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County champ

Smithsburg wrestler first female to win title

Smithsburg wrestler first female to win title

February 18, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

WILLIAMSPORT - By just being herself, Smithsburg freshman Monica Hovermale made history Saturday at the 17th annual Washington County Public Schools Wrestling Tournament.

"I just wrestle hard and give it my all," Hovermale said. "I'm just like any other wrestler out there."

The difference is that she's the only female varsity wrestler in the county this season. And Saturday, she became the county's first female champion.

In the championship finals, Hovermale pinned South Hagerstown's Dane Devin in the second period to win the 103-pound weight class.

"I was a little nervous, but when I got into the match, I calmed down," said Hovermale, who improved her season record to 20-11. "It was exciting. (Devin) is good. He fought hard."

She also helped Smithsburg win its third straight county team title.

"My teammates pumped me up a lot," said Hovermale, who pinned North Hagerstown's Jesse Miller in the first period of the semifinals. "Everyone knew we needed to win, and we needed pins."

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Her older brother, Justin, a senior 152-pounder at Smithsburg, won his second straight county title. At 28-0, he also is the county's only unbeaten wrestler this season.

But when he was a freshman, he had to settle for second place in the county.

"Monica's had the benefit of having people beat up on her, like me," Justin said, laughing.

"She wrestled well today," he said. "It was impressive. I'm proud of her."

Her title came as no big surprise, though. She entered the tournament 5-0 against the county's other 103-pounders, as her success as a female wrestle hardly was a novelty anymore.

Saturday, she was just a champion wrestler.

"Having a freshman win is awesome, whether it's a boy or a girl," Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich said. "We've only ever had a few do it."

The previous best showing by a girl at the county tournament was a third-place finish by North Hagerstown's Stacey Hott at 125 pounds in 1996.

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