Three area wrestlers win state titles

March 07, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

WESTMINSTER, Md. - Six minutes. Three wrestlers. One goal.

That was all that remained in the high school wrestling careers of three area seniors. Middletown's Zane Harshman, Williamsport's Jared Myers and Walkersville's Chris Kehne each had 360 seconds to make one final statement for the world to remember.

"Knowing this was my last match, I didn't want to walk off the mat a loser," Harshman said.

He didn't. Neither did Myers nor Kehne. All three said farewell Saturday in the grandest fashion on the ultimate stage for high school wrestling - by winning individual championships at the Maryland Class 2A/1A State Wrestling Championships at Western Maryland College.

For each, the goal was the same but the importance varied.

For Harshman, it was his second and last. The championship completed an undefeated march to defending his state title in the 160-pound weight class.


For Myers, it was his first and last. It was his last stab at obtaining a lifelong dream.

And for Kehne, it was his first and final. After becoming Walkersville's first-ever state champion, he was hanging up his singlet for good.

"I knew what I had to do," Myers said. "I worked so hard for this and I had to keep going. I had to keep focused. I wanted to finish as a winner."

Myers was the first to join the club. By holding on for a 12-11 victory over John Hayhurst of Southern Garrett at 171 pounds, Myers became Williamsport's 11th state champion, and the third under coach Chuck Martin.

Myers (32-2) rolled through his three preliminary matches with two pins and a 15-point victory. Still, he needed a reminder to keep his mind on what he was doing. The reminder came in the form of the semifinal losses of two teammates.

"Their losses reminded me that I couldn't lose focus," Myers said. "I had to work hard and be aggressive."

Myers used a reversal and a takedown in the third period to move to a 12-8 lead over Hayhurst. But a stalling call and a reversal forced him to hang on for the final 18 seconds to grab the win.

"The match was closer than I thought it would be," Myers said. "I was more nervous than usual. But this is the dream I've had since I started wrestling - to be a state champion. And to do it in my last match, it's the ultimate."

Harshman wanted to add an ultimate emphasis to his outstanding career. After winning at 160 pounds last season, he set out to get a matched set of trophies.

"I just wanted this," Harshman said. "Last year I got to the finals, and this year I wanted it for a sweep. It was harder this time, though. I was marked. Everyone targeted to beat me."

The senior was relentless, right from the start of his pre-match routine. He paces the side of the mat, looking like the Tasmanian Devil with a sugar rush, while trying to psych himself up for battle.

"I'm not trying to intimidate anyone," he said. "It's pretty much my way to get fired up."

Beall's Jonas Durst put up a valiant effort against the West Region's top seed, who allowed only one point in his three earlier matches. Harshman used an early takedown and a near-fall in the second period to build his advantage in an 8-3 victory which gave him a season record of 32-0.

"He pushed me," Harshman said. "I wrestled him twice earlier in the year and we knew each other's moves. I wasn't going to go out a loser, though."

Neither will Kehne, who saved his very best for the very last.

Kehne allowed Drew Bowers of Owings Mills to escape for a tying point with 18 seconds remaining. The Lions' 135-pounder relied on a last-gasp move, a diving takedown with two seconds remaining in the match to pull out the victory.

"I looked up and there was 18 seconds left," he said. "I thought to myself, 'I have to go for it now.' I wanted this pretty bad."

The final move was just that, Kehne's final move.

"Yep, this was my last match," Kehne said. "It's my last year, I wanted to go out with a bang. After this, I'm going into business with my dad."

For all three, Saturday's triumph made up for all their years of work and sacrifice.

"This was worth all the pain," Myers said. "Just for the chance to stand in that spot on the top of the podium."

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