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Cadets spot Leopards an easy win

February 06, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

SMITHSBURG - Monday night's match with Frederick hardly even qualified as a tuneup for Wednesday for the No. 5 Smithsburg wrestling team.

The Leopards received nine forfeits on their way to a 69-12 victory.

"I wish it would have been a tougher team," said senior Justin Hovermale, Smithsburg's star 152-pounder. "But it was good because there wasn't a big risk for injuries, and we're going into Wednesday with a healthy team."

The Leopards (12-2) have a tough assignment Wednesday, when they'll take the long bus ride to Northern Garrett to take on the top-seeded Huskies (14-0) in the semifinals of the Maryland Class 2A-1A West Duals, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday's other semifinal pits second-seed Southern Garrett (12-2) against third-seed Beall (12-2), also at 5:30 at Northern Garrett. The winners meet in the final at 7:30 with a berth to Saturday's state duals at New Town High School on the line.

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Nobody outside of Smithsburg is giving the fourth-seeded Leopards much of a chance against the Huskies.

"Who knows? It's just like any other contest. That's why you do them," Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich said. "We're going to go up and do what we can and see what happens. I tell the kids that they put their pants on one leg at a time just like anyone else.

"We're not going to juggle the lineup or anything. We're just going up to wrestle tough, our guys against their guys."

Smithsburg's chances will at least be greater than what Frederick's were Monday. With only five wrestlers in their varsity lineup, the Cadets essentially had lost the match before it even began.

"I thought for sure they'd have a full lineup, or at least close to one," Dietrich said. "They were saying stuff about grades and injuries. Who knows?"

The Leopards won three of the five bouts actually contested, getting first-period pins from James Reilley (130 pounds) and Jeremy Harbaugh (189) and a decision from Nick Dilandro (112).

While Hovermale picked up his 101st career victory in his final home match - after receiving a special plaque for No. 100 during the Senior Night ceremony before the match - the win by forfeit snapped his season-long streak of pins.

"It's somewhat depressing," said Hovermale, who is now 25-0 this season with 24 pins. "But I still got six points, so I got the points for the team."

His team will need every last point it can get Wednesday.

"They're one of the best teams in the state," Hovermale said. "If we win, it's awesome. If we lose, we can't be too disappointed as long as everyone wrestles their best."

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