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Eichelberger perfects perfect run at Hub Cup

January 13, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

North Hagerstown senior Jim Eichelberger is not the perfect wrestler. Flaws can be found in any grappler's technique or strategy.

But Eichelberger can lay claim to one thing - this season has been perfect.

Eichelberger scored an 11-3 major decision over Linganore's Billy Thomas to win the 152-pound championship of the Hub Cup Invitational on Saturday. Eichelberger won his first Hub Cup to move his record to 20-0.

"This was a pretty big thing for me. It's pretty exciting," said Eichelberger, the lone champion in the area. "Probably my biggest motivation was keeping zero losses. I take a lot of pride in that."

Eichelberger scored three falls en route to the championship bout and avenged last year's third-place finish at the Hub Cup. He bloodied Thomas' nose in the second period and waited out almost four minutes of blood time before scoring a takedown in the final seconds of the third period to notch the major decision.

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"My strategy is to be on the offensive, try to get as many takedowns as I can," he said.

Eichelberger was joined by teammates De'lon Agee and Dan Mazzei in the championship finals, but both were forced to settle for runner-up finishes.

Agee suffered a 9-0 defeat at the hands of Northwest's Sean McCarty at 130 pounds. McCarty, the state's top-ranked wrestler in his class, scored an early takedown and controlled the remainder of the bout.

"I knew he was a good defender," said Agee, who fell short in his bid for a second Hub Cup title. "I would try to shoot, but he can dodge pretty quickly. Maybe I could have shot more and maybe I could have moved around more on the bottom. I was just trying to think of a way to take him down.

"A guy at that skill level knows how to counter anything."

Mazzei lost only his second match of the year when he fell 3-1 to Damascus senior Brian Wittenberger in the 171-pound championship. After a scoreless first period, Wittenberger got an escape and takedown in the second period for all of his points. Mazzei got an escape in the third period, but ran out of time in his attempt to force overtime.

"I think a lot of the kids see the spotlight and see guys getting introduced and they want to be there," said North coach Greg Slick. "I don't know what it feels like, but it must be nice.

"But that's only half the job."

Greencastle-Antrim senior Matt Copenhaver was the only other area wrestler to reach the finals. A first-period takedown was the difference as he dropped a 3-2 decision to Paint Branch's Jake Maddox at 189.

"(Maddox) was just defensive. That's the same style as me," Copenhaver said. "Before I even got here, the goal was to get into the finals, but I thought that was a match I could win."

Williamsport was the top area team in eighth place with 129 points. The Wildcats had five wrestlers in contention for titles when the day started, but each lost in the championship semifinals.

"I knew coming into today that we had a lot of tough matches," said Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic. "I wasn't necessarily surprised, but disappointed."

Robbie Mies (160) rebounded to place third while Kemper Baker (112), Brandon Morales (130), Jesse Duvall (135) and Robbie Mies (160) each took fourth. Bobby Ardinger (119) and Justin Iseminger (125) each lost in the opening round Friday and fought through the consolation bracket and both placed fourth.

"I was very happy with the younger kids coming back after losing. That's a long row to hoe," Rechtorovic said. "To come back through and keep winning, you have to wrestle a lot of good matches."

Joe Breehl (135) and Jake Turner (145) each took third for North, which finished ninth with 125 points. Greencastle was 12th with 66.5 points - Kyle Hansen placed third at 285 - and South Hagerstown was 16th with 26 points.

Mountain Ridge won the team title with 233.5 points, followed by Magurder (192) and Annapolis (158.5). Three-time defending champ Damascus finished fourth with 157.

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