Fueled by four individual champions, the Fallston Cougars won their second straight Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference wrestling championship Saturday at Aberdeen High School.

The Cougars (189.5) sent five wrestlers into the finals, as did Bel Air (184), which held a 174-171.5 lead entering the championship matches. Two of the five matches were head-to-head between the two, and Fallston won both.

"I've coached here for over 20 years now and with this team winning back-to-back conference championships, this has got to be the best team Fallston has ever had," Cougars head coach Andy Amasia said.

After C.J. Austin's nail-biting 4-3 win over Bel Air's John Cross at 152 pounds, the point difference was still 2.5 favoring Bel Air, thanks to a Cameron Watts 7-2 title win at 132 over Patterson Mill's Bryan Miser.


"Like" exploreharford's Facebook page

In Austin's win, the Fallston senior found himself trailing 2-0 in the opening seconds of the match on a nifty Cross takedown.

"I was pretty hyped up for the match and I needed to calm down," Austin said after the match. "I figured I had to get down to business and do what I had to do."

Austin was able to escape and added a takedown in the final 10 seconds of the first period to lead 3-2.

Cross was a bit surprised by his early takedown.

"I'm not the best on my feet, I'm usually better on top and bottom. That was a nice benefit for the match," Cross said.

An escape by Cross was the only point of the second period, sending the match to its final two minutes, tied 3-3. Austin, down to start the final period, gained a match-winning escape with 48 seconds left and then held on for the win.

"I mean at the end, I wanted to stay away, keep my distance from him, because he's pretty dangerous in neutral," Austin said.

Cross tried to score a takedown in that final half minute, but his last second throw left both wrestlers out of bounds as time expired.

"That's a better way to end the match," Cross said. "For the most part, I think me and him are pretty even and we're good buddies too."

At 170, Bel Air seemed in control of the tourney, with William Holder-Moore pinning Perryville's David Doring in 2:59.

Fallston, however, won three of the final four bouts to steal the championship and retain the title.

After knocking off top seed Doug Thier of C. Milton Wright, 5-4 in overtime, of the semifinal round, Austin Rutkowski won 4-2 over Harford Tech's Nathan Cook at 182. Rutkowski's win set up Ridge Myers' clinching win at 195.

Myers jumped ahead of Bel Air's Cyler Crawford, 8-0, before pinning him at 3:03 of the second period. Two bonus points from the pin put the Cougars ahead for good.

"I actually did not," Myers said when asked if he knew a pin would seal the win. "My coach told me, {you just put us in the lead}, I'm just glad I won and that we are the holder of the UCBAC."

Fallston heavyweight Alex Helm closed out the win at 285 with a 6-0 decision over Perryville's Logan Kelly.

The Cougars, who led after Friday's action, trailed Bel Air, 174-160.5, entering the consolation round finals for third, fourth, fifth and sixth places.