Loyola reverses its fortune


When it comes to reversals on the mat, Loyola's wrestling team pulled a classic against Poly yesterday.

Nick Hunter (160 pounds) gave the Dons an insurmountable 33-12 lead with his 11-7 decision over visiting Poly's Sam Mercer, and the Dons hung on for a 33-30 Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference victory.

Loyola (3-0, 3-0) -- coming off a 39-30 win over McDonogh -- lost to Poly, 33-30, last year after Antre Lewis overcame a 1-0 deficit with his third-period pin of the Dons' Bret Rampada.

Poly (2-1, 1-1) was coming off a 48-27 victory over last year's league runner-up, Boys' Latin. But Hunter's victory offset a pin by Poly's No. 3 Rashad Kitchen (189, 3-0) and forfeits to Arthur Peace (171) and Mike Bayne (heavyweight).

"I saw that my win would secure the match," said Hunter, who was nearly pinned as time elapsed in the first period. "Luckily, I got out and it never happened again."

Trailing 6-0 after a forfeit to Poly's defending city champ Tony Bridges (103), Loyola swept the next six bouts for a 27-6 lead.

The streak ended as Marvin Mendez (145) scored a pin to make it 27-12. Mendez trailed 8-2 before catching Loyola's Mark Lilly in a headlock with 23 seconds left, but the Dons countered for a 30-12lead as Dave Miller (152) overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Poly's Jamaal McCormick, 5-2.

"We wrestled poorly," said Poly coach Bruce Strunk. "We lost a couple of key matches that I thought we'd win. That's the match."

Loyola's momentum began when Scott Smith (112) downed Dwayne Hawkins, 8-4, Dave Riley built a 5-0 lead before pinning Wayne Fraiser in 2:43, and Nick Marsaluak (125) edged Stewart Morgan, 5-4, to put the Dons ahead, 12-6.

It was 27-6 after the Engineers forfeited to Loyola's No. 6 Jason Gibson (130, 13-1), his teammate Nick Hollick (135, 12-2) pinned in 57 seconds, and the Dons' Jeremy Smith (140) overcame a 4-0 first-period deficit to edge Poly's Jaison Bloom, 9-8, on an escape with 22 seconds left.

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