Prep Wrestling: North turns its focus to county tourney

February 16, 2012|By ANDREW MASON |

While Williamsport is the three-time defending champion, North Hagerstown is the team to beat Saturday at the 22nd annual Washington County Wrestling Championships at Williamsport.

“North won our conference (MVAL Antietam), went undefeated in the county in dual meets and just won their region duals (4A-3A West) and went to the state duals. They’re the favorites,” Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic said. “But at a tournament this small (five teams), you never know. There have been times we’ve gone in as the heavy favorite and not won it. Anything can happen at this tournament.”

As electrifying as the Hubs’ run to last Saturday’s state dual-meet championships was, it ended in disappointment as they were overwhelmed by River Hill in the semifinals.

“It was tough to get them re-motivated after Saturday’s disappointment. My only hope is that they aren’t too discouraged,” North coach Greg Slick said. “We’ll need to wrestle better this Saturday than last Saturday. That’s going to be a must.”

The Hubs, who finished a distant second to Williamsport last year, last took home the Clyde Downs Trophy as county champs in 2008 — the last year Williamsport didn’t win it.

“Winning the county tournament is a goal for our team every year,” Slick said. “Hopefully we’ll meet that goal this year.”

“Williamsport is the defending champ,” he added. “We have to go after them.”

“We’d definitely like to keep the Clyde Downs Trophy,” Rechtorovic said. “But we’re going to have to wrestle well to do it.”

The Hubs have the most No. 1 seeds with six — Mike Tobery (106 pounds), Duncan Yeisley (113), Brendon Colbert (120), Gene Balcita (126), Ryan Hartsock (145) and Kenneth Burrs (170). Yeisley and Colbert are both returning champs.

Williamsport has three top-seeded wrestlers — Killian Baker (138), Zach Shoemaker (160) and Zach Nalley (285).

Baker and Shoemaker both will try to join the short list of four-time county champs. Only 10 wrestlers in county history have accomplished the feat.

“That’s rare territory. That’s putting yourself into an elite category,” Rechtorovic said. “That’s been a goal for both of them since the beginning of the year.”

Smithsburg also has three No. 1 seeds — Kian Roberts (132), Chase Scott (152) and Travis Leopold (182) — while South Hagerstown has two — Chris Collins (195) and Marquil Holt (220).

One of the most competitive weight classes is at 285. Nalley, the No. 1 seed, is 1-1 this season against No. 2 Dylan Dopson of North, who’s 1-0 against No. 3 Aaron Rowland of South, who’s 1-0 against Nalley.

The Hubs also have the most No. 2 seeds with five.

“It’s going to be important to have 14 placewinners, 14 kids scoring points for you,” Slick said.

Other returning champs include Williamsport’s Bryan Davis, who’s seeded third at 120, Smithsburg’s Dillan Harbaugh, who’s third at 145, and North’s Connor McHose, who’s second at 182.

Saturday’s schedule is: Preliminary matches at 11 a.m.; semifinals at 11:30; third-place matches at 1 p.m.; and championship finals at 3.

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