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Hubs better, but they're not Ram tough yet

February 05, 2006|By ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

North Hagerstown entered Saturday's dual meet with Southern Garrett on a seven-match winning streak, a much improved Hubs wrestling team than the one that went 1-3 to begin this season.

The No. 6 Hubs still have some room for improvement as they learned in their 48-24 loss to the Rams.

"We knew that Southern Garrett was going to be really, really tough," North coach Greg Slick said. "Our team is getting better, but we still have a ways to go to be able to wrestle with the top teams."

With the victory, the Rams (14-0) clinched the top seed for the four-team Maryland Class 2A-1A West dual-meet championships, which they will host Wednesday. The first-round matchups are Southern Garrett vs. Liberty and Walkersville vs. Beall. The Rams were regional runners-up each of the last two years.

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North (8-4) didn't seem to be very intimidated Saturday.

"They're a tough team and everything, but we figured we'd come out and give them a good run and just hope for the best," Hubs senior Michael Cline said.

In the opening bout of the match at 215 pounds, Cline quickly fell into a 4-1 hole, before pinning Brandon Manko in 1:49 for a 6-0 North lead.

"I was down, but ... I just gave it what I could and turned it around," Cline said. "We've been working hard in practice. We just had our minds set that we could do it."

North's Delon Agee pinned Josh Arnold in 5:15 at 103 to give the Hubs a 12-6 lead through three bouts. After the Rams won the next three to take a 19-12 lead, Jimmy Eichelberger answered with a pin at 130 to cut it to 19-18.

"North didn't wrestle scared," Rams coach Dave Taylor said. "They wrestled just like it was another match. It's nice to be the underdog. There's nothing to lose."

The Hubs, however, only won one more bout, getting a pin from Derek McCarty at 171.

"Our kids wrestled really tough in some places, and I'm proud of them," Slick said. "But there were some weight classes where we didn't rise to the occasion."

The Hubs made three of Southern Garrett's five 2A-1A state-ranked wrestlers work for their victories. Tyler Hartman kept his 275 bout against No. 4 Sean Sisler scoreless for two periods before getting pinned in 5:24; Justin Ratliff, who's No. 3 at 152, squeaked by Josh Borland 8-5 at 160; and Joey Lamp kept it close in a 6-2 loss at 189 against No. 4 Justin Fitzwater.

"If we were playing horseshoes, we would have been OK," Slick said, "because we were really close."

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