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Saints clawed by Leopards

February 15, 2004|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

ST. JAMES - The difference between expectation and reality was as predictable as the sunrise to Smithsburg wrestling coach Joe Dietrich on Saturday.

But to St. James coach Daryl Hayes, it was like night and day.

No. 10 Smithsburg dominated late and was able to win key matches at 160 and 189 pounds to roll No. 9 St. James 52-18 in a tri-meet at Alumni Hall.

"You are as good as your practice partners." Dietrich said. "And right now, we are wrestling well."

"This is the worst we have wrestled all year," Hayes said. "When I looked at this matchup, I could have never seen this result. I surely hope this isn't a barometer of how good we are. We did not wrestle well as a team today."

St. James defeated Seton School 72-12, while Smithsburg beat the Conquistadors, 78-6.

Smithsburg wrestlers pulled out matches at 160 and 189 pounds on last-second moves using quickness and strength as the Leopards pulled gradually away from the Saints (15-8).

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At 160, the Saints' Sam Ashleman used a double-leg takedown to go up on Smithsburg's Jeff Sprecher 4-2 with less than 20 seconds left in the match.

But Sprecher reversed Ashleman and used a headlock and cradle to score two back points at the buzzer to win the match, 6-4.

"Sprecher is a good example of what it takes to wrestle well," Dietrich said. "He wrestled to the end and made something happen. That's what it's all about."

"I'm still trying to figure out where a couple of Sam's backpoints went," Hayes said. "But that was a great match between two very good wrestlers."

At 189, the Saints' Tim Berger and the Leopards' Scott White showed great athleticism and the match resembled a pinball machine.

With White leading 13-9, Berger managed two takedowns in the last 30 seconds, but finally lost a narrow decision, 15-13.

Smithsburg (9-5) recorded five pins against the Saints.

"We wrestled well as a team," Dietrich said. "They have some nice wrestlers but we showed up and worked hard."

"We have to improve," Hayes said. "Our state meet is next weekend and we need to be better."

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