A day after losing two dual meet matches in a tri-meet that they thought eliminated them from the dual meet playoffs, the Catonsville wrestling team heard a message over the morning announcements that was even better than if they announced school was closing early.
The Comets heard that they had advanced to the Class 4A-3A North Region dual meet playoffs as the fourth and final seed.
When they left their own gym Wednesday night after losing to Oakland Mills, 31-24, and defending state champion Winters Mill, 57-10, they thought they were out of the playoffs.
As it turns out, Mervo, who they thought had passed them, actually had the same amount of losses (3) as the 11-3 Comets, but fewer wins.
Digital Harbor, who they also thought leap-frogged them, did not have the required number of matches (11) because they never wrested Frederick Douglas because they didn't have a program, so they finished with 10 matches.
"It was pretty hard on them when they lost (to Oakland Mills), but we were pretty happy when we found out we got in," Catonsville coach Eric Warm said.
The Comets will face top-seeded host Urbana on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 5:30: p.m. with the winner facing the winner of second-seeded Hereford and third-seeded Patterson immediately both opening matches are complete.
Catosnville thought they had squandered the playoff berth when Oakland Mills rallied from five points down with two matches left.
Oakland Mills coach Brad Howell knew he had two of his top wrestlers coming up at 160 and 170 pounds.
And sophomore Jaron Smith and junior Dylan Juskus delivered — with pins — and the visiting Scorpions overcame a 24-19 deficit.
The victory put the Scorpions (23-6 overall, 10-4 league) in the Class 1A-2A South Region dual meet tournament behind top-seeded Glenelg.
“I told them after the match that was the best match you have wrestled all year,” Catonsville coach Eric Warm said. “We fell a little bit short, but the two teams were close and they got the job done and we didn't."
“We are probably the no. 2 or 3 seed so this was kind of a win or go home scenario with both of us,” said Howell after the match.
Catonsville came out in the first two bouts and registered dramatic wins.
At 182, Catonsville’s Trevar Jackson took a 3-1 lead on Dominick Clarke on a takedown with 41 seconds left in the third period, but Clarke’s reversal tied it with 23 seconds left.
After the pair went out of bounds, Jackson, got to his feet on the restart for an escape with 13 seconds left and held on for the one-point decision.
At 195, Catonsville’s TJ Henry traded the lead five times with Robby Happy, before Happy appeared to take control with a takedown for an 11-9 lead with 37 seconds left in the third period.
Henry earned an escape with 30 seconds left and then got the match-winning takedown with :04 remaining.
When Jordan Reynolds pinned Joseph Celtnieks at 220, the Comets had a 12-0 lead and Scorpion coach Howell was concerned.
“We knew the first two matches put us in a dire straits type of situation and looking up (down 12-0) we were in a hole, but I knew we had some hammers coming up,” Howell said.
They erased the lead and tied it 12-12 when Roy Kadje (285), Dakota Thompson (106) and Cody Thomas (113) all won.
Ryan Whittington’s (120) tough 2-1 triumph over Anthony Ahumada pushed the Comets back in front before Zach Hensley’s (126) major decision gave the Scorpions back the lead, 16-15.
Matt Claxton (132) made it 19-15, but the Comets answered with victories by Kamal Musallum (138), Sean Thrasher (145) and Joseth Hylton (152), giving them a 24-19 lead, but setting the table for the final two Scorpion pins.
Smith, coming off a title at the Snowverlea Tournament at Overlea High over the weekend, stopped Manny Miranda while leading 5-2 in the third period and Juskus pinned Norris Holloway in the second period after falling behind 2-0 just 35 seconds into the first period.
“I like to see Jaron and Dylan sitting up top, but we knew we had to get there,” said Howell, whose squad was second to Hereford at the Snowverlea tournament.
Against Winters Mill in the nightcap, the Comets did get another pin from Reynolds and winning decisions by Whittington (6-5) and Thrasher (17-4).
Oakland Mills 31 Catonville 24
182: Trevar Jackson (C) dec. Dominick Clarke (OM), 4-3. (3-0)
195: TJ Henry (C) dec. Robby Happy (OM), 12-11. (6-0)
220: Jordan Reynolds (C) pin Joseph Celtnieks, 2:59. (12-0)
285: Roy Kadje (OM) dec. Calloway Lee, 3-0. (12-3)
106: Dakota Thompson (OM) tech fall Andrew Southwell (C), 17-2. (12-8)
113: Cody Thomas (OM) maj. Mike Thome (C), 9-1. (12-12)
120: Ryan Whittington (C) dec. Anthony Ahumada (OM), 2-1. (15-12)
126: Zach Hensley (OM) maj. TJ McDonald (C), 14-1. (16-15)
132: Matt Claxton (OM) dec. Connor Hurd (C), 2-0. (19-15)
138: Kamal Musallum (C) dec. Aaron Wood (OM), 6-4. (19-18)
145: Sean Thrasher (C) dec. Bradley Montacino (OM), 4-1. (21-19)
152: Joseth Hylton (C) dec. Nerio Bunn (OM), 8-1. (24-19)
160: Jaron Smith (OM) pin Manny Miranda (C), 5:09. (25-24)
170: Dylan Juskus (OM) pin Norris Holloway (C), 3:09 (31-24)