Lansdowne High’s second straight trip to the regional dual meet tournament had the same losing result as last season, but this year’s Vikings came much closer.
The second-seeded Vikings (14-1) lost a 39-36 decision to third-seeded C. Milton Wright (12-4) at Bel Air High on Thursday, Feb. 8, in the Class 3A North Region semifinals.
The loss snapped Lansdowne’s winning streak in dual meets at 14.
C. Milton Wright advanced to the regional finals and lost to top-seeded Bel Air, 43-18.
Last year, in the Class 4A-3A North Region semis, the Vikings lost to North Hagerstown, 41-27.
This year’s match started at 152 pounds and Lansdowne senior Matt Mendes (20-8) was leading Will Tinney, 4-1, after the second period and 4-2 late in the third period.
But, Tinney got a takedown with 18 seconds left and added three near-fall points for a 7-4 decision.
“That was a big match,” C. Milton Wright coach John Thornton said.
“We were not getting the bonus points I thought we should get,” Lansdowne coach George Dunn said. “Five or six different things could have happened, but it just didn’t go our way tonight.”
Lansdowne trailed 9-0 after a pin by C. Milton Wright’s Logan Dvorak at 160.
At 171, Lansdowne freshman Kyree Briscoe (28-2) got the Vikings on the board with a first-period pin (1:28).
Anthony Brown (17-9, 182) tied the score at 9-9 with a 3-0 decision over Dominick Jankovich.
Herberth Franco (20-9) got Viking fans excited when he pinned Caleb Riley in the second period (3:16) at 195 pounds.
The 15-9 lead was short-lived because C. Milton Wright’s Wyatt Graham won with a first-period pin (1:15) to tie the score at 15-15.
Graham is currently the top-ranked wrestler in the state at 220 pounds.
At 285, Lansdowne’s James Alston (24-7) was pinned by Sawyer Sturia (4:34) and the Mustangs led 21-15.
Sturia is ranked 10th in the state.
Lansdowne also has ranked wrestlers, including 106-pounder Riley Bozeman (21-0), who won a technical fall decision, 18-2, over Lexie Nguyen and cut the lead to 21-20.
Bozeman is ranked 20th in the state at 106 pounds.
A forfeit at 113 left the Vikings trailing, 27-20 with the feature match of the night on deck at 120 pounds.
Lansdowne senior Desean Hunter (24-4), ranked 25th at 113, squared off against C. Milton Wright freshman James Riveira (34-1), ranked 9th at 120.
Hunter cut a 7-1 deficit to 7-4 in the second period before getting pinned (3:29).
Hunter’s loss was not a surprise because Riveira went on to defeat Bel Air’s two-time state champion Brent Lorin, 9-5, in the regional finals.
That loss was the first of Lorin’s career after 119 straight victories.
Riveira’s victory over Hunter pushed C. Milton Wright’s lead to 33-20, but the Vikings refused to quit.
Sophomore Jacob Lipscomb (25-2) won a 15-2 major decision over Mark Hopkins and Damond’Tez Rawlings (21-6) pinned Ben Anders in the third period and the Vikings trailed 33-30 with two matches remaining.
At 138, Lansdowne’s freshman Trevon Conaway was trailing Jake Blanchard 3-0 early in the second period before he got pinned.
“He [Conaway] was a JV guy we brought up due to some injuries,” Dunn said. “You could tell he was a little nervous, moving backwards a lot. He’s just got to be more aggressive and not be afraid.”
That pin clinched the match for the Mustangs, but Lansdowne junior Peyton Collins made one final statement when he pinned Brayden Santos in the second period at 145 pounds.
Collins (16-14) was prepared to win with a fall, no matter what happened in the match before him.
“Going into the next match, even if you can’t do something [to change the outcome], you still have to have that mindset, because points are real big later on in the long run like during regionals,” Collins said.
Despite the loss, Collins is going to savor the rest of the postseason with his teammates.
“This group of kids are probably one of the best kids of any sports team I’ve been on,” Collins said. “I love them to death, always will, no matter what, even when they graduate and when I graduate, hopefully I’ll still be in contact with them.”
Meanwhile, Dunn hopes the tough match prepared his squad for the rest of the postseason.
“We are going to be firing on all cylinders come county tournament time and we have to be ready for that and regionals,” Dunn said. “That’s our goal — to get guys to the state tournament and try to get them on the stands at the state tournament.”