Despite his team's No. 3 ranking and its 10-1 record, Northeast coach Al Kohlhafer admitted to being a little apprehensive heading into last night's dual meet with Arundel.
Looking at the lineup, Kohlhafer was confident that his team had the better wrestlers, but the unknown that had him on edge.
"Any time that you go against one of [Arundel coach] Buddy Hepfer's teams you know they're going to be tough kids, they always are," said Kohlhafer.
"Buddy will cry the blues and this, that and the other thing, but you have to be ready for them because they'll take you. No question about it."
Kohlhafer's insecurities peaked when Arundel's Chad Weber pinned Glen Lail in the final seconds of the 125-pound bout, but the Eagles coach was soon breathing easier as Northeast won the next six matches en route to a 40-18 victory in Gambrills.
"The kids really came though tonight and it looks like we're peaking at the right time," said Kohlhafer. "This was a real good match for us and a real good win."
Casey Harrington put Arundel on the board first with a 6-4 decision, but Northeast twins Marty (112) and Mike Kusick (119) each won, giving the Eagles a 10-3 lead. Marty Kusick (16-1) picked up his 10th pin of the season by stopping Wayne Nichols 10 seconds into the second period and Mike Kusick registered an 8-0 win over Phil Meenan.
Weber gave the ninth-ranked Wildcats what he hoped would be an emotional edge heading into the heart of the middle weights when he pinned Lail with 34 seconds left their match. Weber, who was trailing 8-4 at the time of the pin, pulled Northeast to within a point, 10-9.
"I thought [my pin] might spark something, but it didn't," said Weber.
"We tried our best and we thought it would be closer than this, but they came out on top."
Northeast's T. R. Fleming (130) won a decision to initiate the string of victories that was snapped when Arundel's Jon Saverance was awarded a forfeit at 171 pounds.
Lonnie Harris (145) set the Eagles on the right track by pinning Kerry Nobis 3:07 into his match and Jason Grunder followed that victory with a 2-1 decision over Mark Chesla, who had earlier defeated Grunder in the Arundel Tournament.
Ron Katzenberg mathematically eliminated Arundel's hopes for an upset when he defeated Geoff Taylor, 9-2.