Marriotts Ridge has had Tuesday’s dual meet at Mt. Hebron circled on its calendar since Dec. 7.
The Mustangs have had a near-perfect season so far, accumulating a 24-1 dual-meet record that includes breakthrough a wins against Oakland Mills and Glenelg and a tournament title at the Rebel Duals this past weekend.
The only thing keeping Marriotts Ridge from claiming complete excellence is a single loss at the hands of the Vikings at the Golden Eagle Duals at Aberdeen during the first weekend of the season. It was a defeat that should not have happened, Mustangs coach Jason Conley said.
“We knew we shouldn’t have lost the first time,” he said. “We wrestled really poorly, and they wrestled for themselves. They were kind of selfish the first time. They didn’t know how good they could be.”
In a month and a week’s time, Marriotts Ridge has gone from having untapped potential to seeing it all come to fruition. And on Tuesday, the Mustangs finally got that bad taste out of their mouth and dominated Mt. Hebron, 50-18, to improve to 24-1 and remain tied atop the Howard County standings.
The result was never in doubt. Marriotts Ridge won 10 of 14 matches, including five by fall and two via forfeit, and never trailed. Conley said the team decided to hold out a couple wrestlers over the weekend to be as fresh as possible to exact revenge.
“I had a few kids that are banged up that probably shouldn’t have been wrestling but said they were wrestling,” he said. “They’re like, ‘No, we’re wrestling, it’s Hebron,’ so I had my actual full lineup, and everybody was putting some band aids on.”
No. 15 Mt. Hebron (4-2 Howard County, 17-7) had an opportunity in the first match to set the tone. Aown Dar (170) had Zach Bedell on his back within the first minute, but Bedell was able to escape and turn the tables late in the period with a five-point headlock. Bedell held on for a 9-4 decision for the Mustangs — a result that was switched in the first meeting in December — and they took a 9-0 after Tyler Gladstone’s second-period pin at 182 pounds.
Mt. Hebron’s underrated John Ross (195) kept the home team in it early on. He built an 11-0 lead before pinning Thomas Buckley in 2 minutes, 44 seconds to keep is undefeated season intact, but the Vikings’ lack of heavyweights took any potential momentum away.
Idrees Ibrahim (220) and Jack Baxter (heavyweight) were awarded forfeits back-to-back, and Marriotts Ridge’s three-point lead immediately jumped to 15.
The pins came soon after that. Arya Habibi (106) gave up the first takedown to Mt. Hebron’s Lucas Lopez but mounted six points in the rest of the first period before locking up a cradle and pinning Lopez in 3:21.
A decision for the Vikings’ Mo Khan at 113 pounds wasn’t enough. Brendan Glover (120) and Colin Wiggins (126) each had first-period falls for No. 9 Marriotts Ridge (6-0, 25-1). The lead was 39-9 at that point, and two matches later Tyler Bury’s 13-9 victory at 138 pounds sealed the Vikings’ fate.
“It was a completely different team,” Mt. Hebron coach Dan Harman said of Marriotts Ridge. “They beat us. You know, we gave up five pins, and that was the game plan: not giving up pins. You’re not going to win the dual giving up that many pins.”
The result was decided when two potential county championship matches took place at 132 and 152 pounds.
The Vikings’ Jack McGuire and the Mustangs’ Julian Depireux were locked in a 2-2 match entering the third period when McGuire earned an escape and quickly reversed Depireux’s takedown to win a 5-4 decision.
“Jack has been wrestling really well,” Harman said. “That was a tough match. He’s going to see him again.”
At 152, Marriotts Ridge senior and two-time state tournament placer Ethan Bohan secured three takedowns and beat last year’s region champion and state placer Bryce Kampert, 8-3.
Will Vaxmonsky (160) closed out the dual meet with a fall, though the Mustangs were deducted a team point for an unsportsmanlike penalty after the match.
Conley said his team is trying not to look too far ahead, but it was clear he knows what’s ahead. Meetings with River Hill, the other team perfect in league competition, and Hammond are the last major hurdles between possibly winning their first county dual meet championship.
“We’re one or two injuries away from not being able to accomplish what we want,” Conley said. “It’s Howard County. Howard County has good wrestling … but we want to win it.”
Marriotts Ridge 50, Mt. Hebron 18
170: Zach Bedell (MR) dec. Aown Dar (MH), 9-4 [3-0]
182: Tyler Gladstone (MR) pinned Alan Covert (MH), 3:28 [9-0]
195: John Ross (MH) pinned Thomas Buckley (MR), 2:44 [9-6]