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Unbeaten Eichelberger still has a lot more to prove

January 11, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

North Hagerstown's Jim Eichelberger went 30-8, won his second straight Washington County title and was the Maryland Class 2A-1A West runner-up at 140 pounds as a junior last wrestling season.

But it takes a lot more than that to please him.

"I was disappointed last year. I was pretty upset," said Eichelberger, who obviously has pretty high standards.

Going 2-2 at the state tournament and not placing for the second straight year didn't meet them last season.

"The end of the year, that's all that really matters," said the Hubs' senior co-captain.

But that doesn't mean Eichelberger is taking any of this season lightly. Heading into the 21st annual Hub Cup - an 18-team tournament, which begins today and concludes Saturday at North - he's 16-0 at 152.

"I'm feeling really good," Eichelberger said. "I've got a lot of confidence."

While he has never placed at states, he also has never advanced to the championship finals of his home tournament. He placed third at 140 at last year's Hub Cup.

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"Being able to walk out in that gym in the spotlight is an important thing," North coach Greg Slick said.

Eichelberger wants more than the spotlight.

"I don't want to just make the finals," he said. "I want to win it."

Eichelberger - an honorable mention in the most recent Maryland state rankings - still has a lot to prove.

"I personally hope that he doesn't get ranked," Slick said. "I think that will just fuel his fire."

South Hagerstown, Williamsport and Greencastle-Antrim are the other area teams that will compete at North this weekend.

North senior De'lon Agee (130) is the area's only returning champ. He won at 119 last year.

The Tri-State's other unbeaten wrestlers are St. James sophomore Joey Sutch (11-0 at 119), Chambersburg senior Joey Wilmot (18-0 at 160) and Berkeley Springs senior Cody Reed (18-0 at 189).

Sutch is the younger brother of Jimmy Sutch, who placed second in the Maryland private-school state championships at 171 as a senior at St. James last season.

Wilmot is ranked second in PIAA District 3-AAA by The Patriot-News of Harrisburg.

Reed - the reigning West Virginia AA-A champ at 189 - is, not surprisingly, ranked first in the AA-A state rankings.

Berkeley Springs, ranked seventh in its class, has five other ranked wrestlers.

Derek Hovermale is third at 112, Brad Reed is fourth at 119, Josh Connor is fifth at 125, Damen Clapper is sixth at 130 and Jake Stotler is fourth at 285.

Ranked West Virginia Class AAA wrestlers include: Hedgesville's Jon Kriss (fifth at 125), Jesse Kemmerer (eighth at 135) and Bill Forquer (second at 152); Musselman's Luke Dawson (fifth at 145) and Jared Weatherholtz (third at 189); and Jefferson's Dustin Carter (sixth at 135) and Dylan Nick (fourth at 171).

Chambersburg's Jimmy Hughes is second at 119 in Class AAA and James Buchanan's Derek Straley is fourth at 171 in Class AA in the PIAA District 3 rankings.

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