Despite being in different counties and different classifications, the Mt. Hebron and Owings Mills wrestling teams know each other well.
Eagles coach Ryan Mackin was in the coaching corner for many of the Vikings’ wrestlers during offseason tournaments in Maryland and New Jersey the last two years, and he has seen their growth first-hand.
“Just seeing some of these kids, the way they developed, it’s been great,” said Mackin, a Hammond graduate. “It's kind of cool to watch them all together.”
So there were no secrets Thursday when Owings Mills traveled to Mt. Hebron for a non-league dual meet, which the Vikings won, 42-33, by taking eight of the matches and six by fall or forfeit. It’s the first loss of the year for the No. 14 Eagles.
“We just wrestled tough and, you know, when we had a couple chances to get six, we took those chances, and we kept it tight when we were in those types of matches,” Mt. Hebron coach Dan Harman said.
The Vikings (10-2) never trailed in the match and led by as much as 18 early on. Lucas Lopez (106) got a first-period pin and Stephen Sine (120) and Jack McGuire (132) earned forfeits between Aamil Vahora’s (126) 10-4 decision.
The Eagles (3-1) rallied by relying on their three best wrestlers to get back even. Two-time state champions, seniors Alex Dufour (138) and Phil Smith (152), easily pinned their opponents, and freshman Amondre Wooden (145), who Mackin called “the truth” and “the future of Baltimore County wrestling,” got a 59-second pin.
“Phil and Alex, I think if I had to put my chips on it, they’re going to achieve their individual goals before the end of the season,” Mackin added. “I think what they really want to do is, OK, we’re conquered the county, region and state tournament a couple times, I want to conquer something a little bit more as a team. ... Let’s be realistic, it’s probably not a state championship team but that doesn’t mean it can’t be an overachieving team, and I think that’s what they want to do, and they’re putting in an effort to become leaders and take this program under their wing.”
The outcome was decided rather quickly after Owings Mills’ run of falls. Bryce Kampert (160), Noah Manasterli (170) and Aown Dar (182) each got pins in four minutes or less, and John Ross’ (195) 8-4 victory sealed the win.
Wes Beckett (220) and Jermar Bennett (285) closed the dual with a forfeit and pin, respectively, for Owings Mills.
It was a signature win for Mt. Hebron, which went 7-1 and placed second at the Golden Eagle Duals at Aberdeen last weekend but lost to county rival Glenelg on Tuesday. The Vikings struggled last year after reaching the 3A state duals finals in 2017-18, but Harman believes his lineup — anchored by McGuire, who Harman called the hardest working kid in the room “by far,” Kampert and Manasterli — is consistent and deep enough to make another postseason run.
“We know with our group that we have high expectations of being a top team and qualifying for the postseason, that’s the goal,” Harman said. “Everybody's just working hard and a lot of our varsity kids wrestled all summer and spring and fall, and that whole group of kids was on varsity last year as sophomores and now there's a big group of juniors on varsity that have a good amount of varsity experience.”
Mt. Hebron 42, Owings Mills 33
106: Lucas Lopez (MH) pinned Jaylon McDonald (OM), 1:21 [6-0]
113: Carl Harkley (OM) dec. Jeremy Fox (MH), 6-3 [6-3]