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Wrestling notes: State duals title Lions' next goal

February 14, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

If the second showing of "Revenge of the Lions" is anything like Wednesday's premiere, Walkersville wrestling fans could be in for another treat Saturday at Hammond High School in Columbia, Md.

Three days after avenging their only loss of the season with a nail-biting 28-27 win over top-seeded South Carroll in the Maryland Class 2A-1A West Duals semifinals, the Lions (15-1), who went on to top Southern Garrett 42-31 for their second region crown in three years, will get another shot at redemption when they face East champ Kent County in the state semifinals.

Two years ago, Kent County smacked Walkersville 52-16 in the Lions' first-ever appearance in the state semis.

"Our goal is to go there and win two matches. You can't settle for anything less," Walkersville senior 145-pounder Dan Caywood said. "It doesn't matter who we face first, but we can get revenge on Kent, because when I was a sophomore they were a very mature squad and they demolished us."

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North champ Owings Mills, which has won 46 straight matches, including the last two state finals, faces South winner Glenelg in the other semifinal.

Walkersville first-year coach Scott McIntosh said his team isn't looking past Kent County.

"At this level, there's not a team that's not a handful," he said. "There's only four of us left in the state."

Still, if Walkersville is going to face Owings Mills, McIntosh would rather it be in the final.

"Our guys wrestle better as the day goes on," he said. "I'd like to think we're the best team in the state conditioning-wise. Obviously, I want to wrestle a match first."

Senior standouts Jimmy Francis, Michael Smith and Caywood accounted for all of the Lions' points as sophomores in their last trip to states.

"It seemed like no one else was fired up," Caywood said.

Or maybe they just were too overwhelmed by the scene.

"It's a lot of hype. It's pretty easy to get caught up in it," McIntosh said. "But now we've been here before. We want to make a name for ourselves this time."

And if the Lions are more fired up this time around, don't expect them to wear their emotions on their sleeves.

"Our pregame has changed a little bit," McIntosh said. "Instead of getting all crazy, we're staying quiet and focused. Our whole thing is focusing on what each of us has to do to win."

Saturday's Class 4A-3A semifinal matchups at Hammond are River Hill vs. Chesapeake-Anne Arundel and Calvert vs. Walt Whitman.

The 2A-1A semis begin at noon, followed by the 4A-3A semis at 2. Both finals are set for that evening at 6.

The Catoctin Duals, which were snowed out in December, are back on for Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m.

If things go as they have all season, Thomas Johnson senior 189-pounder Mark Esmont will enter the century club for career wins there - and he'll do it with a pin.

Esmont, one of the area's last unbeatens at 22-0, is 97-22 for his career with an astounding 87 pins.

In Smithsburg's 51-23 win over Catoctin last weekend, Leopards freshman Justin Hovermale pinned his opponent at 140 in 9 seconds, which is believed to be the area's fastest win by fall this season.

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