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.
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.
Being behind also lit up his adrenaline bulb.
"I hate getting behind, so I was going to stay focused and keep coming at the guy," Carr said.
Demetrious Johnson (29-4), a defending state champion at 130, fell to Towson's Jesse Garrett, 12-6 , in the 160-pound finals and Darius Carroll (28-5), was pinned by Dundalk's Wayne Maddux (5:39) at 285.
It was the second consecutive county title for Garrett.
Russell Barnes (3rd, 31-6), Jacob Rendelman (4th, 27-12), Adrienne Hazel (4th, 32-8), Alex Solomon (4th, 27-9), Tyquez Shade (5th, 18-10) and Brandon Bekar (6th, 32-8) also placed for the champion Eagles.
That should make for some fun times at practice this week.
"We just became like a family," Pritzker said. "We really do care about each other and all my teams become best friends. It's not like it's just a sport. It's more like a way of life."
Life will also be better for newly crowned county champion Tejon Anthony (31-4), who became just the second Western Tech Baltimore County champion in history.
Anthony, a sophomore, got a takedown midway through the first period and held a 2-1 lead with 135 left in the third when Franklin's Ben Montanye slipped off him and he pounced for a takedown.
"I don't know what happened, but I saw him go down and I took advantage of the opportunity at the time," said Anthony, who wrestled junior league as a freshman last year.
"He wasn't on the radar , but he is now and it's good for us," Western Tech coach Juan Solera said.
Also getting into the spotlight with county titles were Eastern Tech's Dustin Shackleford (25-8) and Mitchell Burns (23-10).
Pikesville's Travon Wright, New Town's Gary Clark and Sparrows Point's James Krug also won country titles.
Hereford, who was second last year, had solid finalists in Joe Ramsel (23-8) and Mike Swiger (18-3).
Ramsel now has 114 career wins for the Bulls.
Top squads Owings Mills, Perry Hall and Hereford will embark on regional titles next weekend after the grueling county meet.
"You've got to come into this tournament and you don't have to try to win," Pritzker said. "You have to try and survive it — because next week is the big one."
1st: Zeke Salvo, Perry Hall (9-2 dec.)
2nd: Anthony Genco, Hereford
3rd: Dante McGill, Woodlawn
4th: Jacob Rendelman, Owings Mills
5th: Justin Angellotti, Lansdowne
6th: Doug Ramirez, Eastern Tech
1st: Jordan Rhudy, Perry Hall (7-2 dec.)
2nd: Sam Pellerito, Carver
3rd: Devin Cherry, Dulaney
4th: Holden Taylor, Franklin
5th Kevin Wilds, Woodlawn
6th: Brandon Bekar, Owings Mills
1st: Tejon Anthony, Western Tech (4-2 dec.)
2nd: Ben Montanye, Franklin
3rd: Randy Watson, Sparrows Point
4th: D.J. Grindle, Perry Hall
5th: Jumul Noble, Pikesville
6th: Brian Wensel, Hereford
1st: Shaun Murphy, Perry Hall (9-1 dec.)
2nd: Nick Montanye, Franklin
3rd: Alfred Martinez, Dundalk
4th: Kevin Wheeler, Hereford
5th: Joe Jaen, Pikesville
6th: Baika Sesay, Loch Raven
1st: Zach Shapiro, Owings Mills (pin 2:45)
2nd: Jay Henderson, Milford Mill
3rd: Jacob Asher, Dulaney
4th: Sean Taylor, Perry Hall
5th: Matt Yanosky, Franklin
6th: Royal Churchill, New Town
1st: Travon Wright, Pikesville (6-1 dec.)
2nd: Joe Ramsel, Hereford
3rd: Stephen Beam, Eastern Tech
4th: Adrienne Hazel, Owings Mills
5th: Liam St. John, Towson
6th: Anthony Apicella, Dulaney
1st: Dustin Shackleford, Eastern Tech (5-3 dec.)
2nd: Shane Hammer, Sparrows Point
3rd: Malachi Burden, Carver
4th: Ori Shimony, Pikesvile
5th: Sean Hoffman, Dulaney
6th: Hassan James, Towson
1st: Jesse Garrett, Towson (12-6 dec.)
2nd: Demetrious Johnson, Owings Mills
3rd: Ilyua Usik, Eastern Tech
4th: Teddy Cadd, Sparrows Point
5th: Ryan Davis, Loch Raven
6th: Dave Hinton, Woodlawn
1st: Taran Carr, Owings Mills (pin, 2:43)
2nd: Lavon Pratt, Parkville
3rd: Tucker Lutz, Franklin
4th: Cameron Hall-Hurtt, Pikesville
5th: Nyonbu Farley, Kenwood
6th: Mohamed Abdelmegid, Catonsville
1st: Gary Clark, New Town (pin 5:59)
2nd: Ignacio Munoz, Franklin
3rd: Pat Clemons, Perry Hall
4th: Nathaniel Gale, Eastern Tech
5th: Nathaniel Dunchie, Milford Mill
6th: Adam Dye, Catonsville
1st: James Krug, Sparrows Point (3-2 dec.)
2nd: Jerrell Ferguson, Milford Mill
3rd: Brock Turnbaugh, Hereford
4th: Alex Solomon, Owings Mills
5th: Myles Dunton, Woodlawn
6th: Kyle Byrd, Dundalk
1st: Mitchell Burns, Eastern Tech (10-2 dec)
2nd: Sean Bracken, Overlea
3rd: Joe Doetsch, Dundalk
4th: Tarrence Henry, Catonsville
5th: Tyquez Shade, Owings Mills
6th: Jordan Gale, Chesapeake
1st: Matt Green, Perry Hall (pin 5:58)
2nd: Mike Swiger, Hereford
4th: Ryan Schanberger, Loch Raven
3rd: Russell Barnes, Owings Mills
5th: Alex Pearson, Catonsville
6th: Gabe Moore, Pikesville
1st: Wayne Maddox, Dundalk (pin 5:39)
2nd: Darrius Carroll, Owings Mills
3rd: Jordan Thompson, Loch Raven
4th: Jordan Reynolds, Catonsville
5th : Quincy Wise, Randallstown
6th: Patrick Henderson, HerefordCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun