previous years. “We have had to spend a little more time teaching how to do the little things correctly,” said the 36 year old coach, “the fundamentals have all the stayed the same though: you work hard and drill high percentage moves.”


The Blue Devils are looking forward to a successful postseason and hope to leave it all on the mats. They will take on Montgomery Blair High School today, February 7th, in the first round of the regional duals at 5:30 PM  and will also face Urbana High School at 7:30 PM if they win their first match. Both matches will take place at Urbana High School, located in Frederick County, Maryland


Senior Billy Madden is also expecting his team to do well this postseason. He’s been wrestling at Springbrook for all four years, and is now one of the varsity captains. Madden also plays varsity soccer and lacrosse at Springbrook. “Regional duals should be fun,” he told the Blueprint, “We’ve got two matches coming up that we can definitely win if we wrestle well, and I’m excited to see how it goes. The individual tournaments start in two weeks, and that’s when the pressure really comes on. All we’re looking for then is states, baby.


Springbrook Coed Varsity Wrestling Schedule: https://springbrookathletics.org/teams/2259045/coed/wrestling/varsity