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Hovermale seizes the moment

December 31, 2005|By Chris Carter

SMITHSBURG - Once Smithsburg junior Justin Hovermale looked at the clock during his bout with Springbrook's Joe Klass, it was as good as done.

Hovermale scored a takedown in the closing seconds of the third period to notch a 4-2 victory over Klass in the 160-pound championship bout of the Leopard Holiday Invitational. Hovermale was the lone champion for Smithsburg.

"I looked up and saw there was 16 seconds left and I felt like I had to finish it," Hovermale said. "I think he was kind of trying to send it to overtime, but I wanted to end it."

Hovermale and Klass exchanged escapes over the first two periods and were deadlocked at 2-2. With time winding down, Hovermale picked up Klass and slammed him to the mat to break the tie. By the time Klass had broken the grasp of Hovermale, the clock had run out.

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"Justin did a super job out there," said Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich. "He took the guy's strength at the end and scored a big win."

Hovermale and Klass were familiar with one another from last year's meeting at the invitational, when the two clashed at 152. Hovermale won that bout, 6-2.

"Not much changed from the match we had last year," Hovermale said. "We're a lot alike. We're both defensive wrestlers, but at the end I just thought I needed to get on the offensive. I felt like I had to step it up as an individual to get the team points."

Joining Hovermale in the championship round of the tournament were James Reilley at 119 pounds and Jon Gauss at 135. Reilley dropped a 9-4 decision to Rising Sun's Matt Jackson, while Gauss was pinned by Milford Mill's Casey Clayton in 1:16.

Logan Miss and Brandon Knight picked up fourth-place finishes in helping Smithsburg to an overall fourth-place finish in the 10-team tournament with 132 points. The Leopards trailed champion Rising Sun (260), Springbrook (218 1/2) and Milford Mill (198 1/2).

"I think we overachieved today because we haven't won a match this season," Hovermale said. "I try to use it as a motivator in the locker room."

"We had three guys that all had a chance to be champions," Dietrich said. "The kids are getting more comfortable in their places and this is definitely one we can build on."

n Rising Sun ran away with the tournament championship with by far the best squad. The Tigers led Springbrook by 28 1/2 points before the championship round and increased the margin to 41 1/2 with seven individual champions.

n Milford Mill 103-pounder Darian Allen was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. Allen scored a forfeit and a pair of pins - a 48-second victory over Ethan Ulrich in the championship bout and a second-period win over Springbrook third-place finisher Andy Tran.

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