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Leopards meet their matches

December 15, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - Last season, Smithsburg won a school-record 19 dual meets.

Wednesday night, the reigning MVAL Antietam champion Leopards equaled their number of losses from last season, falling to 0-2 with a 42-27 setback to visiting Brunswick in their conference opener.

"We lost a lot of guys," said Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich, who lost six starters - including state placewinners Derick Quillen, Jeff Sprecher and Mike Rinebolt - to graduation. "When you do that, you're using a lot of new kids and putting them into new spots, and you have to take what they can give you.

"Unless you have a solid team all the way through, it's going to be how you match up. We didn't match up real well tonight."

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The matchups went the Leopards' way early. Smithsburg won four of the first five bouts to take an 18-3 lead, getting pins from Brandon Knight (152 pounds) and Justin Hovermale (171) and decisions from Alex Akers (160) and Daniel Rinebolt (189).

"Even then, we still knew it was going to be close. We knew we matched up well with them," Brunswick coach Stu Wilkinson said. "There was no reason to panic at that point."

Brunswick (1-0, 1-0) won the next six bouts to take a 36-18 lead. Andrew Tilles began the run with a pin at 215 and Terry Bartholomew, a state place winner last season, capped it with a win by decision at 125. In between for the Railroaders, Larry Burdette (275), David Levielle (112) and Mike Minch (119) each won by fall and Trevor Barrick (103) won by forfeit.

"It was exciting," Wilkinson said. "You're putting kids on the mat not knowing what will happen."

"We were doing pretty good and had the match in control, but then we kind of fell apart," said Hovermale, Smithsburg's junior co-captain. "We've got a young team. This year is a building year. Hopefully, we'll get better and win some matches. We need to start working with the rookies. More wins from the rookies means more points for us as a team."

Brian Orye clinched Brunswick's victory by avoiding the pin at 130, losing 11-5 to Logan Miss - Smithsburg's lone senior and other co-captain - to make it a 36-21 match with two bouts left.

Jon Gauss completed Smithsburg's scoring with a pin at 135, and Corey Smith completed Brunswick's with a pin at 140 in the final bout of the night.

"That's the first time in Brunswick history that we've beaten Smithsburg in a dual match, from what I hear," Wilkinson said. "What a way to start off the year, because they're a heck of a team and a class program."

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