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Blue Storm turns page on Rebels

January 22, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Straight from the study hall to the wrestling mats and back to the books.

Mercersburg Academy opened the first batch of pages for an early lead, fought off a South Hagerstown challenge and then turned to the back cover in a 50-20 victory over the Rebels on Tuesday night.

The No. 1-ranked Blue Storm left town to return to their dorms for a two-hour study hall shortly after posting their ninth consecutive win.

"We're happy with the performance," Mercersburg coach Rick Hendrickson said of his young squad, which includes several freshmen and only two seniors. "We might not win every one of our matches but our kids always fight back."

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The Blue Storm went ahead 17-0 on two victories and a forfeit before South made its charge.

At 130, Jake Hockensmith took an 8-4 decision over Bobby Wolford followed by Adam Hockensmith's pin in 1:56 over Andrew Carl. Terrail Blair followed with a 16-1 pasting of Alex Appleman and the Rebels (5-8) were within three points, 17-14.

"Jake and Adam have done very well this year and Terrail has wrestled well even though he's lost some close matches," South coach Adam Robinson said.

Mercersburg came back with a flurry of pins by Conor McPartland at 145, Ryan Reid at 152 and Brad Nielson at 160 for a 35-14 lead. McPartland's pin of John Selph came in 40 seconds.

Nielson's pin in 2:53 over Andrew Asper lifted his season mark to 19-0 as the Frederick, Md., native continues to make a splash for the Blue Storm as a sophomore, following his freshman season at Walkersville when he won the Maryland Class 2A/1A West Region title.

"It's always a goal to go unbeaten but I'm just taking one match at a time," said Nielson, who hopes to wrestle in college. "I have more study time and less workout time, so I have to pick up the intensity."

Hendrickson, who coached at Berkeley Springs before coming to Mercersburg in 1993, said Nielson has the potential tools.

"Brad is young and headed toward being an outstanding wrestler," Hendrickson said. "He's intelligent, improves every week and is fueled by his attention to detail."

Junior Matt Englehart fought off a rib injury in the second period to post a 12-8 decision over South's Eric McPherson before two quick pins followed.

At 215, South's Brandon Carbaugh, who has been warding off a lingering toe infection, pinned Jamar Galbreath in 42 seconds. Not to be outdone, Mercersburg's Josh Edgin, moving up from 215 to heavyweight, posted a 33-second pin over Phil Powell.

Hendrickson was impressed with Edgin's pin, especially since the sophomore didn't wrestle until Jan. 5 because of an injury and has responded with an 8-1 record.

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