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New format suits Rebel Invitational just fine

January 20, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

When three of the nine teams backed out of the Rebel Invitational at South Hagerstown two years ago, tournament organizers decided it made more sense to change it to a dual-meet tourney.

Two years later, the new format still makes sense as the 10 teams competing today and Saturday at the 25th annual Rebel Invitational are set to go head-to-head through 11 rounds of duals on two mats.

"Everyone seems to like it because kids get more matches this way," South coach Ralph Stottlemyer said.

The field is made up of six teams from Maryland (Williamsport, Boonsboro, South, Westminster, Century and Bowling Brook), two from Pennsylvania (Greencastle-Antrim and James Buchanan) and one each from West Virginia (Martinsburg) and Virginia (John Handley).

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"There are some very good teams coming," Stottlemyer said. "Bowling Brook will have some forfeits, but they're all studs - well-conditioned athletes. And you know Williamsport can't wait to get here. They're coming together, they're healthy and they're fired up.

"And Greencastle has that really good kid."

Greencastle junior Conrad Myers, the Hub Cup champ at 152 pounds last weekend, hasn't lost a bout since his freshman year. He went 25-0 as a sophomore and is 12-0 this season. Myers is No. 3 in the most recent PIAA District 3 Class AA rankings.

JB's Dustin Pine (16-1) is ranked first in the district at 189. If Pine moved up a weight class, he likely still would be No. 1. In his team's dual meet with Milton Hershey on Tuesday, Pine bumped up to 215 to take on Donte Blankey, the top-ranked 215-pounder in the district, and beat him, 9-4.

If JB gets a chance to avenge its 40-31 season-opening loss to Greencastle, it won't happen until the later rounds Saturday when the final team places are decided, because they are in opposite brackets.

Bracket A includes South, Handley, JB, Martinsburg and Boonsboro. Bracket B includes Greencastle, Williamsport, Bowling Brook, Westminster and Century.

After each team faces the other four teams in its bracket through the first five rounds, each bracket winner will face the other bracket's runner-up in the sixth round. Those winners meet for the title in the 11th and final round.

Stottlemyer said the host Rebels might be without their two best wrestlers this weekend. Senior 145-pounder Jake Hockensmith (12-1) had surgery Wednesday to repair the broken nose he suffered at the Hub Cup and likely is done for the season, and senior 215-pounder Jeremy Gross (12-5) has been battling illness.

The first three rounds are today, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Action resumes Saturday at 10:15 a.m. and is expected to last until about 8 p.m.

Last of the unbeatens


St. James junior Jimmy Sutch (18-0), who's No. 2 in the Maryland private-school state rankings, and Greencastle's Myers are the area's only remaining unbeaten wrestlers this season.

Musselman junior Dustin Haislip, the West Virginia Class AAA state champ at 112 last season, suffered his only loss last weekend in the finals of the Winner's Choice/Rotary Tournament at 125. Haislip fell 7-5 to Hyndman's Josh Snyder, who finished eighth at 125 last year in the PIAA Class AA state championships.

Jefferson junior Colton Gustines (15-1) also took his first loss at the same tourney, finishing third at 112.

State rankings


Williamsport's Earl Neville (112), Boonsboro's Bret Nalley (135) and Smithsburg's Justin Hovermale (160) each is still ranked sixth in Maryland Class 2A-1A.

In the West Virginia team poll, Hedgesville is tied with John Marshall at No. 10 in Class AAA, and Berkeley Springs is No. 10 in Class AA-A.

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