WALDORF — Things were looking good for the Hereford Bulls. Cruising 24-8 after five matches, it appeared the team would secure the school's first ever state dual meet wrestling championship. Then, Kent Island woke up.
The Buccaneers won six of the final eight matches, including the final match to defeat No. 5 Hereford (25-5), 35-33, and win the Class 2A/1A state dual meet championship at North Point High School in Charles County.
Damascus, a 30-29 winner over North Hagerstown, won the 4A/3A state title on the adjoining mat.
Leading 33-31 with only the 195-pound match left, Hereford was forced to go with backup wrestler Bryce Fava. Fava got the call because Billy Hess, the regular wrestler at 195, wrestled at 220 due to an injury at that weight.
Fava did his best, but lost in a major decision, 10-0, to Kent Island's Kelsey Haigier.
"Our regular 220-pounder dislocated his elbow two weeks ago, so he couldn't wrestle. I took a chance and bumped our 195 up, and it didn't work out," said Hereford coach Ron Causey. "Take nothing away from Kent Island, though. They were the better team tonight, and they deserved to win."
The Bulls fell behind briefly, but managed to tie the match when Dylan Grey decisioned the Buccaneers' Dmitry Callus, 4-1, to tie the match at 27-27 with three matches left.
At 170, Kent Island's Ryan Spake scored a major decision, 15-5, over Luke Wickiser to give the Buccaneers a 31-27 lead.
Hereford responded in the next match, getting a 49-second pin by Joe Miller at 182 pounds to take a 33-31 lead.
In the final match, though, it was all Haigier. He led 5-0 after the first period, and cruised to a 10-0 victory.
"Our guys did everything they could to win this, but they were the better team," said Hereford senior leader Anthony Genco. "We started with our strength and we looked pretty solid, but it just didn't work out."
The Bulls cruised in the semifinal, building a huge lead and forfeiting the last four weight classes to defeat North Caroline of Caroline County, 44-33.
In that match, the Bulls recorded six pins, including Genco's, which was just nine seconds into his 120-pound match. Kent Island was wrestling on the adjoining mat, and had to fight off a late challenge by Allegany's Mountain Ridge, 33-25, while Hereford watched and rested.
It appeared that the layoff would give the Bulls a big lift, but it didn't work out that way.
In the 4A/3A semifinals, Montgomery County's Damascus advanced to the finals with a 34-33 victory over No. 6 River Hill.
The match was not as close as it seemed, with the Hornets forfeiting four matches to keep their wrestlers fresh. The Hawks could only manage wins at 195 pounds, where Logan Kirby defeated Andy Bausch and at 170, where Sebastian Ames beat Logan Brooks.
North Hagerstown defeated Huntingtown of Charles County, 43-34, in the other 4A/3A semifinal.
Maryland State Dual Meet Championships
(at North Point High, Waldorf)
Hereford 44, North Caroline 33
195: Hess (H) p Schall,:44; 220: Turnbaugh (H) p Merson, 3:00; 285: Blades (NC) p Butler, :12; 106: McNicholas (H) p Suitt-McIntyre,:51; 113: McCormack (NC) d Carter, 4-0; 120: Genco (H) p Vestrand, :09; 126: Meadowcroft (H) p Jantz, 4:39; 132: Lopez (H) p Moore, :23; 138: Worpell (H) md White, 14-2: Kubaba (H) md Silsley, 18-8; 152: Bishop (NC) wbf; 160: Priest (NC) wbf; 170: Walton (NC) wbf; 182: Eaton (NC) wbf.
Kent Island 33, Mountain Ridge 25
Damascus 34, River Hill 33
132: Wilkerson (D) d Erkson, 3-2; 138: Obendorfer (D) d Bond, 7-2; 145: Brooks (D) p Connolly, 1:32; 152: McLaughlin (D) d Gunther, 11-2; 160: Fischer (D) d Daniel, 17-2: 170: Ames (RH) d Brooks, 3-1, OT; 182: Cacopardo (D) d Quam, 706; 195: Kirby (RH) p Bausch, 1:28; 220: RH wbf; 285: RH wbf; 106: Obendorfer (D) p Shealy, 5:40; 113: Macklin (D) d Potts, 17-5; 120: RH wbf ; 126: RH wbf.
North Hagerstown 43, Huntingtown 34
220: Hess (H) p Walzak, 1:24; 285: Turnbaugh (H) p Fowler, 1:17; 103: McNicholas (H) p Ogden, 1:51; 113: Thomas (KI) d Carter, 7-3; 120: Genco (H), p Domoguaer, 1:19; 126: Messersmith (KI) md Meadowcroft, 15-1; 132: Smith (KI) md Lopez, 18-6; 138: Robert (KI) d Worpell (H), 7-2; 145: Smith (KI) p Herbener, 1:44; 152: Smith (KI) p Kubla, 2:55; 160: Grey (H) d Callus, 4-1; 170: Spake (KI) md Wickiser, 15-5; 182: Miller (H) p Ogden, :49; 195: Haiger (KI) d Fava, 10-0.
Damascus 30, North Hagerstown 29