Fallston retains UCBAC wrestling title

Fueled by four individual champions, the Fallston Cougars won their second straight Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference wrestling championship Saturday at Aberdeen High School.

The Cougars (189.5) sent five wrestlers into the finals, as did Bel Air (184), which held a 174-171.5 lead entering the championship matches. Two of the five matches were head-to-head between the two, and Fallston won both.

"I've coached here for over 20 years now and with this team winning back-to-back conference championships, this has got to be the best team Fallston has ever had," Cougars head coach Andy Amasia said.

After C.J. Austin's nail-biting 4-3 win over Bel Air's John Cross at 152 pounds, the point difference was still 2.5 favoring Bel Air, thanks to a Cameron Watts 7-2 title win at 132 over Patterson Mill's Bryan Miser.

In Austin's win, the Fallston senior found himself trailing 2-0 in the opening seconds of the match on a nifty Cross takedown.

"I was pretty hyped up for the match and I needed to calm down," Austin said after the match. "I figured I had to get down to business and do what I had to do."

Austin was able to escape and added a takedown in the final 10 seconds of the first period to lead 3-2.

Cross was a bit surprised by his early takedown.

"I'm not the best on my feet, I'm usually better on top and bottom. That was a nice benefit for the match," Cross said.

An escape by Cross was the only point of the second period, sending the match to its final two minutes, tied 3-3. Austin, down to start the final period, gained a match-winning escape with 48 seconds left and then held on for the win.

"I mean at the end, I wanted to stay away, keep my distance from him, because he's pretty dangerous in neutral," Austin said.

Cross tried to score a takedown in that final half minute, but his last second throw left both wrestlers out of bounds as time expired.

"That's a better way to end the match," Cross said. "For the most part, I think me and him are pretty even and we're good buddies too."

At 170, Bel Air seemed in control of the tourney, with William Holder-Moore pinning Perryville's David Doring in 2:59.

Fallston, however, won three of the final four bouts to steal the championship and retain the title.

After knocking off top seed Doug Thier of C. Milton Wright, 5-4 in overtime, of the semifinal round, Austin Rutkowski won 4-2 over Harford Tech's Nathan Cook at 182. Rutkowski's win set up Ridge Myers' clinching win at 195.

Myers jumped ahead of Bel Air's Cyler Crawford, 8-0, before pinning him at 3:03 of the second period. Two bonus points from the pin put the Cougars ahead for good.

"I actually did not," Myers said when asked if he knew a pin would seal the win. "My coach told me, {you just put us in the lead}, I'm just glad I won and that we are the holder of the UCBAC."

Fallston heavyweight Alex Helm closed out the win at 285 with a 6-0 decision over Perryville's Logan Kelly.

The Cougars, who led after Friday's action, trailed Bel Air, 174-160.5, entering the consolation round finals for third, fourth, fifth and sixth places.

In that round, Fallston picked up 11 points, while Bel Air got none, setting up the exciting finish in the championship finals.

"We knew we had to wrestle tough and we had four kids come through the consolations and place and that helped us a lot," Amasia said. "It's a big win for us."

Fallston's Joe Medicus was the lone Cougar to fall short in the finals, but his matchup at 120 in Perryville's Chris Brown was as tough as any. The undefeated Brown scored five early points and then reversed and pinned Medicus in 2:41.

The Cougars also had two thirds from Colin McDonald at 106 and Garrett Coburn at 145, while equally important were fifths won by Eric Baranoski at 113 and Will Shipley at 138.

Bel Air's other finalist was David Reagan at 106. Reagan was controlled from the start by Rising Sun's Joey Juergens, who pinned Reagan in 3:19.

The Bobcats also had two wrestlers place fourth and four place sixth.

Harford wrestlers did boast three more titles. Aberdeen's Travis Hubler won the 126 bout, beating Patterson Mill's Jake Nikkila, 7-3.

Ben Swanson of C. Milton Wright was dominant at 145, jumping ahead 5-0 before pinning Bo Manor's Ryan Statler in 3:24.

Patterson Mill's Eric Eckstein also won, using a takedown in the final 10 seconds to win, 4-3, over North East's Tyere Garner.

Another pair of Harford finalists lost. Chris Banko of Aberdeen dropped a 13-0 major decision to Jake Trybus of Bo Manor at 138, while North Harford's Logan Smith fell 12-5 to Anthony Cimorosi of Rising Sun at 160.

Just like last year's team finish, Rising Sun was third with 150 points. Patterson Mill was fourth with 147 and Bo Manor rounded out the top five with 135.5.

The rest of the scoring was Aberdeen, 126; C. Milton Wright, 118.5; Perryville, 95; North Harford, 84.5; Edgewood, 60; North East, 59; Elkton, 50; Harford Tech, 48; Joppatowne, 48; and Havre de Grace, 23.

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