Catonsville’s chance for a second straight unbeaten dual-meet wrestling season ended in a 40-36 season-opening loss at Owings Mills on Dec. 5, and coach Eric Warm used that loss as fuel for a home tri-meet on Dec. 10 and his squad responded with an impressive sweep of Dundalk and Western Tech.
The Comets (2-1) defeated the Owls, 66-15, in their opener and closed the night with a 60-15 victory over the Wolverines.
Alex Liberto (126), Ewan Hemmis (132), Parker Ritter (138), Tye Perry (152) and Michael Bowers (170) each had two pins.
Western Tech got pins from Alfred Murdock (195) and Peter Jaquet (182) and a 9-4 decision from Darrin Brown (120) against the Comets.
Ritter’s overtime pin against Dundalk’s Nathan McAllister came in the highlight match of the night.
“He took him down straight to his back and the kid just gave up,” said Warm, who expected a closer match against Dundalk. “I was expecting a little more firepower from Dundalk, last year it came down to the last match and Bowers won it and we were expecting another dogfight.”
His squad was prepared for a tight match and they delivered.
“I had these guys mentally ready because we lost a dogfight to Owings Mills and it was as close of a match, but I had them mentally ready for a close match.” Warm said.
Catonsville won the Class 3A-4A Division title last year and lost in the regional duals semifinals. Owings Mills won the Class 1A-2A Division title and captured the Baltimore County tournament championship.
“We had them where we wanted and we let them off the hook,” Warm said. “They stepped up when they needed to and they deserved the win.”
In the match against Catonsville, the Wolverines never had a chance because they forfeited five weight classes and there was a double forfeit at 113 pounds.
Catonsville senior Hemmis, who finished 33-12 last season, is the top returning wrestler on the Comets and he pinned Solomon Collick in 15 seconds, despite wearing full headgear to protect his lip which was bloodied in practice a day earlier.
Hemmis’ two victories came after he lost a decision by one point to Owings Mills two-time state champion Alex Dufour in the opener.
“Against Owings Mills, I didn’t juggle the lineup, we went straight at it,” said Warm, whose strategy in dual meets may be different this season. “We didn’t do too great in counties or regionals last year and there may have been too much lineup juggling and not enough tough matches given out to the guys, so I made our schedule harder.”
Beside Owings Mills, the Comets will also wrestle at Aberdeen, at South Hagerstown and at Oakland Mills at the end of the regular season.
Tournament schedule includes the Boonsboro Invitational (Dec. 13-14), New Years Brawl at Easton High (Jan. 3-4) and at North County (Jan. 17-18).
The Comets next home dual meet is Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. against Milford Mill.
Another Comet senior who is coming off a fine season, when he went 27-20, is senior Michael Bowers.
Bowers earned first-period falls against Dundalk and Western Tech.
Catonsville’s lineup against Western Tech also included forfeit winners Josh Sampson (106), Chase Ritter (145), Zach Einoff (160), Que’rell Montique (220) and Luke Pittman (285).
Freshman Danny Perez-Hernandez (113) was part of a double forfeit and freshman Mason Ritter lost a 9-4 decision, while Brandon Hull (182) and Grant Nyland (195) lost by pins.
For Western Tech, the graduation of Ike Kalu (220 pounds), second in the state tournament the past two seasons, leaves junior Murdock as the Wolverines’ top grappler.
He went 2-2 at the state tournament and finished 34-13.
“He’s a regional placer who we are looking at getting over the hump,” Western Tech coach Juan Solera said. “He did a lot in the off-season, he did MAWA (Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Association) and he also did sophomore nationals down in Virginia Beach, so he’s been doing the necessary work to get the results that he is getting right now.”
Murdock is currently 11-0 after going unbeaten at the Aberdeen Duals, including a win over JoJo Herring, a Southern AA senior.
“He had a pretty good weekend, he beat a couple of ranked wrestlers,” Solera said. “He beat a state-ranked 220-pounder (Herring), it was the best match of the entire tournament.”
In the opening match of the tri-meet at Catonsville, Western Tech lost 48-29 to Dundalk.
“The score didn’t really indicate how close it was,” Solera said.
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Murdock, Jaquet and Brown had pins against Dundalk.