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Agee, Nalley make early state-ments

March 04, 2006|By ANDREW MASON

COLLEGE PARK, Md.

Many athletes succumb to state-tournament pressure.

Not North Hagerstown sophomore Delon Agee. He got rid of his jitters last weekend.

Agee -

who barely qualified for the Maryland Class 2A-1A State Wrestling Championships, placing fourth in the West region last Saturday - went 2-0 in the 103-pound weight class Friday. He clinched a top-six finish for a spot on the podium when the state tournament concludes today at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House.

"I was a little nervous at the region tournament," Agee said. "Today, it just felt regular. I didn't feel any pressure this time. It was just a lot easier."

Of the six Washington County wrestlers who qualified for states, Agee and Boonsboro senior Bret Nalley (135) are the only ones left in the title hunt. North's Jim Eichelberger (130), Josh Borland (160) and Derek McCarty (171) each went 1-1 to remain alive in the consolation brackets.

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Agee

(26-5) upset Pikesville's Ben Baker, the North region champion, 10-4 in the first round. In the quarterfinals, he pinned Howard's Tyler Bulger with 2 seconds left in overtime.

"I had nothing to lose," said Agee, who will face West champ Tyler Strube (31-1) of Middletown in the this morning's semifinals. "I just had to suck it up."

Nalley -

a 13-4 winner over Glenelg's Dan Marsh in the first round - came back from a 3-1 third-period deficit in the quarterfinals, scoring a reversal and three back points for a 6-3 victory over Pikesville's Daniel Gerber.

"You just have to keep on wrestling," Nalley said, "because you never know what's going to happen - like Agee's match (against Bulger). That match was awesome."

Nalley

(35-2) will be looking for some revenge in the semifinals against Calvert's Ryan Buff (38-0). Buff beat Nalley 17-8 in the state quarterfinals last year en route to the 125-pound title.

"I couldn't stop his takedowns. He basically just took me down and cut me loose the whole time," Nalley said of last year's battle with Buff. "I'm going to try to take him down this time. If I can take him down to the mat, I have a good shot of beating him."

Even if Nalley loses to Buff, he's already locked up a top-six finish after failing to place at states the previous two years.

"Whatever else I can win now will just make it better," said Nalley, who won his first region title last weekend.

McCarty

(22-9), a fourth-place region finisher, upset South champ Jeremy Askew of Oakland Mills 5-2 in the first round, before falling 7-5 to Rising Sun's Will Maegerle in the quarterfinals.

After dropping his first bout, Eichelberger (24-5) came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat Central's George LaCour 6-4 in the consolation first round.

In his consolation match, Borland (21-9) built a 7-0 lead on Milford Academy's Charles Blue before pinning him in 3:23 as all four Hubs lived to fight another day.

"We're peaking at the right time," North coach Greg Slick said. "Everybody is looking sharp and feeling confident."

Smithsburg's

Brandon Knight

went 0-2 at 145, finishing his sophomore season with a 28-10 record.
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