When it was Taariq Mohammed's turn to wrestle in the 3A/4A East regional dual championship match against visiting Stephen Decatur Thursday night, he was more than ready.
First Mohammed and his River Hill teammates had to wait as weather postponed the regional tournament from Wednesday night until Thursday night. Then, after his teammates built a 31-17 lead over Meade in the semifinal match, he had to watch as the 113 and 120-pound weight classes were handed to the Mustangs without a contest, the victory securely in hand.
"I was ready to go," said the junior 113-pounder. "It was nice to have a day off to think and plan out what I was going to do. It was a nice break and a good time to reflect on how far we've come and what we can do."
When his chance did come, with his team sitting on a 33-21 lead with two matches left against Stephen Decatur, Mohammed took advantage, recording a second period pin, and putting his team comfortably ahead, 39-21.
"When I had him on his back it was a good feeling knowing that our team would win," he said.
Stephen Decatur won the 126-pound match by forfeit to account for the final score of 39-21. The Eastern Shore school advanced to the championship match by defeating South River, 32-21.
The Hawks now advance to the state dual meet tournament, Saturday at 2 p.m. at North Point High School in Waldorf. Top-seeded River Hill will face North Hagerstown in one semifinal, while No. 2 Urbana and No. 3 North Point will meet in the other.
River Hill doesn't have many weak spots, but it's strongest wrestlers are bunched together.
Cory Daniel (170), Omar Messallam (182), Logan Kirby (195), Jacob Benedict (220), Jason Johnson (285), Michael Beck (106) and Mohammed (113/120) combined to go 13-0 on Thursday night.
"It's nice to have a base to go off of, it leads up to us and it gives us motivation and energy to wrestle," Mohammed said.
River Hill actually trailed in both matches — 17-9 against Meade, and 21-0 against Stephen Decatur — before the cavalry arrived.
"I told the kids we've got to win by playing defense and that means not giving up bonus points in the middle there, and they did a good job of not giving up too many pins," coach Brandon Lauer said. "They wrestled tough."
Last year, River Hill had to take the long bus ride all the way to Stephen Decatur, only to fall to Old Mill, 37-30 in the regional dual semifinals. This year, after earning the top seed with a 14-0 regular season dual meet record, the Hawks got to win the regional title in their home gym.
"This year it was our ground, our fans — we had a ton — our mats and our warm up. It was ours and we won our title," Mohammed said.
River Hill won its only state dual meet championship in 2003, finishing second in 2000 and 2004. A Howard County team, Glenelg last year and Reservoir in 2010, has won a state dual meet championship each of the last two years.
River Hill 39, Stephen Decatur 27 (3A/4A East championship)
132: Alford Hardy (SD) pin Patrick Linden (RH), 2:55. [0-6]
138: Dakota Roderick (SD) dec. Brian Kirby (RH), 7-3. [0-9]
145: Alex Schiffer (SD) tech. Casey Guthier (RH), 15-0/4:00. [0-14]
152: Andrew Borradaile (SD) maj. Donovan Delore (RH), 12-1. [0-18]
160: Kaelan Patterson (SD) dec. Jack Noonan (RH), 11-7. [0-21]
170: Cory Daniel (RH) tech. Jeff Evans (SD), 16-0/2:25. [5-21]
182: Omar Messallam (RH) pin (SD), 1:29. [11-21]
195: Logan Kirby (RH) pin Adam Bargar (SD), 2:25. [17-21]
220: Jacob Benedict (RH) dec. Luke Bargar (SD), 3-1 OT. [20-21]
285: Jason Johnson (RH) dec. Ryan Kail (SD), 4-1. [23-21]
106: Michael Beck (RH) maj. Nate Rosenblatt (SD), 14-5. [27-21]
113: Michael Bishoff (RH) pin Dylan Goggin (SD), 1:51. [33-21]
120: Taariq Mohammed (RH) pin Ethan Mariner (SD), 2:58. [39-21]
126: Logan Smith (SD) wbf. [39-27]
River Hill 31, Meade 29 (3A/4A East semifinal)
126: Nana Boadu (M) dec. Lee Carter (RH), 8-3. [0-3]
132: Patrick Linden (RH) pin Pyle (M), :39. [6-3]
138: Brian Kirby (RH) dec. Allen (M), 11-4. [9-3]
145: Coronado (M) pin Casey Guthier (RH), 2:41. [9-9]
152: Lance Alderman (M) dec. Jack Noonan (M), 9-5. [9-12]
160: Kojo Boadu (M) tech. Donovan Delore (RH), 17-2/4:57. [9-17]
170: Cory Daniel (RH) dec. Isiah Alston (M), 6-0. [12-17]
182: Omar Messallam (RH) dec. Trevon Jordan (M), 10-4. [15-17]
195: Logan Kirby (RH) dec. Mark Scarlas (M), 1-0. [18-17]
220: Jacob Benedict dec. Alonzo Abraham (M), 4-2 OT. [21-17]
285: Jason Johnson (RH) pin Stephen Lloyd (M), :33. [27-17]
106: Michael Beck (RH) maj. Platt (M), 10-0. [31-17]
113: Edwards (M) wbf. [31-23]
120: Creek (M) wbf. [31-29]
Glenelg, the defending 1A/2A state dual meet champion, won the 1A/2A South regional championship on Thursday night to also advance to the state tournament at North Point.
In the semifinals Glenelg defeated Surrattsville, 73-3, and Oakland Mills defeated Poolesville, 42-30.
Glenelg defeated Oakland Mills, 42-25, in the championship match, and will wrestle at noon on Saturday.
Glenelg, the No. 3 seed, will face Owings Mills, the No. 2 seed in the semifinals. No. 1 Winters Mill, the team Glenelg defeated last year for the title, will face No. 4 Wicomico in the other semifinal.