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Hubs on target to pin Leopards

January 06, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

SMITHSBURG - As the three-time defending Washington County Tournament champions, every time Smithsburg's wrestling team takes the mat against a county rival, the Leopards have targets on their singlets.

On Saturday, North Hagerstown took dead aim and scored a direct hit.

Trailing 22-4 after the first five bouts, the Hubs rallied behind big wins from several wrestlers - including De'lon Agee, Joe Breehl and Jim Eichelberger - to score a 37-31 victory.

"Our kids have been looking forward to this match all season," North coach Greg Slick said. "The county rivalries are a neat thing, and these dual meets are opportunities to find out who the best team is that day."

The dual meet started with the 171-pound bout, and Daniel Mazzei's 10-2 major decision over Daniel Rinebolt gave the Hubs (7-5) a 4-0 lead that didn't last for long.

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Tyler Scott's 12-3 major decision over Jeff Miller tied it at 4. Smithsburg junior Jeb Slick - Greg Slick's son - who has never faced a North wrestler and still hasn't, as he received a forfeit win at 215. David Ridenour followed with a pin of Adam Miller in 1:31 at 275, before Monica Hovermale remained undefeated against Washington County opponents by pinning Aaron Whittington in 39 seconds at 103 for a 22-4 lead.

That's when everything started going North's way. Jesse Miller pinned Jeff Poffenberger in 1:48 at 112 to make it 22-10. After Nick Dilandro gave Smithsburg a 25-10 lead with a 7-1 decision over Carter Baer at 119, Adrian Rivas pinned Travis Leeney in 1:57 at 125 to make it 25-16.

North's Kevin Mothershed received a forfeit win at 130 to make it 25-22, an Agee built a 7-1 lead through 2 1/2 periods before finally pinning Dean White in 5:41 to give the Hubs a 28-25 lead.

"He was strong, so I just went to technique stuff," Agee said. "I got a half (nelson) on him and squeezed as hard as I could."

The surprise of the match came at 140, when Breehl handed James Reilley - one of Smithsburg's two senior captains - a 6-2 defeat for his first loss of the season, giving the Hubs a 31-25 lead. Breehl scored the first five points of the match with a first-period takedown and a second-period escape and takedown.

"Coach has been telling me I seem to wrestle better when I get the first takedown," Breehl said. "Our (middleweights) are where we're strongest, so I figured if I won and Jake (Turner) and Jimmy win, we were going to win."

"The pivotal match was Breehl wrestling against Reilley," Slick said. "I think (Breehl) was able to stay on the offense, keep in action and get scores for six minutes."

Turner used a first-period takedown and three-point nearfall to build a 5-0 lead on the way to a 9-3 decision over Neiko Akers, before Eichelberger stopped Smithsburg's other senior captain, Brandon Knight, 10-3 in the afternoon's most anticipated bout, sealing the victory for North. Eichelberger scored the bout's first 10 points and nearly pinned Knight in the second period, gaining a measure of revenge after losing to Knight last season.

Eichelberger and Knight are Washington County's only two state placewinners returning from last season.

"Let's just say I was thinking about it all night, this morning ... I've been thinking about it since last year," Eichelberger said. "I'm ecstatic."

"That's been building for a year," Slick said. "He's been working hard - not just to do that, there's other goals, but this was one of them."

Smithsburg's Alex Akers pinned Devin Martinez in the final bout at 160, but it was too little, too late in a meet in which four of the Leopards' five seniors tasted defeat.

"They were ready to go, we weren't, and when that happens you're going to lose," Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich said. "They beat our two captains, they were after us and we weren't ready to roll."

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