Joey Thomas sat along the back wall of the gymnasium inside South Carroll High School, fresh off his win in the county wrestling tournament finals.
The Cavaliers junior was sweaty and catching his breath but keeping an eye on the rest of the championship matches, with six SC teammates still alive and county titles on the line.
"Right now we have seven in the finals and potentially seven of them are going to win it," Thomas said, "so that would be great."
He was nearly spot-on.
South Carroll crowned six champs and celebrated its second consecutive county tourney title Saturday. The Cavaliers totaled 175 points and held off runner-up Westminster (135) and Winters Mill (132). It's the first time in their program history the Cavs have claimed back-to-back county tournaments.
Thomas, who won his third straight county title, this one at 113 pounds, was joined by freshman Cam Werner (120), junior Jake Mackenzie (132), senior Shane Conners (152), junior Jamar Williams (160), and senior Talmadge Eller (182).
Williams and Eller each won their second county title in as many years, while Thomas kept alive his chances to earn four crowns and join an elite group.
Thomas (47-0) beat Winters Mill's Bailey Konold 20-5 and was in command from the start, but said winning his first championship as a freshman was a bit more memorable.
"I was coming in … at 90 pounds, and I didn't know how I'd do against the big guys," Thomas said. "But I knew I had the technique."
Werner beat Liberty's Jake Griffin 11-5 and Mackenzie downed Westminster's Brad Walsh 9-4 before Conners, Carroll County's wins leader, pinned Liberty's Evan Bliden in the second period of their bout.
Williams followed with a 19-4 victory over Westminster's Garrett Vandervalk, and Eller clipped Francis Scott Key's Alex Bracy 9-4 for his second title.
Westminster crowned three county champs in seniors Ryker Eckenbarger (126) and Austin Raines (170), and junior Jamie Rodriguez (220).
Raines won his second straight county title by outlasting Winters Mill's Kyle Fisher, who celebrated his 100th career win Friday night. Raines held on for a 3-2 win in the finals.
Rodriguez edged Century's Sam Rothstein 2-1 in their bout, while Eckenbarger clipped SC's Tom Boldosser 1-0 in a thriller.
The wrestlers were scoreless late in the third period when Eckenbarger broke free of Boldosser's grip for a one-point escape with about 20 seconds to go.
The Owls senior, who earlier this season became Westminster's all-time wins leader, said the moment wasn't lost on him.
"I knew it was going to be a tight match, and it was," said Eckenbarger, who is 39-2. "I mostly thought, do not panic, keep wrestling your match, and points will come. … Just be patient, don't try anything too risky.
"It means a lot, and I'm happy that I can finish my senior year strong."
Century seniors Teddy Nava (138) and Nick Donoghue (285) each won county titles, with Donoghue winning his second straight after beating Key's Joey Eichelman 5-2. Nava topped Manchester Valley's Elijah Williams 14-5.
MV's Ethan Bare (195), Williams' teammate, denied FSK's Jon Milstreed of a second straight county crown when the senior won 4-3.
The Mavericks also had Logan Garland (145) in the finals, going for county title No. 3. But North Carroll's Connor Waskiewicz denied his bypass rival by winning 4-3.
Panthers sophomore Liam Pence (106) pinned Liberty's Jake Gaskin in the first period to start the championship finals.
South Carroll had a 14-point lead over Winters Mill heading into that final round, and SC coach Bryan Hamper liked his team's chances with seven finalists. The end result bodes well for the next two weekends, he said, with regional and state tournaments still to come and the Cavaliers reigning champs of both.
"We wrestled really well in the finals, but there's always room to be better," Hamper said. "I think we're capable of more, but this was evidence of peaking at the right time."
1. South Carroll 175, 2. Westminster 135, 3. Winters Mill 132, 4. Century 107, 5. Manchester Valley 89.5, 6. Francis Scott Key 84, 7. North Carroll 74, 8. Liberty 64.
106: Liam Pence (NC) pin Jake Gaskin 0:35.
113: Joey Thomas (SC) tech fall Bailey Konold (WM) 20-5.
120: Cam Werner (SC) dec. Jake Griffin (L) 11-5.
126: Ryker Eckenbarger (W) dec. Tom Boldosser (SC) 1-0.
132: Jake Mackenzie (SC) dec. Brad Walsh (W) 9-4.
138: Teddy Nava (C) m-dec. Elijah Williams (MV) 14-5.
145: Connor Waskiewicz (NC) dec. Logan Garland (MV) 4-3.
152: Shane Conners (SC) pin Evan Bliden (L) 2:55.
160: Jamar Williams (SC) tech fall Garrett Vandervalk (W) 19-4.
170: Austin Raines (W) dec. Kyle Fisher (WM) 3-2.
182: Talmadge Eller (SC) dec. Alex Bracy (FSK) 9-4.
195: Ethan Bare (MV) dec. Jon Milstreed (FSK) 4-3.
220: Jamie Rodriguez (W) dec. Sam Rothstein (C) 2-1.
285: Nick Donoghue (C) dec. Joey Eichelman (FSK) 5-2.
106: Koson Vantanaporn (WM) pin Evan Hock (SC) 0:35.
113: Dylan Fitzgerald (C) dec. Tim O'Connell (L) 7-2.
120: Dan Carr (WM) dec. Steven Dahl (C) 5-1.
126: Zach McAleer (MV) dec. Aaron Nelson (NC) 9-4.
132: Troy Blessing (WM) pin Nik Gordon (NC) 4:23.
138: Tyler Watkins (W) dec. Evan Berman (L) 5-4.
145: Riley Eckenbarger (W) dec. Bryan Drager (WM) 8-2.
152: Sam Herring (FSK) dec. Kevin Pearson (C) 7-1.
160: David Marquez (MV) pin Neal Rinker (WM) 6:16 OT.
170: Cody Davis (C) m-dec. Patrick Kelly (SC) 16-2.
182: Jordan Tuekam (WM) pin Kyle Hull (MV) 4:27.
195: Jason Morris (WM) pi Carlo Grasso (SC) 0:59.
220: David Young (FSK) pin A.J. Holmes (WM) 0:52.
285: Chris Gartrell (W) pin Harry Walsh (NC) 0:59
106: Liam Pence, NC
113: Joey Thomas, SC
120: Cam Werner, SC
126: Ryker Eckenbarger, Westminster
132: Jake Mackenzie, SC
138: Teddy Nava, Century
145: Connoe Waskiewicz, NC
152: Shane Conners, SC
160: Jamar Williams, SC
170: Austin Raines, Westminster
182: Talmadge Eller, SC
195: Ethan Bare, MV
220: Jamie Rodriguez, Westminster
285: Nick Donoghue, Century