Wrestling: Baltimore County Championships

Jordan Rhudy of Perry Hall gets a hug from coach Jake Roche after defeating Sam Pellerito of Carver for first place in the 113-pound weight class. (Brian Krista, Patuxent Publishing / February 18, 2012)

For the third straight year and seventh time since 2002, Owings Mills kept the Baltimore County championship all in the family.

Owings Mills had 10 wrestlers who placed top six in the 14 weight classes and had the team title wrapped up before the championship round on Saturday night at Perry Hall High.

Coach Guy Pritzker noted it was the 22nd straight year the Eagles have won one of the big three postseason tournaments.

"Before these kids were born, we've won either a county, regional or state title," Pritzker said.

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Owings Mills (205.5) produced two champions and finished ahead of host Perry Hall (181), who crowned a team-high four county champs.

Hereford (148.5) was third, with three finalists, while Eastern Tech (116) was fourth — with a pair of champions and Franklin (114) was fifth — with three finalists.

"It's hard to win this county," Pritzker said. "There have been years we've won states and haven't won counties. Perry Hall had four champs and didn't win counties."

"We had six in the semis and thought the four that won were going to win, but the other two had great chances," Perry Hall coach Jake Roche said.

The Gators first champ was sophomore Zeke Salvo (34-1), who defended his county crown with a 9-2 decision over Hereford's Anthony Genco (32-5).

"I was familiar with him and I had a gist of how he wrestles because we wrestled at the same junior league (Team Kolat)," said Salvo, who admitted that didn't ease his tension before the match. "Any championship match, the atmosphere just gets you pumped."

He was also pumped when teammates Jordan Rhudy (113, 31-5,), Shaun Murphy (126, 34-1) and Matt Green (220, 4-0) captured county crowns.

"We are always looking for all of us to do our best," Salvo said.

The same holds true for Owings Mills, who crowned its first champ when Zach Shapiro (26-8) pinned Milford Mill's Jay Henderson at 132.

"He took bottom and was about to escape, and when he got up in neutral I just took the cradle and brought him down to the mat," Shapiro said. "Getting that pin definitely felt great."

Shapiro's pin in the finals was the most satisfying surprise for Pritzker, because he wasn't one of the top two seeds.

Not to be outshined, Eagle senior Taran Carr won his third county title by pinning Parkville's Lavon Pratt at 160.

His early second period pin came with some peril.

Carr, a defending state champ at 145, fell behind 4-1 with 48 seconds remaining in the first period, but rallied with a takedown and three back points for a 6-3 lead at the break.

Less than a minute later, it was over.

"I felt it worked the first time (to his back), but it was something I was doing wrong with my turn," Carr said.