No. 10 River Hill played defense early in the Class 4A-3A East Region dual championship Thursday night and came from behind to beat Stephen Decatur, 39-27, to advance to Saturday's state dual meet semifinals.

"We were a little nervous when we were down 18 points or something," River Hill sophomore Cory Daniels said. "I knew we had to get back up."

After fighting just to stay close in the early matches, Daniels started the rally with a 16-0 tech fall at 170 pounds that got River Hill on the board with five points. From there, the host Hawks were like a storm blowing through, winning the next seven matches. Among those wins were pins by Logan Kirby (195), Michael Bishoff (113) and Taariq Mohammed (118).


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River Hill (31-6) is in search of its second state dual meet title after winning in 2003. This was the Hawks' first regional championship since 2009, when their 215-pound wrestler Jacob Benedict was a freshman.

On Thursday, Benedict, who is ranked No. 4 in the state, pulled out a key match, bringing his team within one-point at 21-20 when he won 3-1 in overtime against Luke Bargar, who is ranked No. 9.

"I got more pumped up after I got injured," said Benedict, who had a bloody nose and a bitten tongue. "I wanted to get the match over, and I knew I had to be aggressive because he's really tough."

The state semifinals begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at North Point. The finals are scheduled for 5 p.m. River Hill will be the No. 1 seed and will face North Hagerstown, which won the 3A-4A West Region title after getting into the tournament on a coin flip.

"I kind of knew if they got in they had a chance," River Hill coach Brandon Lauer said. "They're a balanced team that wrestles tough competition, and we're going to have put in a good effort if we want to be able to wrestle for the state title."

River Hill advanced to the regional final with a 31-29 win over No. 13 Meade (19-3) earlier Thursday night. Stephen Decatur (14-2) advanced with a 32-31 win over No. 5 South River (28-3).

"I was proud that we beat South River," Decatur coach Todd Martinez said. "And losing to River Hill, I'm proud of us for the way we competed."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

An earlier version of this article misspelled the last name of River Hill coach Brandon Lauer. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

No. 10 River Hill 39, Stephen Decatur 27

106 – Beck (RH) d Rosenblatte (SD), 14-5

113 –Bishoff (RH) p Goggin (SD), 1:51

118 – Mohammed (RH) p Mariner (SD), 2:58

126 – Smith (SD) by forfeit

132 – Hardy (SD) p Lindel (RH), 2:55

138 – Schiffer (SD) tf Guther (RH), 15-0