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Hunt for mat title down to chosen few

March 05, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Winning a trip to the Maryland State Wrestling Tournament is one thing. Winning at the tournament is another.

Of the 23 area wrestlers who qualified to compete at the 36th annual state championships at University of Maryland's Cole Field House, only three are still alive in the hunt for gold following Friday's action. The tourney concludes today.

Williamsport's Mike McGill (145 pounds), Walkersville's Chad Cotterman (135) and Middletown's Andrew Presnell (275) each went 2-0 to earn a berth in this morning's Class 2A-1A semifinals and secure at least a top-six placing.

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For the fourth straight year, McGill is in the semis, where he is 1-2 overall. After a pair of heartbreaking losses his freshman and sophomore seasons, the Wildcat redeemed himself by winning the 135-pound title as a junior.

He made it look easy Friday, pinning Kent's Nick Redman in 40 seconds in the first round and Hammond's Jeff Nuss in 1:37 in the quarterfinals.

"I didn't want to mess around too much, because anything can happen here," McGill said.

He now is two victories away from becoming a two-time champion . He already has ensured himself a place in tournament history as a four-time placewinner.

"I saw the list of four-time placewinners, and it's a real hard thing to do," McGill said. "That's a nice goal that I got to check off, but I still want to get those two wins tomorrow. ... I feel pretty confident. That's about all I can say."

Cotterman finished second to McGill at 135 last season. For the Lions senior to get back to the finals, he'll have to get by Owings Mills' Ryan Nash in the semis. Nash beat Cotterman 4-1 earlier this season.

"I think whoever wins our semifinal will take the tournament," said Cotterman, who advanced with a pair of major decisions Friday. "It will be a good match. I'm ready for it. If I don't take it now, I'll never have that chance again. I'm going for the gold."

Presnell, who placed third at 275 last year, entered the tournament as the top-ranked heavyweight in the state of all classifications, public and private. And he didn't even know it.

"I never check it," said Presnell of his ranking. "Rankings don't mean anything."

The senior lived up to his top billing Friday, pinning both of his opponents. He is aware of the expectations.

"There's so much expectation," Presnell said. "Today at school was a 'Good luck' fest. Usually with wrestling, nobody cares. At least you know that somebody cares."

While only a trio of seniors survived the championship rounds, 14 area wrestlers still are alive in the Class 2A-1A consolation brackets after each went 1-1 Friday.

They are: Boonsboro's Bret Nalley (125); Brunswick's Terry Bartholomew (119); Middletown's Tyler Strube (103), Ryan Tice (125) and Leif Huber (145); North Hagerstown's Jon Breehl (152), Dean Staley (171) and Andrew Brigham (275); Smithsburg's Derick Quillen (140), Jeff Sprecher (160) and Mike Rinebolt (215); Tuscarora's Andrew Hyrkas (119); Walkersville's Kyle Crapster (171); and Williamsport's Earl Neville (103)

"Hopefully I wrestle just like that tomorrow," said Breehl, who stayed alive by pinning Reservoir's Aaron Solomon in 49 seconds in their first-round consolation bout. "You just have to come out ready to go. Senior year, any match can be my last match at this point."

Thomas Johnson's Brendan Walmsley (215) and Joe Ellis (275) each went 1-1 in Class 4A-3A.

Today's schedule is: Consolation second-round matches, 9:30 a.m.; championship semifinals, 11; consolation quarterfinals, 1 p.m.; consolation semifinals, 2:15; consolation finals, 4; championship finals, 6:30.

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