Fueled by four individual champions, the Fallston Cougars won their second straight Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference wrestling championship Saturday at Aberdeen.
The Cougars (189.5) sent five wrestlers into the finals, as did Bel Air (184), which held a 174-171.5 lead entering the crucial matches. Two of the five were head-to-head between the two, with Fallston winning 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 coach Andy Amasia said.
After CJ Austin's nail-biting 4-3 win over Bel Air's John Cross at 152 pounds, the difference was still 2.5 points because of Cameron Watts' 7-2 title win for Bel Air at 132.
At 170, Bel Air seemed in control of the tourney with William Holder-Moore pinning Perryville's David Doring in 2 minutes, 59 seconds.
Fallston, however, won three of the final four bouts to capture the title.
Austin Rutkowski won 4-2 over Harford Tech's Nathan Cook at 182, setting 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. The 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.
Other Harford County wrestlers to win titles were Travis Hubler of Aberdeen at 126, Ben Swanson of C. Milton Wright at 145 and Eric Eckstein of Patterson Mill at 220.
Hereford wins Baltimore County Championship: The Bulls produced four individual champions and won their first Baltimore County wrestling tournament team title since 2009 and coach Ron Causey couldn't have been more ecstatic.
"These boys came to wrestle this weekend and they wrestled beautifully," Causey said. "I'm very proud of these boys. These are great kids. They have a great work ethic, great attitude and great desire."
Anthony Genco (113 pounds), Billy Hess (170), Brock Turnbaugh (195) and Mike Swiger (220) won individual titles to help the Bulls (200.5 points) hold off Owings Mills (186), which fell short in its bid for a fourth straight county title.
Catonsville (143.5) was third, followed by Eastern Tech (112.5) and Western Tech (107).
Hereford's surprise champion was fourth-seeded sophomore Hess, who beat third-seeded Trevar Jackson of Catonsville, 7-0. "This whole season I've kind of been the underdog," Hess said. "I haven't won a tournament, and I just went out there and I controlled the match."
Genco earned an 18-9 major decision over Brandon Bekar of Owings Mills, and Swiger pinned Catonsville's Jordan Reynolds in the third period.
Turnbaugh made Bull fans sweat as he scored a takedown with 15 seconds left in the third period for a 4-2 win over Catonsville's Jordan Reynolds.
"I just gut it out," Turnbaugh said. "I get that feeling where if I don't do something now, it doesn't look too good for me later, so I took a chance and it ended coming out in my favor."
Hereford also had four third-place finishers in Andrew Lopez (126), Kevin Wheeler (132), Dylan Grey (152) and Joe Miller (182).
"We were 18-1 in our last 19 matches here, and that is when the competition gets tougher," Causey said. Owings Mills, which was gunning for its eighth county title since 2001, had three county champions in Jake Rendelman (106), Antwan Reddick (152) and Komil Jaraev (182).
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Glenelg wins Howard County: Led by defending state champion Sean Twigg's heavyweight title, the Gladiators won the Howard County wrestling tournament at Oakland Mills, 224.5-216, over defending champion River Hill.
River Hill, which was 11-0 during the Howard County dual-meet season, crowned five champs — Michael Beck (106), Taariq Mohammed (113), Brian Kirby (182) and defending champions Cory Daniel (195) and Logan Kirby (220). But all 13 of Glenelg's wrestlers placed fifth or higher, including finalists Chris Winter (113), Ryan Carter (138) and Anthony Pagnotta (170).
Wilde Lake's Tola Morakinyo (170), who scored a 40-second pin the finals, earned the Glenn DeVane Outstanding Wrestler award.
Oakland Mills senior Zach Hensley (120) became a three-time county champion in front of his home crowd, while Reservoir's Mason Kilcarr (132) and Wilde Lake's Malik Jackson (145), both juniors, earned their second titles.
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Carver wins Baltimore City: The Bears posted three first-place finishers and two second-place to win the Baltimore City championship.
Top finishers were David Broome (126), Derrick Lee (152) and Monteze Durant (182). Second-place finishers were Paul McBride (113) and Alfonso Smith (220).