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March Madness on the mat

March 13, 2003|by ANDY MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Twenty-nine area wrestlers and 28 weight-class brackets.

And I felt like the odd man out walking into my first Maryland State Wrestling Tournament last Friday afternoon at McDaniel College.

It was an utter eight-mat circus. A caveman probably would have had an easier time making sense of the New York Stock Exchange.

Then that smart guy Charles Darwin took over, like he has a way of doing. We're no longer cave people, and by Saturday night, survival-of-the-fittest had left us a pair of area state champs and 10 other placewinners.

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It was all perfectly clear. Now, all I had to do was try to translate it all to print, via laptop (proof that I'm not a caveman), and file it back to Hagerstown, via the lone phone line available to the statewide media (maybe the MPSSAA still lives in a cave) - all in about an hour.

Talk about adrenaline. Having to square off with South Hagerstown giant Clayton Swisher probably couldn't make my heart pound any faster.

But when all was said and done, it was a fitting ending to a memorable first season on The Herald-Mail mats beat.

Just take another peak at some of the numbers, which are much more notable than the shortest 60 minutes of my life:

  • Five state champs - Frederick's Mark Tsikerdonas (103 pounds) and Walkersville's Ed Asbill (130) won in Maryland, while Jefferson's Steven Reynolds (135) and Berkeley Springs' Jamie Moore (171) and Josh Clark (189) captured West Virginia titles.

  • Two unblemished records - Tsikerdonas went 25-0, while Reynolds was 22-0. And neither started the season until January due to injury.

  • One second - That's all that was left on the clock when Moore reversed Calhoun's Ray Burge for a 3-2 win in the state finals.

  • Thirty seconds - Wasn't quite enough time for Mercersburg's Adam Rook to break free from Malvern Prep's Nick Salvo in the 130-pound state final at the Pennsylvania Independent Schools tourney, as Rook came out on the short end of a 2-2 tie after the double-overtime rideout period.

  • Two All-Americans - Rook bounced back to place sixth at the National Prep Wrestling Tournament, while Blue Storm teammate Aaron Barnette took third at 189.

  • One at Hersheypark - Is better than none. James Buchanan's Chad Witmer was the area's lone Pa. wrestler to qualify for the PIAA state tourney. And his 0-2 showing there was still better than last year's, when no one from the area went.

  • Two hundred wins - Lord, that's a lot. Hedgesville's Danny Lord ended his prep career with an overall mark of 201-11 and the most wins in West Virginia history.

  • Eight-man regional brackets - Should be 16 in Maryland. In the same state where the winless Clear Spring girls basketball team gets to host a regional playoff game, South Hagerstown's James Price, the Washington County champ at 275, couldn't find a berth in the West.

  • One down ... - I'm already looking forward to next season.





Andy Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at andrewm@herald-mail.com

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