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Wildcats pin Hubs in thriller

December 21, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - Wednesday's wrestling match between MVAL Antietam rivals Williamsport and North Hagerstown was so tightly contested that the reigning conference co-champions exchanged leads eight times over the 14 bouts.

"It seems like it's like that every year with us and them," Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic said. "We're always evenly matched, and it always comes down to one or two matches."

It came down to the final bout this time.

With Williamsport trailing 33-30, senior Mark Mayo pinned North sophomore Chris Wyne in 2:27 at 112 pounds to lift the Wildcats to the 36-33 victory.

"I knew I had to go out there and pin that kid. I had to do it for the team," said Mayo, who took a 5-0 lead into the second period. "This is a big rivalry for the whole team. Beating North was one of our big goals this year."

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Williamsport vs. North was the opening match of a tri-meet with host Middletown. The Knights (9-3) beat the Wildcats 44-30 and the Hubs 47-27 in nonconference action.

Williamsport (3-3, 3-0) stayed unbeaten in the MVAL Antietam, while handing North (6-8, 1-1) its first conference loss.

Smithsburg (3-1, 2-0) is the only other unbeaten team in the MVAL Antietam, and based on their season-opening 36-35 win over Middletown, the Leopards look to be the favorites.

"It's going to be a tight race all the way through," Rechtorovic said.

Down 21-19 after nine bouts against the Hubs, the Wildcats got back-to-back pins from Lake McDonald (189) and Drew Williams (215) to take their biggest lead of the night at 30-21. (Williamsport lost one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct at 215.)

North answered with consecutive pins by Kyle Malcolm (285) and Jesse Miller (103) to go up 33-30 and set the stage for Mayo.

"It was a big-time pressure situation, and Mayo came through," Rechtorovic said. "He put in a lot of work in the offseason, and that's when it all pays off - in matches like that."

"Williamsport's beaten us three straight years, and we beat them the three before that," North coach Greg Slick said. "It's just a real nice rivalry. It's nice to see the kids get fired up."

The best matchup of the opener featured a pair of returning Washington County champions, as Williamsport's Peter Smith edged North's Delon Agee 4-1 at 130.

"Agee placed fifth in the state last season (at 103)," Rechtorovic said. "That was a huge match for Peter and a huge match as far as the dual meet went."

In the second match of the night, Williamsport built a 30-9 lead through eight bouts (125 to 171) against Middletown.

"I knew it was a long way from over," Rechtorovic said.

The Knights won the final six bouts, getting three pins, two forfeits and a tech fall to easily pull away. The hosts led from start to finish against the Hubs in the nightcap.

"We're just really young and we just have so many holes with injuries," Slick said. "Hopefully we'll come back after Christmas a little healthier and with a renewed purpose."

Jim Eichelberger (145), Josh Borland (171) and Malcolm (285) each had two pins for North on Wednesday.

Earl Neville (119, 125), Todd Judd (140), Jesse Duvall (145, 152) and Jimmy Fiorita (160, 171) each went 2-0 for Williamsport.

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