Ridenour handles pressure as Leopards handle Hubs

January 07, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

All the pressure was on Smithsburg 215-pounder David Ridenour before the No. 3 Leopards' MVAL Antietam wrestling match with rival North Hagerstown even began Saturday.

"As soon as they said in the locker room that it was starting at 103, I was like, 'It's coming down to me,'" Ridenour said. "But I like the pressure, because I work better under pressure."

With Smithsburg clinging to a 34-27 lead with two bouts left - and most likely facing a loss in the final bout at 285 - Ridenour pinned Justin Dehart in 2:44 in the next-to-last bout to seal the match.

Smithsburg won 40-33 to remain undefeated in the Antietam at 3-0 while improving to 7-1 overall. The Hubs fell to 7-9 (1-2).


"The whole time I was thinking, 'I've got to get this done, I've got to get this done,'" said Ridenour, who wasn't entirely sure how he got it done.

"I'm not really sure what happened," he said. "The adrenaline was pumping and I was just going with the flow. He made a mistake, and I just capitalized on it."

Smithsburg led 13-12 after the fifth bout at 130 and was on the verge of breaking open the match. However, North's Joe Breehl and Michael Leonard both overcame 4-0 second-period deficits on their way to victories. Breehl beat Jon Gauss 11-4 at 135 and Leonard pinned Neiko Akers in 4:00 at 140 to give North a 21-13 lead heading into the showdown of the day - Smithsburg's Brandon Knight vs. North's Jim Eichelberger at 145.

Knight and Eichelberger were both Washington County champions and Maryland 2A-1A state qualifiers last season. Knight began the day with a 10-4 season record, while Eichelberger was 16-2.

"I was anticipating a tough match," Knight said. "But I've been wrestling good in practice all week, and I thought I had a chance."

Eichelberger began the third period in the top position with a 2-0 lead.

"I was down two and I knew I had to get some points," said Knight, who got some help.

After being warned for stalling earlier in the match, Eichelberger was penalized twice for it while riding Knight in the third period, which tied the bout at 2-2 with 9 seconds left.

That was enough time for Knight to finally escape and take down Eichelberger for a 5-2 decision.

"He shot and went for the headlock, and I was able to get him around for another two to seal the match," Knight said. "It was pretty exciting."

That cut the deficit to 21-16 for the Leopards, who took the lead for good in the next bout, as Justin Hoverale pinned North's Devin Martinez in 1:22 for a 22-21 lead.

Smithsburg's Alex Akers (160) and Jeremy Harbaugh (189) each won by forfeit - while in between North's Josh Borland won by pin at 171 - as the Leopards took a 34-27 lead to set the stage for Ridenour.

The Leopards jumped out to a 9-0 lead on Monica Hovermale's pin at 103 and Nick Dilandro's decision at 112.

After North answered with Delon Agee's pin at 119 and Adrian Rivas' win by forfeit at 125, Smithsburg's James Reilley won by major decision at 130 as the Leopards retook the lead at 13-12.

North's Michael Wyne (285) won the final bout by pin.

Slick vs. Slick

Moments before the JV bout at 171 began, longtime North coach Greg Slick took a seat in the bleachers, where he quietly watched the action with members of his family.

It was the first time his son, Smithsburg sophomore Jeb Slick, had competed against his Hubs.

"That's the only way I could figure out how to do it the right way," Greg Slick said. "I've explained to the kids that I can't coach against my own kid.

"If my kid wins, I can be a proud papa. If my wrestler wins, I can be a proud coach."

Jeb Slick pinned Robert Gates in 1:32.

"I'm a proud father," the coach said.

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