Harford County will send 27 wrestlers into battle Friday at the Maryland State Wrestling Tournament in College Park.
State tournament action takes place inside the University of Maryland's Cole Field House and gets underway today at 2:30 p.m. with preliminary rounds. Quarterfinals will begin at 6:15 p.m. with consolation matches to start at 8:15 p.m. Wrestling resumes Saturday with more consolation matches at 9:30 a.m., while championship semifinals are set for 11 a.m. Consolation rounds will fill the afternoon from 1:15 p.m to 6 p.m. Championship finals are set for 6:30 p.m. 1A-2A title bouts will be contested from 285 pounds to 106 and 3A-4A bouts will run from 106 to 285.
Three senior region champions, Fallston's CJ Austin and Garrett Coburn and C. Milton Wright's Ben Swanson, will lead the local contingent. Austin and Coburn will wrestle in the Class 1A-2A tournament and Swanson in the 3A-4A event.
Of the three, Austin has had the most past success at this level, finishing second at 145 pounds a year ago. Austin lost the 145 title to Patuxent junior Matthew Gancayco by 8-6 decision.
It was a semifinal win by injury default that Austin remembers well and believes that opponent, Cody Sharkey, of Winters Mill, may be his strongest challenge.
"Brackets are randomly set up so I mean my biggest challenge is Cody Sharkey from the West region," Austin said after last week's region win. "Hopefully we'll be on opposite sides of the bracket."
Well, the two are not and a possible semifinal looms in the future again. In last year's match, Austin was leading Sharkey 5-0 when Sharkey had to injury default out of the match. Austin carries a 36-0 record into the state tourney and Sharkey, a senior, is 40-1.
Coburn, a 31-7 senior, competes at 145 and Swanson, a 35-4 senior, competes at 145.
Joining Austin and Coburn in the 1A-2A tournament are: Noel Spencer, Edgewood-120; Joe Medicus, Fallston-120; Tyree Gibson, Joppatowne-126; Jake Nikkila, Patterson Mill-126; Daniel Peters, Havre de Grace-132; Thomas Trzeciak, Patterson Mill-138; Jason Noss, Patterson Mill-145; Kevin Kinyua, Joppatowne-160; Shawn Kluchinsky, Edgewood-170; Austin Rutkowski, Fallston-182; Nathan Cook, Harford Tech-182; Ridge Myers, Fallston-195; Eric Eckstein, Patterson Mill-220; and Alex Helm, Fallston-285.
Joining Swanson in the 3A-4A tournament are: David Reagan, Bel Air-106; Nick DiMattia, CMW-120; Travis Hubler, Aberdeen-126; Daniel Velez, Aberdeen-132; John Cross, Bel Air-152; Logan Smith, North Harford-160; William Holder-Moore, Bel Air-170; Doug Thier, CMW-182; Cyler Crawford, Bel Air-195; and Adric Turner, Aberdeen-220.