Glenelg couldn't have asked for a better weight class than 138 for their match at River Hill to start on Tuesday night, but as the Gladiators found out, there really is no good place to start a match against the Hawks this season.
"They definitely bring it, they are solid all up and down," Glenelg coach Chris Rosas said. "They're stout from (160 pounds) up, all over the place actually ... you talk about a team without holes and that's how River Hill looks."
River Hill (5-0) won the match, 37-22, to become the last undefeated team in league competition.
Glenelg (4-1), the defending 1A/2A dual meet state champion, started off strong, winning three of the first four matches — on decisions by returning regional finalist Ryan Carter (138) and Anthony Pagnotta (160), and a major by Joe Zoller (145) — to take a 10-3 lead. Zoller led only 4-2 after the first two periods, but tapped a reserve of energy to score nine points in the third period, securing a four-point major decision. Pagnotta escaped with less than 45 seconds left in his match to eke out a 3-2 win over Jack Noonan.
But it wasn't long before River Hill's depth, especially through the upperweights, came into play.
Super sophomore Cory Daniel's win at 170 sparked an eight match winning run for the Hawks, including pins by Omar Messallam (182), Logan Kirby (195) and Taariq Mohammed (113) and strength-against-strength wins by Jacob Benedict (220) over Justin Jung, and Jason Johnson (285) over Sean Twigg. Johnson scored first in all three periods, on a pair of takedowns and a reversal.
"I knew, No. 1, they were going to be good in the middle and it was going to be tough in there, and No. 2 that we had some swing matches up top," River Hill coach Brandon Lauer said. "Those are the two best heavyweights in the county."
Kirby's pin was especially impressive because it came over Glenn Lucas, a senior who placed third in the county a year ago. Kirby and Lucas are also two of the best football players in the area. Lucas led the league in tackles this season with 136 and Kirby had 3.5 sacks for the state champion Hawks.
"Both of us played football, he's a great opponent and a great athlete," said Kirby, who is still only a sophomore. "We had to wrestle our best and it just turned out that I won but it was a good match both ways."
The two gridders battled to a deadlock after the first period, and Kirby led by a narrow 1-0 score after two periods. Finally, with only 21 seconds left in their match, Kirby caught Lucas on his back after a scramble for the late pin.
"I always hope for a pin but I knew if I wrestled through my positions that something good coud turn out, and I ended up catching him where I could stick him," Kirby said. "I was riding and he had a switch and I ended up reswitching. He ended up rolling and I was able to lace his arms up and he was stuck on his back. Eventually he rolled back, I got an arm bar, I ran it over, sank my hips and threw a half in and was able to stick him."
While Mohammed's pin with three bouts remaining gave his team a 37-10 lead, mathematically clinching the win for River Hill, Glenelg showed that it is still a team to be feared, getting pins from Mike Budock (126) and Austin Pagnotta (132) in the last two bouts to make the final score a respectable 37-22.
"You definitely want to start with one of your captains (Carter) and then you get a pinner toward the end (Austin Pagnotta) but things happened here and there and bonus points hurt you," Rosas said.
While River Hill has lost several non-league matches this season, including three at the very competitve McDonogh Holiday Duals last week, Kirby and Johnson, an all-county defensive lineman, know that all of their team goals are still intact.
"Our next goal is to get the county championship. Then it will be regions. Then if we win regions we'll go for states," said Kirby, who helped the River Hill football team win a state championship after starting the season 2-2. "Winning states in football is a confidence builder because it can be done, it's nice to know that you don't have to be undefeated to win."
River Hill 37, Glenelg 22
138: Ryan Carter (G) dec. Brian Kirby (RH), 4-0. [0-3]
145: Joe Zoller (G) maj. Casey Guthier (RH), 11-2. [0-7]
152: Donovan DeLore (RH) dec. Troy Walter (G), 5-0. [3-7]
160: Anthony Pagnotta (G) dec. Jack Noonan (RH), 3-2. [3-10]
170: Cory Daniel (RH) dec. Tyler Asher (G), 5-1. [6-10]
182: Omar Messallam (RH) pin Curran Robertson (G), :48. [12-10]
195: Logan Kirby (RH) pin Glenn Lucas (G), 5:39. [18-10]
220: Jacob Benedict (RH) dec. Justin Jung (G), 5-2. [21-10]
285: Jason Johnson (RH) dec. Sean Twigg (G), 6-3. [24-10]
105: Michael Beck (RH) maj. Tim Null (G), 12-1. [28-10]
113: Taariq Mohammed (RH) pin Austin Miller (G), 2:27. [34-10]
120: Lee Carter (RH) dec. Ricky Gezelle (G), 5-2. [37-10]
126: Mike Budock (G) pin Patrick Linden (RH), 3:56. [37-16]
132: Austin Pagnotta (G) pin Christian Lee (RH), 1:05. [37-22]
Around the league
Marriotts Ridge 48, Centennial 27
160: Joey Wysocki (C) pin Michael Min (MR), 3:34.
170: Lyle Fugate (MR) dec. Benjamin Tucker (C), 7-4.
182: Frederik Agvald (C) pin Zack Neis (MR), 3:46.
195: Cody Bannar (MR) wbf.
220: Scott Desautelle (MR) wbf.
285: Ryan Austin (MR) wbf.
106: Jeff Barbera (MR) wbf.
113: Nicholas Spano (MR) pin Matthew Nickell (C), 4:35.
120: Christian Jordan (MR) pin Sam Routt (C), 3:19.
126: Nathan Kraisser (C) pin Zach Moody (MR), 1:26.
132: Hutson Baumann (C) pin Andrew Blalock (MR), 1:01.
138: Codi Parton (MR) pin Sameh Boulos (C), 1:42.
145: Justin Burkett (MR) dec. Ian Harrison (C), 9-7.
152: Nick Shearin (C) dec. Chris McTague (MR), 7-0.
Reservoir 49, Mt. Hebron 21
106: Troy Kilcarr (Re) wbf.
113: Brandon Wilson (MH) dec. Joe Quattrone (Re), 6-3.
120: Trent Kilcarr (Re) pin Alex Bisant (MH), 1:28.
126: Connor Strunk (MH) dec. Hans Wicklein (Re), 5-0.
132: Paul Quattrone (Re) maj. Liam Curran (MH), 14-0.
138: Sam Rowell (Re) wbf.
145: Joe Kendrick (MH) pin Wes Beattie (Re), 4:44.
152: Brian Beach (Re) wbf.
160: Nick Lucchesi (MH) dec. Brendan Herberger (Re), 5-1.
170: Brian Glueck (Re) pin Tamir Rhames (MH), 4:47.
182: Connor Davis (Re) dec. Max Varipappa (MH), 6-4 OT.
195: Pedro Iriarte (Re) wbf.
220: Michael Sullivan (Re) pin Ryan Hassan (MH), 3:38.
285: Alex Krynski (MH) wbf.
Wilde Lake 39, Hammond 33
106: John Lowe (Ha) pin Matthew (WL), 1:18.
113: Alex Polonsky (WL) wbf.
120: Jordan Trinh (WL) pin Evan Nuss (Ha), 3:32.
126: Daniel Andrews (WL) pin Anthony DiMeo (Ha), 1:09.
132: Wilson Low (Ha) dec. Tyler Anderson (WL), 11-6.
138: Shrief Shata (Ha) dec. Adam Glass (WL), 7-1.
145: Raheem Brown (WL) pin Austin Painter (Ha), 1:30.
152: Jonathan Goodwin (Ha) pin Ryan Drazenovic (WL), 2:36.
160: Bryan Overton (Ha) dec. Tola Morakinyo (WL), 1-0.
170: Josh Thibodeaux (Ha) pin Kris Hines (WL), :41.
182: Nate Haase (WL) pin Ben Ballard (Ha), 2:58.
195: Humphrey Anuh (Ha) pin Perlman (WL), :52.
220: Calvin Collins (WL) pin Jeremy Nelson (Ha), 1:57.
285: T.J. Edwards (WL) dec. Justin Nelson (Ha), 6-0.
Atholton 63, Long Reach 12
Oakland Mills at Howard (score not reported)
Centennial kicked off the holiday week by placing tenth out of 14 teams at the 33rd annual Arundel Holiday Tournament. Nathan Kraisser was excellent for the Eagles, winning the 128-pound weight class and earning the tournament's Outstanding Lightweight award. Kraisser scored two pins, a tech fall and defeated Georgetown Prep's Patrick Hutton, 14-3, in the tournament finals.
Hutson Baumann (134), Sameh Boulos (140) and Nick Shearin (154) each placed sixth for the Eagles.
Leading up to their Tuesday night showdown, Glenelg and River Hill both sharpened their skills at the highly competitive McDonogh Holiday Duals Dec. 29 and 30. River Hill finished 5-3 to place fourth out of nine teams and Glenelg took sixth place with its 3-5 record.
Reservoir bounced back from a 40-30 loss to Oakland Mills on the morning of Dec. 27 to taked third place at the Cougar Claus Holiday Duals Dec. 29 and 30 at Quince Orchard High. The Gators finished 6-2 at the tournament.