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Blonde ambition

Light-haired Leopard Reilley highlights County run

Light-haired Leopard Reilley highlights County run

February 24, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

SMITHSBURG - Smithsburg wrestlers James Reilley, Tyler Scott and Alex Akers had more in common than their recently dyed bleach-blonde hair on Saturday at the Washington County Wrestling Championships.

"We all beat somebody we were supposed to lose to," said Reilley, who became just the seventh four-time Washington County champion with a 3-1 decision over Joe Breehl at 135 pounds.

"Four sounds pretty good, but it's just a stepping stone to what I want to accomplish."

Reilley was among five Leopards to reach individual glory, but North Hagerstown captured the team title with 208 points for its first county championship since 2002.

Three-time defending champion Smithsburg was second with 199 points, followed by Williamsport with 198.

"The way the team scores were, I knew it was going to be really close down to the end," said North coach Greg Slick, whose Hubs trailed by seven points entering the championship round. "I honestly thought we had a shot at it, but the kids had to wrestle well."

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Jim Eichelberger, one of five Hubs champions, came dangerously close to losing his undefeated season in the 145-pound bout against Smithsburg senior Brandon Knight. Eichelberger trailed 2-1 before scoring an escape with 15 seconds left in the third period and barely avoided a takedown in the final moments to send the bout to overtime.

The Hubs senior, now 29-0, pinned Knight with 10 seconds left in the extra period to win his third county title.

"I was getting close with the ankle pick, so that's what I went with to get him on his back," Eichelberger, who beat Knight 10-3 in a dual meet earlier this season.

"He wrestled a lot better. That was my toughest match all year because I've never had to go to overtime to win."

De'lon Agee (130 pounds), Jake Turner (152), Dan Mazzei (171) and Demetrius Myers (215) added titles for the Hubs. Agee and Mazzei each scored pins, Turner had a major decision and Myers a decision in the championship round to power the Hubs to the team win.

"This was really important to us," Eichelberger said. "We wanted to get it for Coach Slick."

Smithsburg also rallied in the championship round to surpass Williamsport, which held the slim lead after the consolation finals. The Hubs and Leopards each had nine wrestlers in the finals - two more than the Wildcats, who finished with three champions. Kemper Baker won at 112, Justin Iseminger at 125 and Peter Smith at 140.

The Wildcats were 3-1 against county teams in the regular season - the best of the five teams.

"With three teams this close it can all come down to one match," said Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic. "It doesn't have to be in the finals. It can be in the prelims or the third-place matches."

Reilley avenged a 6-2 loss to Breehl at Jan. 6's dual meet. He hasn't lost since.

"We worked so hard in practice that I knew I was going to be in better shape than (Breehl)," said Reilley (23-1). "I think maybe I was a little better prepared this time."

Reilley broke a scoreless tie with an escape and takedown with 1:31 left in the third period. He surrendered an escape but held on for the victory and gave a celebratory fist pump before having his hand raised in victory.

Reilley is the third Smithsburg wrestler with four county titles (John Nogle 1992-95, Kris Dietrich 93-96).

"That's huge. That's the goal of every kid that wins as a freshman," said Leopards coach Joe Dietrich. "I think it kind of snuck up on him until this week."

Scott and Akers, who along with Reilley colored their hair two weeks ago, also won titles in their home gym. Scott pinned Williamsport's Drew Williams in 4:50 and Akers scored an 8-3 decision over Wildcats junior Robbie Mies.

Sophomore Monica Hovermale could be the next four-time champion for Smithsburg, as she won her second title with third-period pin at 103. Nick Dilandro posted a 6-0 decision at 119 to win his first title.

Boonsboro had no individual champions, but outwrestled South Hagerstown in the early rounds to take fourth place with 101 points.

The Rebels rounded out the county with 72 points with heavyweight Dustin Rowland winning the only title against Williamsport's Matt Cody. Rowland scored a penalty point and an escape in the final 17 seconds to tie the bout at 10-10. After a scoreless sudden-death overtime, Rowland got a rideout decision with an escape in the first 30-second overtime.

"I felt pretty confident, but the whole match was tiring," said Rowland, a first-year wrestler. "I was getting up pretty easy during the match, so I figured I could do it again in overtime."

County wrestlers will compete at the Maryland Class 2A-1A West region championships next weekend.

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