When Sparrows Point senior Dom Ambrosio took the mat against Catonsville senior Josh Sampson in the 132-pound bout, in the first match of the season for both teams, the score was tied at 12-12 after four weight classes.
Ambrosio led 7-0 in the third period when he pinned Sampson with 1:05 left in the period.
The Pointers built on the momentum to win eight of the final nine matches and cruise to a 60-18 victory. The match was the first in a tri-meet at Western Tech.
“I was actually focused on scoring more and I’ve been trying to score more points rather than just pin them in the first period. I didn’t mean for it to last that long, so I just scored a couple points and then got it over with,” Ambrosino said. “He was a wiry kid. There is always work to do.”
Ambrosio was second in the Baltimore County tournament as a sophomore at 106 pounds and was named to the All-County first team. Like everyone in the county, he missed his junior season because of the COVID pandemic.
“Ambrosino and (Wayne) Brooks, I was expecting six out of both of them and Dom eventually did, but it was a battle,” said Sparrows Point coach Mike Whisner, who watched his team finish with eight pins.
Catonsville coach George Dunn, in his first season at Catonsville after 11 years at Lansdowne, was impressed with his senior Sampson who was on varsity as a sophomore.
“He held his own, there are a couple of little things he can improve,” Dunn said.
Dunn, who replaced Eric Warm, was even more impressed with the early work of sophomores Toby Eveleth (120 pounds) and Drew Ritter (126)
When Eveleth took the mat, the Comets trailed 12-0 after a pin by Christian Manley (106) and forfeit win from Tyler Maynor.
Eveleth led Gabe Dorsey 14-4 when he secured the fall with 17 seconds left in the match.
“He wrestled well and he still needs to get in a little better shape and that’s something we want to continue to work on early in the season,” Dunn said.
Ritter was tied with Alex Weber 2-2 when he got the pin with 42 seconds left in the first period.
“That was a good match for him,” Dunn said. “It was a real gut check and he was able to come back and it was a close match.”
But Ambrosino changed the momentum and the Pointers piled up the points with pins from Tanner Cooper, Jason Worthington, DeAndre Duvall, Dom Parks, Jacub Seigle and Hunter Petrovia, to go along with decisions from Brooks and Matt Laubach.
Catonsville’s only points during that stretch came from a pin by Eric Grap at 152 pounds.
Despite the convincing win, Whisner — whose Pointers have won the last two Baltimore County championships — didn’t want his squad to get too confident.
“You never know what to expect, the kids have rust and you’ve really got to see what they need to work on and some kids need to work on their gas tank a little bit more,” Whisner said.
Dunn has high expectations for several of his wrestlers and the opener was just the first building block.
“First year coming in we are trying to instill our mentality and we want to move forward through the matches and stuff and it’s a growing process,” Dunn said. “It is the first match and that’s a heck of a first test, now we know what we need to work on. They are a seasoned team.”
Whisner had nothing but respect for his first opponent.
“It was a challenge starting off with Catonsville because we knew how good they are and I’ve known George for years, a very talented coach and we knew they were going to have their kids ready,” he said. “So we knew it was going to be a battle even though the final score didn’t reflect it, it was still a battle out there.”