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Hubs hope loss to Rams will lead to more victories

December 22, 2007|By ANDREW MASON

Well, at least the North Hagerstown wrestling team got its toughest dual meet of the season out of the way before the new year.

Southern Garrett - the No. 5-ranked team in Maryland, of all classifications, public and private - clearly was the No. 1 team in Hagerstown on Friday evening.

The Rams won 10 of the 14 bouts against the Hubs, including seven by fall, to take the match, 51-21.

North coach Greg Slick said the setback wasn't a total loss.

"If you wrestle somebody that's not very good and beat them, then so what?" he said. "Getting an opportunity to wrestle a good team, I don't think you can go wrong. We're going to face a lot of those guys at regionals."

The Hubs (6-5) got a pair of wins from their two returning Maryland 2A-1A state qualifiers from last season - junior Jake Turner (145 pounds) and senior Jim Eichelberger (152) - and two more from two newcomers - freshman Randy Wyne (103) and sophomore Dan Mazzei (171). Mazzei was an All-Area Second Team wrestler for Mercersburg Academy last season.

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"Southern Garrett's solid. They're tough," Eichelberger said. "But I thought we had a chance. Coach Slick had us ready to go."

Wyne pinned Nick Stewart in 1:05 in the first bout of the night to give North a 6-0 lead.

But the Rams (2-0) won the next six bouts for a commanding 30-6 advantage. Their last two wins in that run were heartbreakers for the Hubs. Senior De'lon Agee, a state placewinner at 103 as a sophomore, suffered his first loss of the season, falling 10-9 in a triple-overtime thriller to Jakob Scheffel, the Rams' freshman phenom, at 135. And senior Joe Breehl dropped a 6-5 decision to Nicholas Brant at 140.

"Agee has grown, and he's still trying to learn how to use those longer sets of limbs," Slick said. "There can only be good things that come out of this. You get an opportunity to analyze mistakes and make improvements."

After Turner stopped the run with a 5-1 win at 145, cutting the Hubs' deficit to 30-9, Eichelberger could barely contain himself when he stepped on the mat to face Nolan Marple at 152.

Eichelberger, Agee and Breehl are North's senior captains.

"We're like brothers. I just wanted to hammer the kid after watching those two get knocked off," said Eichelberger, who decked Marple in 1:19 to improve to 11-0 on the season and make it a 30-15 match.

After Southern Garrett's Kody Lewis defeated Devin Martinez 6-2 at 160, Mazzei raised his record to 11-0, pinning Derek Dewitt in 3:13.

Leading 33-21, the Rams responded with three straight pins to end the night.

Southern Garrett coach Dave Taylor said he couldn't have asked for much more from his high-powered team.

"It was reasonably close to the score I was expecting. I didn't think we could win all of them," he said. "We've got some guys hurt right now. We're not at full strength. But we're deep, so we can deal with that."

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