A year ago the Fallston wrestling team entered the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Wrestling Tournament a few wrestlers short of a full lineup.
Several hours later the Cougars celebrated Fallston's first team championship in the event, upending favorites Rising Sun and Bel Air, both of which had won the title before.
Friday, the Cougars will begin a defense of last year's crown. Like last year, Rising Sun and Bel Air will be back in the hunt again. The tourney is being held at Aberdeen High School.
Wrestling action is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. today and conclude by 9. Preliminary and quarterfinal round wrestling will fill the time slot as well as round one wrestle backs.
Action will resume Saturday at 9 a.m. with round two wrestle backs. Championship semifinals are set for a 10:30 a.m. start, followed by round three wrestle backs, which will lead to the lunch break from noon to 1 p.m.
Round four wrestle backs will begin at 1 p.m. and consolation finals will be run from 2 to 3 p.m.
Championship finals are slated for a 3:30 p.m. start.
Five wrestlers are back this year to defend titles won in 2012, including two from Fallson and one from Bel Air.
Falllston's CJ Austin, 30-0 this season, was the 145-pound champ last year. The senior is the top seed at 152 this year and will likely meet Bel Air junior John Cross (34-3) in the finals.
Fallston's other defending champion is senior Joe Medicus, the champion at 106 last year. Medicus (25-7) is at 120 this year and the second seed at that weight. Perryville's unbeaten junior Chris Brown (32-0) will be tough to beat. Brown was the 113-pound titlist last year.
The Cougars did earn another top seed at 195, with senior Ridge Myers (27-2). Another possible final with a Bel Air opponent looms large in the team standings. Bobcats junior Cyler Crawford (27-8) is the second seed.
Fallston also got a second seed at 285 with junior Alex Helm (22-5). Helm will likely have to beat top seed Logan Kelly, a 22-6 junior from Perryville, to win the title.
Two other Cougars who aided in the title run last year were senior Garrett Coburn and junior Austin Rutkowski. Coburn (25-6), who was fourth at 138 last year, is the third seed at 145. Rutkowski (20-9), third at 182 last year, is the fourth seed at the same weight.
A Fallston newcomer, freshman Colin McDonald gives the Cougars a boost at 106, where his 25-6 record earned him a third seed.
Holder-Moore leads Bel Air
Bel Air senior William Holder-Moore (37-0) is not only the top seed at 170, the weight class he won in 2012, but his record is the best among all UCBAC wrestlers in the tournament.
In addition to the previously mentioned Cross and Crawford for the Bobcats, a handful of others have seeds to advance. Junior David Reagan (29-8) is the second seed at 106, while junior Gavin Rupprecht (22-14) is the third seed at 113.
Sophomore Brady Stafford (28-7) is the fourth seed at 120, as is sophomore Cameron Watts (25-10) at 132.
CMW gets two top seeds
C. Milton Wright pulled down two number one seeds. Senior Ben Swanson (28-4) is the top seed at 145, the weight he finished runner–up at last year to Fallston's Austin. Junior Doug Thier (26-6) earned the top seed at 182, where a semifinal meeting with Fallston's Rutkowski could be on tap. Thier was fifth at 170 last year.
Eckstein tops 220
Patterson Mill also has a top seed in Eric Eckstein at 220. The 33-2 junior was sixth at 285 a year ago, wrestling well below the weight.
Huskies sophomore Jake Nikkila (26-8) is a second seed at 126, where Aberdeen senior Travis Hubler (24-1) is the top seed. Nikkila was runner-up at 126 last year and Hubler's lone loss this season came by pin against Perryville's Brown.
Patterson Mill senior Thomas Trzeciak (26-3) is the second seed at 138, while Aberdeen junior Daniel Velez (21-5) also earned a second seed 132.