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McGill's fourth region title is a first

February 27, 2005|BY BOB PARASILITI

CUMBERLAND, Md. - In the middle of a night of firsts, Mike McGill was already had his mind focused on a second.

Williamsport's 145-pounder had just put on a wrestling clinic with his 19-1 victory over South Carroll's Tyler Mullen on Saturaday at the Maryland Class 2A-1A West Region Tournament at Fort Hill. In doing so, he became the first wrestler to win four consecutive region titles.

But after a quiet celebration - one that lasted maybe about a minute - McGill turned his thoughts to bigger and better things ... a second state tournament title.

"The next one is bigger," McGill said as calmly as he did while maneuvering around the mat. "I have been thinking about it all along. I got one (state title), now I want two ... But the state will be tough."

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McGill (29-1) was the only Washington County wrestler to win a region title along with the right of a top seeding in next weekend's state tournament at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House. The only other county wrestler to reach the finals was Smithsburg's Jeff Sprecher at 160, but he dropped a 4-2 decision to South Carroll's L.P. Schoonmaker.

The only other area champions were Middletown's Andrew Presnell, who scratched out a 3-2 victory over longtime rival Ralph Stambaugh of Francis Scott Key, and Walkersville's Chad Cotterman at 135 to punch their tickets for a top seed at states.

For McGill, it was a methodical completion of a journey he started from day one of the season.

The senior advanced on a pair of pins to reach the final. He spent the first half of the opening period sizing up Mullen, a freshman, before scoring a takedown at the 1:32 mark. McGill unleashed a trio of near-pin combination to take a 10-0 lead after the first period.

McGill was so much in control each time, he seemed to let Mullen off his back so he could try something else to finish the match.

"All my stuff was working today and he couldn't counter," McGill said. "When I was doing a move, I was seeing things and other openings and went on to try other things."

McGill kept up the pressure in the second period, scoring nine points to end the match with five seconds remaining.

"When Mike is on his game, he's a whirlwind in scoring points," Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic said. "He's the first and only four-time region champion. This is one tough region and Mike has done it going from 103 to 145 (weight classes) which isn't easy. It is a big difference in weight."

Presnell breezed into the finals, scoring pins inf 28 and 33 seconds. Stambaugh put up a strategic battle with each wrestler looking for a spot to make a winning move.

"I have wrestled Ralph a lot," said Presnell, now 32-1. "We have beaten each other a number of times. We are even. It is a friendly rivalry."

After a scoreless first period, Presnell scored a reversal early and Stambaugh was rewarded an escape for a 2-1 score after four minutes. The pair traded points in the third period before being called off the mat with seven seconds remaining.

Presnell stopped Stambaugh from breaking free out of the down position on the restart and took him down to the mat to ride out the win.

"That's what I needed," Presnell said. "I had to break him down until the end and then I heard three, two, one. This is huge. I have never won a region title, so this is really special."

Middletown put two other wrestlers in the finals beside Presnell. Tyler Strube was pinned by South Carroll's Cameron Hobin in the 103 final before Ryan Tice lost 13-7 to Southern Garrett's Daniel Carr at 125.

Washington County suffered a pair of setbacks as two high seeds suffered tough losses en route to the finals. Boonsboro's Bret Nailey, who was the top seed at 125, got swept over by Carr with the momentum of his own move and was pinned in the semifinals. He mananged to finish third and earn a berth in to states.

Smithsburg's Mike Rinebolt, who was looking for a rematch with top seed Tom Rush of Francis Scott Key at 215, was sidetracked in a 4-0 loss to Beall's Chris Lindeman in the semifinals. He, too, won the consolation bracket, taking third with a default.

Francis Scott Key won the team title with 144 1/2 points, to hold off South Carroll by four points. The two teams comfortably led the rest of the 20-team field. Middletown finished fifth with 73 points, while Smithsburg was sixth (72), Walkersville seventh (68) and Williamsport finished ninth (62 1/2) in the top 10.

Brunswick was 13th, North Hagerstown 14th, Catoctin 16th, Tuscarora 17th, Boonsboro was 18th and South Hagerstown 19th in team scoring.

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