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Battle of champions may develop in Hub Cup finals

January 15, 2000|By AL DITZEL

No one wants to get ahead of themselves, but area high school wrestling fans may truly have a headliner bout tonight in the 13th annual Hub Cup.

North Hagerstown senior Seth Staley, a small school state champion, as a sophomore and Magruder senior Tony Howard, a two-time defending big school state champ, are on a collision course. First, each must win their semifinal bouts. That round begins this morning at 10.

If both get through, they will meet in the 160-pound final. That round starts at 7.

"I still have to win my semifinal,'' said Staley, who needed just 1:48 to pin in his first bout and 1:29 to pin in his quarterfinal bout Friday night to reach the semifinal round. "I'm not even sure who my semifinal match is against yet.''

Staley will meet Paint Branch's Ryan Murphy, who also pinned in both of his bouts Friday night.

"I'll try to do the same things I normally do - get a quick takedown, use my legs and try to get a first-period pin,'' Staley said.

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"I tell the boys to concentrate on one match at a time,'' North Hagerstown coach Greg Slick said. "I know it's cliche but it's true.''

Even Slick admits, the Howard-Staley bout could be a high school classic.

"Oh, it would definitely be one to watch,'' he said. "Not to get ahead, but I think if Seth stays with his technical ability, he should do well. Howard is a much more explosive type.''

No kidding. Howard pinned his first-round opponent in 20 seconds and then took 28 seconds for a quarterfinal pin.

"(Howard's) very aggressive,'' Slick said. "If Seth stays with his own style, it's going to be a very good match.''

"I've been where (Howard) is,'' said Staley, who could not defend his state title last year because of illness. "He's been in my weight class since my sophomore year, but we've never met.''

"For one reason or another, they haven't met but I think it's going to be a real good match,'' Slick said. "It's probably the the first and second seeds get through.''

Meanwhile, North is running away with its second straight team title. Through the quarterfinal championship round, North had 123 points. Damascus was second with 86 1/2.

"All of our kids are wrestling really hard,'' Slick said. "You don't win these type of title with champions. It's all those kids who wrestle back and take third, fourth and fifth places.

"We've been good (Friday night),'' Slick said. "Our kids are not only winning, but going for those extra points with pins and major decisions.''

For the most part, bouts went according to seed last night as every No. 1 and No. 2 got through. But, South Hagerstown suffered a bit of loss even before the matches began. Brandon Ashby (9-1 at 112) could not wrestle because of a knee injury. His coach, Brian Brake, said he will know more about the injury later in th week.

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