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One for the (rule) books

December 24, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

The Williamsport-North Hagerstown wrestling wars have always been closely contested affairs, but Thursday's match in the Hubs' gym took things to another level.

After 14 bouts, both teams had 39 points, seven victories, six pins, no disqualifications or penalties, no technical falls and no major decisions. It all came down to the rarely used sixth tiebreaker - total first points scored - in which the Wildcats held a 16-6 edge on the Hubs and thus were declared the winners, 40-39, after five minutes of numbers-crunching.

Williamsport (5-2, 3-0) beat North (1-5, 0-2) the same way the Wildcats edged Middletown 39-36 less than two hours earlier - with 189-pound senior Matt Smith, who wrestled as a freshman but skipped two seasons before rejoining the team this year, earning the winning pins in each.

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"Matt Smith won it for us against Middletown, and he won it for us against North," Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic said. "We convinced him to come back out. He grew into a big, strong kid, and he won us two dual meets today.

"I was trying to go through all the tiebreakers in my head. Every time we wrestle (North Hagerstown coach Greg) Slick, he pulls out all the stops and he finds a way. He's a great coach. It's a great rivalry, it's our biggest match. We haven't beaten them in a regular-season meet in five or six years. We lucked out today."

The Hubs got out to a flying start behind Jordon Granville's pin at 215 pounds, Andrew Brigham's forfeit win at 275 and Delon Agee's 5-4 decision over Mark Mayo at 103 for a 15-0 lead.

Williamsport came back with Earl Neville's 9-6 decision over Brad Trail at 112 and Peter Smith's third-period pin at 119 to make it 15-9, before North's Dustin Pogue got a first-period pin at 125 to make it 21-9.

The Wildcats won the next four bouts, two on pins by Todd Judd at 130 and Jesse Duvall at 135 and two on forfeits at 140 and 145, to take a 33-21 lead, but the Hubs turned the tables by getting pins at the next three weights - Jon Breehl at 152, Derek McCarty at 160 and Dean Staley at 171 - to set up the final match at 189 between Matt Smith and Ian Sundstrom, a fast-paced bout which lasted less than 90 seconds.

Smith's quick takedown made it 2-0, but Sundstrom escaped and takedown gave him a 3-2 lead. Back came Smith with his own escape and takedown for a 5-3 lead, and Smith closed the door by pinning Sundstrom in 1:22 - leaving all eyes looking at the scorer's table for the final verdict.

It's always very exciting wrestling these county matches," Slick said. "I don't think I can say enough about that rivalry."

Middletown defeated North 43-31 in the evening's first match.

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