With ten seconds left in his state semifinal match on Saturday morning at the University of Maryland, Mt. Hebron senior Joe Kendrick (152) quickly did some simple math.
Trailing 6-4, Kendrick could lose the match to Huntingtown's Colton Rowe, drop into the consolation bracket and potentially wrestle two more matches for a chance to win third place.
Or he could muster all of his energy, force overtime with a take down, and win to advance to the state championship match.
It was a simple choice.
"It hit me right then that this was a make or break moment, so I needed to turn it up and give it every last bit I had," said Kendrick, who powered through a double leg take down as time expired, and then quickly scored the winning take down in overtime. "He was coming in hard at first and I was just waiting for my opportunity ... I didn't want that to last any longer. I didn't want the disappointment of having to come back in the (consolations)."
Kendrick, who placed sixth at the state tournament last year, is one of eight Howard County wrestlers who will compete for a coveted state championship this evening at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Maryland's Cole Student Activities Building.
Kendrick will face Severna Park senior Sam Ziff (39-4), a wrestler he lost to in the regional semifinals, in the 152-pound championship match.
Mt. Hebron sophomore Jeff Hayden (106) joins Kendrick as Vikings' state finalists, and River Hill also has two wrestlers — undefeated juniors Cory Daniel (195) and Logan Kirby (220) — in the finals.
Reservoir junior Mason Kilcarr (132), Centennial freshman Austin Kraisser (138) and Wilde Lake's undefeated senior Tola Morakinyo (170) have also advanced to the state finals.
Glenelg defending heavyweight champion Sean Twigg is Howard County's lone representative in the 1A/2A finals.
Hayden, who failed to place at the state tournament last year as a freshman, wrestled at 113 pounds until the county tournament two weeks ago. Hayden lost to River Hill's Michael Beck in the county and regional finals. Beck was undefeated until Friday night's state quarterfinals, when he was pinned in a shocking upset by Westminster freshman Ryker Eckenbarger.
"I was just really hoping to get on that podium and I did it and I did more than that," said Hayden, who defeated Urbana freshman Jake Makosy in the state semifinals. "I saw Michael Beck ... get pinned in the quarterfinals and that really whipped me up. I'm just pumped, I want to win it ... people didn't really know who I was and now I'm making a name for myself."
Hayden will see Damascus sophomore Mikey Macklin (44-3) in the finals.
River Hill, the defending 3A/4A state tournament champion, finished the semifinal round in third place with 59 points, 13 ahead of fourth place Mt. Hebron.
Daniel will try to get past Wootton's undefeated Ralph Bernardo in the finals, while Kirby will try to hand Northwest senior Luis Beteta his first loss of the season.
In the state finals, Reservoir's Kilcarr will face Broadneck sophomore Cameron Harrell in a rematch of the 3A/4A East regional championship. Wilde Lake's Morakinyo will also have a regional rematch, when he faces Bel Air's William Holder-Moore. Last weekend, Morakinyo defeated Holder-Moore in a showdown between undefeated wrestlers.
And Centennial's Kraisser will face Bethesda Chevy Chase senior Charlie Banaszak (43-2) in the finals as he attempts to give the Kraisser family its fifth straight state championship. Nathan Kraisser, now a freshman at UNC, became the first Howard County wrestler to win four state titles last year as a Centennial senior.
Wilde Lake's Malik Jackson (145), Reservoir's Sam Rowell (152), Hammond's Bryan Overton (160) and Mt. Hebron's Ryan Hassan (220) all lost their 3A/4A semifinal matches.
3A/4A state semifinal results involving Howard County wrestlers
106: Mt. Hebron sophomore Jeff Hayden (37-7) dec. Urbana freshman Jake Makosy (37-3), 4-2.
132: Reservoir junior Mason Kilcarr (36-3) dec. Bethesda Chevy Chase senior Will Witkop (15-4), 6-2.
138: Centennial freshman Austin Kraisser (38-3) dec. Urbana senior Nick Frank (41-3), 7-2.
145: Chopticon senior Larry Cannon (37-3) maj. Wilde Lake junior Malik Jackson (31-7), 9-1.
152: Severna Park senior Sam Ziff (39-4) maj. Reservoir sophomore Sam Rowell (8-3), 12-2.
152: Mt. Hebron senior Joe Kendrick (34-4) dec. Huntingtown senior Colton Rowe (35-7), 8-6 OT.
160: North Calvert senior Eric Hoffman (37-0) dec. Hammond senior Bryan Overton (38-4), 7-2.
170: Wilde Lake senior Tola Morakinyo (39-0) dec. Oxen Hill senior Darrian Hollings (34-6), 5-1.
195: River Hill junior Cory Daniel (41-0) dec. Winston Churchill senior Matt Schleckser (37-12), 8-3.
220: Northwest senior Luis Beteta (39-0) pin Mt. Hebron junior Ryan Hassan (36-5), :53.
220: River Hill junior Logan Kirby (36-0) pin Quince Orchard junior Connor Tilton (31-6), 2:42.
3A/4A championship matches involving Howard County wrestlers
106: Mt. Hebron sophomore Jeff Hayden (37-7) vs. Damascus sophomore Mikey Macklin (44-3)
132: Reservoir junior Mason Kilcarr (36-3) vs. Broadneck sophomore Cameron Harrell (31-1)
138: Centennial freshman Austin Kraisser (38-3) vs. Bethesda Chevy Chase senior Charlie Banaszak (43-2)
152: Mt. Hebron senior Joe Kendrick (34-4) vs. Severna Park senior Sam Ziff (39-4)
170: Wilde Lake senior Tola Morakinyo (39-0) vs. Bel Air senior William Holder-Moore (45-1)
195: River Hill junior Cory Daniel (41-0) vs. Wootton senior Ralph Bernardo (41-0)
220: River Hill junior Logan Kirby (36-0) vs. Northwest senior Luis Beteta (39-0)