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Wrestling notes - Teams compete for Hub Cup glory

January 10, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Sure, Walkersville recently won the prestigious Damascus Tournament, is 9-0 in dual meets and currently ranked as the state's No. 8 tourney team by the Maryland State Wrestling Association.

Paint Branch is 12th on the same rankings list and Quince Orchard is 13th.

All three powers will be on hand this weekend at North Hagerstown for the 16th annual Hub Cup Invitational - which begins today at 5 p.m. - and are, obviously, the apparent favorites.

However, defending Hub Cup team champ Williamsport, ranked 20th by the MSWA, will also be in the 18-team mix. And Wildcats coach Chuck Martin says his wrestlers, who nipped Paint Branch by four points for last year's crown, are gunning for the repeat.

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"Our goal is to win it again, not take second or third," said Martin. "Our teams in the past have wrestled the Hub Cup really well. We always get fired up for it and look forward to the good competition.

"This year, it's going to be good competition. It looks like it'll be the tightest in the last few years. There are four or five teams out there who could win it. It's going to be a doozy."

Leading the Williamsport charge is Mike McGill, the Hub Cup's outstanding wrestler last year. McGill, who won at 105 pounds (there's a two-pound allowance) last year, is seeded first at 114 this year with his 10-0 season mark.

But it won't be a walk in the park for the sophomore Wildcat, who's currently ranked fifth in his weight class by the MSWA. Seeded second at 114 is Quince Orchard senior Frankie Baughman, who's 8-0 and No. 2 in the state.

"It'll be one of the feature bouts, providing they don't lose an early match," said Martin of Saturday's potential finals showdown. "It'll be a great match to watch."

Martin said Baughman's age and ranking won't intimidate the younger McGill.

"Nobody intimidates him," said Martin. "He's one of the mentally toughest kids we have on our team. No matter who he wrestles, he's going to go out and give it his best shot."

Of course, 114 is only one chapter of the weekend story.

North Hagerstown coach Greg Slick said his first glance at the Hub Cup seedings, which weren't finalized (unofficially) until late Thursday night, also points to 105 and 191 as feature brackets.

Walkersville's Gleason Sweney (15-0), the top seed at 105, is one of three undefeated wrestlers in the bracket. Meanwhile, Catoctin's Derek Fogle (13-0) and Thomas Johnson's Mark Esmont (10-0) will both be putting their unblemished marks on the line at 191, which is dominated by area matmen with St. James' Tim Berger (16-2) and Walkersville's Billy Burke (8-2) rounding out the top four.

The area's other top seeds are South Hagerstown's Adam Hockensmith (10-0) at 121 and Clayton Swisher (11-0) at 217, North's Mike Wagner (11-1) at 127, Walkersville's Ed Asbill (14-0) at 132 and Dan Caywood (14-1) at 142 and Middletown's Andrew Presnell (12-0) at 275.

Other area wrestlers seeded in the top four are Frederick's Matt Sera (second, 11-1) at 121 and Nick Isoldi (fourth, 10-2) at 142, Williamsport's Jeff Short (third, 11-2) at 127 and Devin Hewitt (second, 8-1) at 147, South's Stephen Copeland (third, 10-1) at 132, St. James' Troy Townsend (third, 15-3) at 137, Catoctin's Andy Kinman (fourth, 7-3) at 173 and Walkersville's Zach McLain (fourth, 14-3) at 137, Brad Nielson (fourth, 14-3) at 154, Wil Aguilar (third, 9-3) at 173 and Jason Stambaugh (third, 14-3) at 277.

Yet, as always, the seedings only mean so much once the action hits the mats.

"Seedings shouldn't make that much of a difference," said Martin. "What it's going to come down to is how the kids wrestle."

And every point counts.

"You have five or six guys that can score points for you, you're right there," said Slick. "But typically at the Hub Cup, the teams with 12 or 13 kids who are scoring points for you win. The wrestlebacks are important."

The Hub Cup schedule: Today - preliminary and first-round bouts, 5-8 p.m.; championship quarterfinals, 8-9:30 p.m.; and consolation quarterfinals, 9:30-11 p.m.

Saturday - championship semifinals, 10-11:30 a.m.; consolation wrestlebacks, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; consolation quarterfinals, 1-2:15 p.m.; consolation semifinals, 2:30-3:30 p.m.; fifth-place finals, 5-6 p.m.; seventh-place finals, 5-6 p.m.; third-place finals, 6-7 p.m.; championship finals, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and awards ceremony, 9:30-10 p.m.

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