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Wrestling with success

March 06, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Before heading to the University of Connecticut, Middletown senior Andrew Presnell had some business to take care of at the University of Maryland.

Presnell, who will receive a full athletic scholarship to play football for UConn, beginning this fall, won the Class 2A-1A 275-pound title at the 36th annual Maryland State Wrestling Tournament on Saturday night.

Presnell was one of three area wrestlers who advanced to the Class 2A-1A finals. Williamsport senior Mike McGill won at 145 pounds, while Walkersville senior Chad Cotterman was the runner-up at 135.

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Presnell, who finished third at 275 last year, beat Southern of Harwood senior John Hickcox, last year's runner-up, 3-1 in the championship finals.

"It's just amazing. Oh, my," said Presnell, who finished 36-1 for the season and 108-29 for his career. "I don't even know what to say. 'Oh my God,' I guess."

After a scoreless first period, Presnell escaped 44 seconds into the second for a 1-0 lead and extended it to 3-0 40 seconds into the third period on a pair of back points. He gave up one point for stalling with 15 seconds left, but it didn't matter.

"It wasn't the most exciting match, but that's the way it had to be wrestled for me to come through," said Presnell, who pinned all three of his opponents leading to the finals. "I couldn't take bad shots with John Hickcox."

He almost gave up his shot for the title before the season even began.

"I was seriously considering not wrestling because I had to get ready for football," said Presnell, a lineman. "But I wouldn't trade it for anything right now."

McGill (33-1), last year's state champ at 135, won a 3-1 decision over Harford Tech's Matt Kahl (37-5) in the championship finals. The Wildcat took control of the match with a first-period takedown, upped his lead to 3-0 with a second-period escape and protected his lead the rest of the way.

"It doesn't matter how you get it done, you just have to win," Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic said. "Everyone here is so good."

Cotterman (35-3) fell 6-2 to Hereford freshman sensation Josh Asper (39-5) in the finals. It was Cotterman's second straight runner-up finish at 135. He lost to McGill in last year's final.

Cotterman went up 2-0 with a first-period takedown. Asper answered with a reversal to tie it at the end of the opening period, went up 4-2 with a second-period reversal and sealed the match with late takedown in the third.

Leopards go 3-for-3


Smithsburg was the area's most decorated team, sending three wrestlers to states Friday and leaving with three placewinners Saturday.

Jeff Sprecher placed fourth at 160, Mike Rinebolt took fifth at 215 and Derick Quillen was sixth at 140. Sprecher improved two places from his performance at 160 last season, while Rinebolt equaled his from last year at 215.

"Three seniors came down and placed. It's awesome," Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich said. "A lot of people bring more than three and don't have any places. These guys did a great job."

The efforts capped a superb season for the Smithsburg team, which set a school record for dual-meet victories (19) and won the MVAL Antietam Conference and Washington County Tournament titles.

"We had some very good senior leadership and a lot of enthusiasm," Dietrich said. "The younger guys picked up on it from these three guys right here."

When he finally was done coaching for the weekend, Dietrich, in his 27th year at the Leopards' helm, enjoyed a piece of the spotlight. He was honored before the championship finals as one of three new inductees into the Maryland State Wrestling Hall of Fame.

"It's real special, pretty cool," Dietrich said. "A lot of my colleagues I coached with from way back are in there. It's kind of nice to join them."

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