Leopards learn experience matters

December 20, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

The Smithsburg wrestling team had its first dual meets of the season Wednesday night against Brunswick and South Hagerstown.

Leopards coach Joe Dietrich quickly learned his more experienced wrestlers have only gotten better. His younger wrestlers - well, they could use a bit more experience.

The Smithsburg seniors combined to go 9-1, while the rest of the squad went just 8-7 and the Leopards settled for split, falling 42-33 to undefeated Brunswick before topping the Rebels, 56-23.

Seniors Brandon Knight (152 pounds), James Reilley (140), Dave Ridenour (215) and Dan Rinebolt each went 2-0 for the Leopards, while Jeff Poffenberger went 1-1.


"All the seniors wrestled well. We were getting some pretty decent matches out of them," Dietrich said. "Some of our younger guys need to improve. Any kind of competition is experience, and experience and mat time is all you can do to get better."

Brunswick swept the tri-match by opening with a 70-12 victory over South.

The Railroaders trailed Smithsburg early before mounting a comeback in the lightweight classes. The Leopards (1-1) won the first three bouts - Knight opened with a 5-1 decision, junior Alex Akers followed with a 13-second pin at 160 and Rinebolt scored a pin in 1:54 - to take a 15-0 lead.

But Brunswick (9-0) answered with wins in six of the next eight bouts - four pins and two forfeits - to take a 36-24 lead. A 52-second pin by Smithsburg sophomore Dean White at 135 and a 6-0 decision by Reilley pulled the Leopards within three at 36-33 going into the final bout. Brunswick's Brian Orye sealed the win with a first-period pin of Nieko Akers.

"There wasn't a whole lot we could do," Dietrich said.

Travis Leeney, recovering from a sprained ankle, gave one of the Leopards' forfeits at 125 during the Brunswick comeback. He returned in the match against South and was pinned in the first period by Nick Buonocore.

Alex Akers returned from an injury during football season and faired a bit better with two first-period pins. Monica Hovermale also went 2-0 with two forfeits at 103 for the Leopards.

Smithsburg salvaged the split by opening with four straight pins for a 24-0 lead against the Rebels (0-4). The Leopards won 10 of 14 bouts, including six pins and a tech fall. Jeb Slick, Nieko Akers and Nick Dilandro each won to finish with even records for the night.

South 135-pound senior Jake Carder was the lone Rebel to notch two wins - both pins - while Josh Mendez (103-112), Dane Devin (130), Buonocore and Dustin Rowland (285) each went 1-1.

"Most everyone wrestled up one weight class tonight," said South coach Ralph Stottlemyer. "We saw a lot of improvement. The kids were hanging in there, battling, and I didn't see anyone give up."

The Rebels suffered their second-most lopsided defeat of the season against Brunswick.

"It's the way you match up," Stottlemyer said. "I'm just proud that the kids are doing the best they can do. You can't ask any more."

Alex Van Montgen (112), Tyler Bartholomew (119), Zach Morris (125), Mike Minch (130), Orye, Andy Axline (160) and Andrew Tilles (285) each went 2-0 for Brunswick.

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