Led by five individual champions, the Bel Air wrestling team won its fourth straight Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference tournament championship Saturday evening at Edgewood High School.
The Bobcats piled up 202.50 points to best Patterson Mill, who with no champs, placed second with 176. Three Cecil County schools took the next three places. Rising Sun was third with 164.50; North East, fourth, 155.50; and Perryville, fifth, with 124.50.
Six champions from a year ago were back to defend this year. Leading the way, Bel Air sophomore Brent Lorin won the 113-pound championship after winning the 106 crown a year ago, en route to the 3A-4A state title and 44-0 record.
Lorin, 39-0 so far this year, made it look easy in the final against Rising Sun junior Jon Price, winning by tech fall, 21-6. Lorin was up 6-1 after one period with a pair of takedowns and a set of near fall points.
It became apparent Lorin wasn't going to pin Price, so he used an escape and three more takedowns to build a 13-3 lead through two periods. In the final period, Lorin used four more takedowns to secure the lopsided win.
"He was a good wrestler, I ended the match with a tech fall in the third period," Lorin said. "He knew his technique, he knew how to defend my moves and that's why I was unable to pin him, but a lot of the stuff I've been working on over the season to improve is what helped me consistently take him down throughout the match."
Bel Air teammate Tommy Gomez also successfully defended, winning the 182 title for a second straight year. Gomez handled Patterson Mill's Hunter Crowley for a 7-1 win.
Edgewood senior Ariq Nixon was the 152 champ, moving two weights up from the 138 crown won a year ago.
Nixon squared off with North Harford senior Austin Mitchell. Nixon put Mitchell on his back once, but Mitchell escaped the pin. Nixon put Mitchell on his back a second time and that was it. Nixon collected the first period pin at the 1:30 mark.
"I watched his throws, my coach, he watched the other match when I was wrestling and he said he [Mitchell] likes to throw and I felt it," Nixon said. "As soon as we started, he tried to throw me, my hips, I worked on my hips, I didn't let up and took over."
Mitchell had knocked off the bracket's top seed, Bel Air senior Scott Miser, by first period pin in the semis. Miser, the 152 champion last year, wrestled back to place third.
C. Milton Wright junior Wyatt Graham was the last repeat champ, winning the 195 title for the second consecutive season.
Graham (38-0) was in complete control of Patterson Mill junior Arlen Agiliga. Graham took him down in each period and kept Agiliga scoreless in an 8-0 major decision win.
"I was talking to my coach before the match and what he really wanted me to incorporate was having a strong offense, not shooting off bad shots from him, but me actually taking the first shot, taking the last shot," Graham said.
North Harford freshman Josh Mitchell posted the upset at 126, using a strong third period to beat Fallston senior Donavyn Hohman, 10-8.
Hohman, the top seed, led 4-2 after one period, but Mitchell tied the match 4-4 in period two, only to see Hohman reverse his way back to a 6-4 lead in the final seven seconds of the second period.
Mitchell, starting the third period in the top position, worked Hohman to his back for three near fall points. Hohman had an injury during the pin attempt, giving Mitchell a another point.
On the restart, Mitchell added two more back points and Hohman added a reverse in the closing seconds, but Mitchell was able to hold on for the win.
"Just working hard in practice, I knew I had to some points there, so, I did some tilts and a bar and that was able to get me to the win," Mitchell said.
The other, maybe even bigger surprise, came at the 285 weight class with Edgewood sophomore Daviyon Johnson winning the crown.
Johnson pinned top seed Teryl Cain of Perryville in the semifinals and then, in the final, outlasted Patterson Mill's Kevin Neutzling for a 5-4 win.
The Bobcats other champions were Liam Bowers, a 4-2 winner over North East's Marshall Johnston at 145; Sam Queen, a 3-0 winner over Patterson Mill's Sean Reddish at 160; and Jack Brink, a 3-2 winner over North East's Sebastian Nagovich at 220.
The Bobcats also had two thirds, a fourth, a fifth and two sixths.
Fallston senior Zack Kauffman added a title at 138, with a narrow, 4-3 win over Perryville's Hunter Zacerous.
A few Harford wrestlers were runner-ups. Harford Tech's Zach Granese fell 5-0 in the 120 final to Colin Day of North East, while Will Sadowski of North Harford was beaten 8-2 by Rising Sun's Silas Fillaux at 132.
Havre de Grace's Alex Lloyd, the other returning champion, was forced to forfeit out the tourney Saturday at 132, because of an untimely case of the stomach bug. He placed sixth.
CMW's Ryan Messer was beaten 4-0 at 170 by Perryville's Eugene Zacerous. Zacerous is the defending Class 1A-2A 170 state champion.