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Wildcats turn out the 'lights' to darken Leopards' hopes

February 05, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - Leading by two points with two bouts left, the Smithsburg wrestling team still needed a big boost against No. 7 Williamsport on Wednesday night.

Unfortunately for the host Leopards, all their heavy guys had already wrestled.

Mike McGill pinned Tony Cacciola in 1:10 at 135 pounds to put Williamsport up 37-33, and Wildcat Jeff Short closed out the match with another first-period pin against Justin Hovermale at 140 to seal the deal as Williamsport posted a come-from-behind 43-33 MVAL Antietam win.

"That's a big win. One of our goals this year was to beat these guys because they beat us last year in our gym and we wanted to return the favor," said Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic, whose team improved to 10-6 (3-2). "I don't think I could ask to finish up with two better guys than McGill and Short."

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But he probably could have asked for a better overall start.

After Adam Bridendolph opened the match with a pin at 145 for a 6-0 Williamsport lead, Smithsburg (3-3, 1-1) won each of the next five bouts in six-point fashion for a commanding 30-6 advantage.

Dylan Miss evened the score at 6-6, turning his would-be tech fall into a buzzer-beating second-period pin over Eric Spielman at 152. And, after Jeff Sprecher won by forfeit at 160, Nate Hayes scored a first-period pin at 171 to start a trend, which Scott White at 189 and Mike Rinebolt at 215 gladly followed for their 30-6 lead.

"We've got a lot of strength in the upper weights. Once I got that pin, everyone just kind of fed off that," said Hayes, who needed only 23 seconds against Frank Larrazabal. "We started out pretty strong, but then we got down to the lower weights and lost our steam."

Actually, Smithsburg started losing it at 275, where Williamsport's Rob Shawley topped James Whitt 7-0 in a match that was closer than the score. The Wildcats won the next four bouts: Earl Neville took down Logan Miss in the final second for a 19-11 major decision at 103, Jabari Emanuel won by forfeit at 112, Spencer Peyton pinned Wes McKenon in 58 seconds at 119 and Ryan Bowers won by forfeit at 125 for a 31-30 Williamsport lead.

"Neville's major was huge, because at that point we didn't know," Rechtorovic said. "We needed every point we could get. That gave us some momentum."

Smithsburg regained the lead, 33-31, on Derick Quiellen's 7-2 win over Jimmy Fiorita at 130. But the Leopards had no answers for McGill and Short.

"We needed something to get the team back together," Short said. "I can't stand having to come back, but I think it makes me wrestle better."

"I knew that we were better in the heavy weights and they were better in the lighter weights," Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich said. "But you just never know what can happen. In a match like that, everything has to work out, all the little variables, and we didn't get them."

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