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County delivers dozen to regional semis

February 28, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - For a freshman, Smithsburg 140-pounder Justin Hovermale has a lot of gumption.

"I'd like to win regionals all four years," he said, "because it's never been done before."

That's a fairly lofty goal for someone who, before Friday, had never wrestled a regional bout. But who can blame Hovermale for wanting as much as he can swallow after his first bite went down so smoothly?

Hovermale pinned Beall's Ryan Lewis in 1:12 in the championship quarterfinals during first-day action at the Maryland Class 2A-1A West Wrestling Tournament at Smithsburg High School.

"I was nervous before I came into this, but now I can relax," Hovermale said. "I have a lot more confidence."

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He's one of a dozen Washington County athletes who advanced to today's championship semifinals. Williamsport led the way with five quarterfinals winners - Spencer Peyton (119), Ryan Bowers (125), Mike McGill (135), Jeff Short (140) and Adam Bridendolph (145).

"We didn't wrestle our best, but we got it done," Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic said. "In a tournament like this, moving on is what's important."

Also still alive in the championship rounds are North Hagerstown's Jonathan Breehl (152), South Hagerstown's Adam Hockensmith (130) and Eric McPherson (189) and Smithsburg's Derick Quillen (130), Jeff Sprecher (160) and Mike Rinebolt (215).

Rinebolt avenged last weekend's double-overtime loss to North's Daniel Fox in the county finals, edging the Hub, 3-1.

Leopard Scott White, the top seed at 189, wasn't quite as fortunate in the quarters. Walkersville's Igor Chudinov, who had to earn his eighth seed by winning a pig-tail match earlier in the day, came back from an early 6-0 deficit to pin White in 5:00.

"I believed in myself," Chudinov said. "We condition every day and it shows. He was dominating me in the first period and then I turned the tide."

Walkersville, this season's West duals champ and the defending region tourney winner, begins today in third place with 45 points. Beall is first with 50, South Carroll is second with 49 and Williamsport and Smithsburg are tied for fourth with 39 each.

"It's more individual now, but you still rely on your teammates for support," Chudinov said. "We won the regional duals and now, hopefully, we are going to win this."

He'll be joined in the semis by teammates Gleason Sweeney (103), Chad Cotterman (135), Mike Smith (140), Dan Caywood (145), Jimmy Francis (171) and Billy Burke (215).

The area's other quarterfinals winners were Brunswick's Terry Bartholomew (112), Mike Leveille (140) and Chad Stocks (160) and Middletown's Matt Maddox (130), Mike Schlepp (135), Dan McCallion (215) and Andrew Presnell (275).

The most heated competition may come in today's consolation semifinals where the final berths for next weekend's state tourney will be decided. The top four in each weight class advance.

"States is a pretty big goal. I'd really like to make it this year," said Boonsboro 112-pounder Brett Nalley, a two-time Washington County champ. "I've got a good bit of confidence."

After falling in the quarters, Nalley kept his hopes alive in the consolation quarters, pinning Catoctin's Colten Eureka in 1:43.

Other consolation winners included: Williamsport's Earl Neville (103) and Rob Shawley (275); Middletown's Ryan Tice (112) and Mitch Houck (160); North's David Broadwater (119) and Fox (215); Catoctin's Andy Kokoski (125) and Rick Toms (152); and Smithsburg's Dylan Miss (152), Nate Hayes (171) and White (189).

Today's action kicks off with the championship semifinals at 11 a.m., followed by the consolation semifinals at 1 p.m., consolation finals at 3 and championship finals at 5.

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