Mt. Hebron was anxious to get back on the mat after being dominated by Oakland Mills Thursday. Luckily for the Vikings, their first tournament of the year came just in time.
Four local teams, including Centennial, Long Reach and Howard competed in the District V Duals hosted by Mt. Hebron this weekend.
The Vikings and Eagles finished 6-1, Howard went 4-3 and Long Reach ended 3-4.
"We rebounded off the Oakland Mills match. We definitely showed an improvement and I was very impressed with some of my younger guys," said Vikings coach Todd DeCrispino. "They've never been through a tournament where you have back to back to back matches, and I think they showed a lot of heart. And our conditioning, it was really good so it was nice to see."
The Vikings finished 6-1, losing only to Catonsville 43-21 in the final round, but were without 160 pounder Connor Strunk, who is sidelined for an undetermined amount of time after injuring his surgically repaired shoulder against Wilde Lake on Thursday.
Senior Jeff Hayden went 7-0 to remain undefeated on the season through 13 matches. The two-time state runner-up no longer has nemesis Michael Beck of River Hill around to stop his quest for a state title. Hayden fell to Beck in the county, region and state finals last season, and never beat Beck in 12 matches.
"The last two seasons, I've got some motivation. To lose to someone 12 times, it takes a lot to overcome that," Hayden said. "To come in second at every tournament, there's a hump to keep rising and keep getting better so that's what I'm trying to do."
The next three weeks are the bulk of the schedule for Mt. Hebron, which will be at the Franklin Tournament Jan. 16-17, and Meade Tournament Jan. 23-24.
Mt. Hebron 46, Annapolis 30
Catonsville 43, Mt. Hebron 21
Mt. Hebron 72, Chesapeake 9
Mt. Hebron 71, Friendly 3
Mt. Hebron 69, Glen Burnie 9
Mt. Hebron 61, Long Reach 12
Mt. Hebron 63, Northeast 12
Centennial also battled Catonsville, but fell in a close match, 39-36. Besides that one loss, the Eagles handed Annapolis one of its three loses and dominated the rest of their five duals.
"I thought we did well," said Centennial coach Cliff Kraisser. "We went there to get experience and get some matches. I think we improved as the duals went on. It would have been nice to go 7-0, but Catonsville is tough and we lost a close one."
State champion Austin Kraisser cruised to a 7-0 record at 152 pounds as expected, but coach Kraisser was pleased with several of his other younger wrestlers.
Steven Wysocki finished 7-0 at 195 pounds, while Jacob Blyukher went 6-1 at 106 and 113 pounds.
"Steven is having a really good year so far," Kraisser said. "We've just been building. It's been nice to just battle, and hang in there and just wrestle for six minutes. We have a really young team this year so it was nice to get seven matches in. The guys need matches." ... It was the first varsity tournament.
It was the first varsity tournament of the year for Centennial, and Kraisser knos his team needs as many matches as possible to improve, especially after a long Christmas break.
Centennial 39, Annapolis 36
Catonsville 39, Centennial 36
Centennial 46, Chesapeake 24
Centennial 65, Friendly 3
Centennial 72, Glen Burnie 6
Centennial 57, Northeast 15
Centennial 77, Patterson 0
Long Reach hasn't seen much success on the mat in the past decade. So to walk away from the tournament with its first three wins of the season despite giving up five forfeits each match was vital to changing the culture, said Lightning coach Matt Bogusz.
"The way they went out and wrestled was awesome," he said. "You can't even put into words how important those wins are to those kids to get them to understand what winning is like as a team and coming together and not giving up and getting out of that culture of losing. Getting those wins will hopefully start the ball rolling slowly."
Sophomore Nick Epstein went 7-0 at 120 pounds to improve his overall record to 12-2, while Matt Gilbert went 6-1 between 160 and 170 pounds and first year wrestler Garrett Bowman finished 6-1 at 152 pounds.
Bogusz convinced a few of his wrestlers after last season to compete throughout the spring and summer, and Epstein has been proof of how much offseason competition can help during the season.
"He's doing awesome. He made monumental strides, and looking deeper into the season for Nick, I'm expecting a lot of good things," Bogusz said. "I'm expecting him to potentially be a state qualifier for Long Reach."
Annapolis 48, Long Reach 21
Catonsville 57, Long Reach 19
Long Reach 42, Chesapeake 24
Long Reach 45, Friendly 18
Long Reach 42, Glen Burnie 18
Mt. Hebron 61, Long Reach 12
Northeast 37, Long Reach 36 (Criteria F)
Howard won several close matches to go 4-3, including a 33-30 win over Chesapeake.
Bryan Crumback went 6-1 at 145 pounds for the Lions, while Nicholas Williams ended 5-1 at 126 pounds and Joe Keagle went 5-2 at 152 pounds.
Annapolis 48, Howard 27
Catonsville 61, Howard 18
Howard 33, Chesapeake 30
Dunbar 61, Howard 7
Howard 56, Friendly 18
Howard 42, Glen Burnie 30
Howard 35, Northeast 20
Other tournament results:
Oakland Mills finished third at the Smyrna Eagle Classic Tournament in Delaware this weekend.
The Scorpions placed behind champions Smyrna, the two-time defending large school Delaware state champions, and Milford, the two-time defending small school Delaware state champions.
Senior state champion Jaron Smith wrestled at 182 pounds for the first time this season and won the weight class with a pin in the championship over a Pennsylvania wrestler.
He had to overcome a deficit in his semifinal match against a wrestler from Smyrna.
Matt Claxton (145), Dakota Thompson (120) and Johnny Rynn (113) each finished in second.
"I was extremely proud of the boys. I think they showed a lot of character," said Scorpions coach Brad Howell. I thought we definitely achieved our focus, which was getting better. ... Everybody got battle tested."
Glenelg Country School finished second to West Potomac High School at the Covenant Life Invitational Tournament this weekend.
Eddie Howlette, BK Borowski and Reid Chaconas each won their respective weight classes, while Adam Bothwell, Raj Malvia, Tucker Clay and Emanual Curtis finished second.