For the second weekend in a row, the Fallston Cougars wrestling team brought home a championship.
The latest came Saturday night in Havre de Grace, site of the Maryland Class 1A-2A East Region Tournament, where the Cougars out-pointed Kent Island, 130-125, to win the school's first region wrestling title.
The Cougars did it with a complete team effort, sending nine wrestlers into the battle and all nine placing sixth or better. Six, led by newly crowned region champions Garrett Coburn and CJ Austin, are headed to next weekend's Maryland State Tournament in College Park.
"They [Kent Island] had 12 wrestlers in the tournament and we had nine. We just had kids that wouldn't quit," Cougars head coach Andy Amasia said. "We wouldn't have won without all of those guys. It was a total team effort."
The Cougars took a 121-117 lead into the championship round, but that lead slipped away when Kent Island's two finalists, Zach Smith and Colton Smith, won back-to-back region crowns at 126 and 132 pounds, respectively.
Fallston's two titles also came in back-to-back matches and both in dominant fashion.
Coburn won the 145 title over Patterson Mill's Jason Noss, winning handily, 8-1. Coburn scored a takedown in the first period and added a reversal in the second for a 4-0 lead. Coburn added another takedown early in the third period to lead 6-0, but Noss scored his only point with an escape a short time later. Coburn then closed the match with a takedown and rode out the win from there. Both Noss and Coburn had upsets over the first and second seeds, respectively, in the semifinal round.
Austin, an UCBAC champ a week earlier, was in complete control at 152. Austin scored a first period takedown and then added two sets of back points by tilts in the second period for a 6-0 advantage over Garrett Graef of Queen Anne's.
Graef's only point was an escape point late in period two. Austin then started in the bottom position in period three, but a quick reversal was followed by more near fall points. Two, then three and then two more, to close out the 15-1 major decision.
"They were tilts and they're just my thing, I've been doing it forever," Austin said. "If it doesn't work, I'll try something else, but the tilts did go pretty easy. I knew it was going to be a tough match, he's a good wrestler. I just dominated on top."
Finding out that his win sealed the school's first wrestling region title, Austin said, "That's pretty sweet."
Two other Cougars, who were also UCBAC champs a week ago, weren't so fortunate in the finals this week. Ridge Myers fell 6-3 in the 195 finals to Matt Olausen of Queen Anne's. The match was tied 3-3 late in the second period before Olausen scored an escape for a 4-3 lead. Olausen then controlled Myers in the third period, despite valiant attempts by Myers to get free or even reverse. One last attempt led to Olausen collecting a pair of back points to close out the match.
Teammate Alex Helm ran into big problem in the 285 finals. North Caroline's Brion Blades (48-0) took Helm down in the first period and nearly pinned him twice for a 6-0 lead. Blades did pin Helm, 35 seconds into the second period, to end the match.
Other Cougars headed to the state tourney are Joe Medicus, fourth at 120, and Austin Rutkowski, third at 182.
Three other county wrestlers fell short in their title bouts. Patterson Mill's Thomas Trzeciak dropped the 138 bout by pin to Bo Manor's Jake Trybus. Trybus held a 4-0 lead in the third period, before pinning Trzeciak in 4:41.
Edgewood's lone finalist, Shawn Kluchinsky, dropped the 170 title match 7-2 to Perryville's David Doring. Kluchinsky, who upset the top seed in the semis, was limited to two escape points in the match.
Perryville's Chris Brown remained unbeaten, winning the 120 title. Brown (39-0) overcame two stalling points and an illegal hold penalty to beat Parkside's Lamont Brickous, 4-3.
Nathan Cook of Harford Tech fell in the 182 final. Cook scored first with a takedown against Alex Pullen of Wicomico, but Pullen scored seven of the next nine points to win, 7-4.
A handful of other Harford wrestlers are also headed to the state tourney after posting top four finishes: from Patterson Mill, Jake Nikkila, fourth at 126, and Eric Eckstein, fourth at 220.
Joppatowne has two in Tyree Gibson, third at 126, and Kevin Kinyua, fourth at 160, while Edgewood had another in Noel Spencer, third at 120. Havre de Grace also has one qualifier in Daniel Peters, third at 132.
A total of 21 wrestlers from the UCBAC qualified for the state tournament; 35 qualified from the schools that make up the Bayside Conference.
C. Milton Wright's Ben Swanson will lead Harford's 3A-4A contingent after winning the 145 crown Saturday at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia.
Swanson won the title with a 7-3 decision over Wilde Lake's Malik Jackson in the finals. Nick DiMattia, 120, and Doug Thier, 182, will join Swanson in College Park. Both placed fourth.
Bel Air had two finalists and both lost three-point decisions. John Cross lost 3-0 to Sam Ziff of Severna Park at 152, while William Holder-Moore was beaten 8-5 in the 170 title bout by Akintola Morakinyo of Wilde Lake.
David Reagan, 106, and Cyler Crawford, 195, were each fourth, as was North Harford's Logan Smith at 160.
Aberdeen also has three headed to the state tourney: Travis Hubler, third at 126; Daniel Velez, fourth at 132; and Adric Turner, fourth at 220.