Winters Mill's Jake Stiff works to pin Francis Scott Key's Connor Coughlin in the 152-pound weight class during a wrestling match at Francis Scott Key High School on Jan. 16, 2019.
Winters Mill's Jake Stiff works to pin Francis Scott Key's Connor Coughlin in the 152-pound weight class during a wrestling match at Francis Scott Key High School on Jan. 16, 2019. (Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

Winters Mill changed things up in its regional dual-meet tournament rematch with Damascus, after the Falcons failed to match up with the Hornets a year ago.

They decided to shuffle their lineup in attempt to stay away from big point swings and knock Damascus from its perch as seven-time regional champs. The Hornets weren’t about to surrender, however.

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Winters Mill’s game plan got rebuffed Wednesday night in the Class 2A West Region semifinals, with Damascus setting the tone en route to a 35-30 victory.

The Hornets reeled off four consecutive pins midway through the match to take control, and had the luxury of giving up the final three bouts as forfeits in order to stay fresh for the championship against Williamsport.

(Damascus defeated the Wildcats 42-33 to add another region crown.)

“I really need to give them props,” WM coach John Lowe about the Hornets. “I thought they wrestled very well tonight. They defended the stuff that we had. They have lungs, like I think they’re in better shape than they were last year. Maybe because they were pinning everybody last year.

“Our guys did as they were coached. … They had an answer for it.”

Winters Mill lost to Damascus in last year’s semifinals 66-12, a pairing that saw the Hornets rack up nine pins along the way.

They had the four pins Wednesday, and their other four victories were grind-it-out decisions that deflated the Falcons (11-4).

Wrestling: Man Valley defeats Tuscarora, falls to Linganore in 3A West regional duals

The unbeaten Lancers beat South Hagerstown to advance, but Manchester Valley couldn’t hand the hosts their first defeat — Linganore prevailed 40-35 to win the Class 3A West region crown.

Josh Burndley (160 pounds) and Trevor Fawley (170), both seniors, each posted victories for Winters Mill, and Fawley’s win cut Damascus’ lead to 9-6. That’s when the Hornets took over — junior Tim Furgeson (182), senior Jack Hembrough (195), junior Aiden Beall (220), and senior Elijah Baisden (285) decked their opponents in succession.

Damascus led 33-6 with five bouts remaining after Baisden pinned Caleb Serafin in 21 seconds.

“It was very frustrating,” Burndley said. “I wish we had worked harder and focused on this match, because Damascus is [a very good] team.”

The Hornets own eight state dual championships, and have won seven in a row (2013-18).

“We just wanted to beat them so badly,” Burndley said.

Winters Mill made its second straight regional duals appearance, and with depth and youth the Falcons expect to be regular participants with their current group.

Burndley, Fawley, Serafin, and Russell MacDowell (138) were the lone seniors in Wednesday’s lineup.

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Brady Forte (106) is a freshman.

Garrett Dell (113), Alex Vagnier (120), Zach Kirby (132), Noah Ocasio (182), Luke Proffitt (195), and Sebastian Springfield (220) are sophomores.

And Colby Unkart (132), Hunter Merson (138), and Jake Stiff (152) are juniors.

Lowe said the focus shifts to individual success from here, with county, regional, and state tournaments on the horizon. But the postseason duals experience is one Winters Mill won’t stop seeking.

“They’re getting used to coming here every postseason,” Lowe said. “We want to come here next year and do something a little different — maybe make somebody come see us.”

138: Brodie Douglas (D) dec. Hunter Merson 11-6

145: Chris Hyre (D) dec. Russell MacDowell 5-0

152: Isiah Bell (D) dec. Jake Stiff 9-2

160: Josh Burndley (WM) dec. Andrew Creedon 9-7

170: Trevor Fawley (WM) dec. Sam O’Brian 9-7

182: Tim Furgeson (D) pin Noah Ocasio 1:26

195: Jack Hembrough (D) pin Luke Proffitt 3:44

220: Aiden Beall (D) pin Sebastian Springfield 2:00

285: Eliljah Baisden (D) pin Caleb Serafin 0:21

106: Brady Forte (WM) by forfeit

113: Silas Patton (D) dec. Garrett Dell 9-2

(Damascus -1 team point for misconduct)

120: Alex Vagnier (WM) by forfeit

126: Zach Kirby (WM) by forfeit

132: Colby Unkart (WM) by forfeit

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