The fourth annual Border Brawl Mason-Dixon Wrestling Classic might feature the strongest lineup ever to come north for the event.
Pennsylvania has dominated the first three Border Brawls, winning by scores of 55-9, 47-12 and 51-18.
Keyser High School coach Colin Rotruck, who helps assemble the Maryland/West Virginia team with Northern Garrett's Casey Kamp, is looking for a better showing this time.
"I think this is definitely the most talented team," Rotruck said. "Not to take anything away from the past teams, but reaching out a little bit more, it's definitely a good mix of kids. I've seen a lot of these kids throughout the year. It's exciting to be able to put all of those kids together on the same team and coach them a little bit."
The 15-member squad has combined for 2,174 wins. That's an average of 145 wins per wrestler.
Noah Hodges, a 2017 West Virginia state champion from Grafton, leads the way with 205 wins against just 14 losses. The 113-pounder went 40-4 as a senior and placed in the top four in the state four times.
Anthony Carman, of John Marshall High School, won a West Virginia title this year, and he's keeping his 156 career victories in state to wrestle at WVU. After going 43-3 as a senior, Carman will be in the premier match of the day, as he faces Pitt recruit Jared McGill – the lone state champion on the Pennsylvania side – in the 182-pound bout.
Fourteen of the team members have at least 100 wins in their careers, and the only one who doesn't – 126-pounder Jack Bruce – is actually from Pennsylvania but is filling in for Team Maryland/West Virginia.
Bruce plans to wrestle at the Division I level at Franklin & Marshall. He was a prep All-American before attending Saltsburg High School and wrestling for Blairsville, where he was a Pennsylvania state qualifier as a junior. He qualified for the regional tournament as a senior, placing third in District 6 despite wrestling with an appendicitis that required surgery the day after the tournament and ended his postseason.
Austin Gibson is the third title-winner from the Mountain State. The Bridgeport product went 141-43 in his career, including 45-4 this season.
Jace Guy is one of three Southern Garrett wrestlers on the Maryland/West Virginia squad after helping the Rams win the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association State Dual Meet title for the second consecutive season. Guy, who plans to wrestle at Waynesburg University, recorded 104 pins in his career and was a three-time state placewinner. He went 45-4 this season.
Hunter Park, who delivered the pin that clinched Southern's title win over Sparrow Point, went 110-34 in his career, including a 42-5 mark this season. He also was a two-time state placewinner.
Southern heavyweight Cole Sweitzer recorded 134 career wins against 44 losses. He was 44-6 this season and placed fifth in the state, helping the Rams go 38-0 in dual meets.
Those three Rams will have a familiar face on the bench, as Southern coach Dave Taylor will lead the team along with Kamp and Rotruck.
“It's a lot of fun, and it's an honor to lead these guys into battle,” Taylor said of coaching in the Border Brawl. “It's a fun event, but it's a tough event.”
While it can be difficult to coordinate which wrestlers from each state should fill the weight classes, Rotruck said he enjoys working with Kamp.
"I've known Casey for a long time," the Keyser coach said. "Casey's great to get along with. He's super-energetic. He loves wrestling and he's passionate about wrestling. All of these teams in this area, we all know each other really well."
Rotruck will have one of his own on the team in Tyler Mason, a three-time state qualifier who was 31-11 as a senior and 136-56 for his career.
Jacob Simpson of University High School was a West Virginia runner-up and has won a pair of state titles in freestyle. He went 43-3 as a senior and 144-40 overall.
Alec Burgess and Doug Morral were teammates at Petersburg High School, where Burgess was a three-time state medalist and Morral was a three-time state qualifier. Burgess went 51-6 this season and won 193 matches while losing just 39 in his career. Morral was 46-6 as a senior and 161-37 overall.
On the Maryland side, South Carroll's Cam Werner was a three-time state placewinner. He posted a 35-9 record as a senior and was 149-38 during his career.