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Beall rings up Hubs, Lions

February 14, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

WALKERSVILLE, Md. - Bryan Biehl's "dream team" finally had a nightmare.

The Walkersville wrestling coach hasn't held back this season about his team's state-title aspirations.

But Beall did.

The Mountaineers (23-0) handed the Lions (20-1) their first loss of the season, 36-26, in the finals of the Class 2A-1A West Regional Duals on Thursday night at Walkersville - thus earning the region's lone berth for Saturday's state duals at Catoctin.

"We went out after it," said Biehl. "Our intensity could have been better, and we could have wrestled a little bit better. But our guys came to win."

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He said it wasn't a case of looking too far down the road.

"We didn't look past Southern," said Biehl.

Top-seeded and defending champ Walkersville knocked off fourth-seeded Southern Garrett 43-24 in the semifinals earlier Thursday evening, while second-seeded Beall downed third-seeded North Hagerstown 45-16 in the other semifinal.

The Lions kept the momentum rolling into the finals, jumping out to a 10-0 lead after a first-period pin by Dan Caywood at 152 pounds and a 12-3 major decision from Brad Nielson at 160.

After five bouts, Walkersville still led, 13-12 - before the Mountaineers caught fire. Brent Walker put Beall up for good at 103, breaking a 4-4 tie with Gleason Sweeney with a third-period pin. Mountaineers Nathan Jackson (112) and Travis Dixon (119) then broke it open with a pair of falls, each coming in the final moments of the first period, as Beall took its biggest lead of the night at 30-13.

But Biehl still wasn't flinching.

"That didn't bother me at all," he said. He had some guns on deck.

Chad Cotterman ceased Beall's momentum with a pin at 125, giving Walkersville some new life - trailing 30-19 with undefeated Lion Ed Asbill up next at 130.

"The whole time I was just trying to get fired up," said Cotterman. "I knew if I could do it, there was still a chance."

But it quickly started vanishing. Asbill's record didn't seem to phase Chris Lewis, as he reversed him in the final 12 seconds for a 7-6 decision.

Walkersville's Zach McLain cut the deficit to 33-22 with a decision at 135. But needing a pair of pins in the final two bouts to pull out the win, Beall's Colin Devore fought off his back twice to seal it with a 9-8 win over Mike Smith at 140.

"Our guys have worked hard all year," said Beall coach Allan Twigg, whose squad fell to Walkersville in last year's regional semifinals. "We've talked about this since day one."

For Walkersville, it's back to the list of season goals.

"We can go out and win the county tournament," Biehl said, "and we can go out and win the regional tournament, and we can go out and win the state tournament."

North Hagerstown, which closed out its dual-meet season at 13-6, is also looking to the future.

"We just didn't have enough tonight, but I'm real proud of these kids," said Hubs coach Greg Slick. "They've been hurting and sick and just didn't seem to want to quit. We only have three seniors in the lineup, so if everyone comes back, we'll be pretty strong."

The Hubs jumped out to 9-0 lead Thursday with a pin from Dean Staley (152) and decision from Devin Baer (160), before Beall got rolling. The Mountaineers won the next four bouts and 10 of the last 12.

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