Aberdeen 5 & 10: 5 champs produce 10th straight title


Three defenders were among Aberdeen's five individual champions, as the Eagles extended their record team run to 10 successive Harford County wrestling titles Saturday night at Havre de Grace High School.

Repeaters Frank Johnson, Chad Gurrera and junior Kit Doran, plus Chad Bratton and DeWayne Whitley helped Aberdeen amass 202.5 points.

North Harford, third the previous two years, had two champions and 136 points, followed by Bel Air, with three champions and 118.5 points.

Of Aberdeen's five champions, Johnson, a senior, had the closest call at 135 pounds.

Down 3-1 to top seed Patrick Elliott, a Fallston junior, Johnson got a takedown with five seconds left in regulation to tie the match, then won with a takedown in the first minute of overtime.

Recording pins in the championship round were Bratton (3 minutes, 28 seconds against Edgewood's Robert Loss at 112), Bel Air's Matt Carlsen (3:16 against Joppatowne's Darren Swift at 125), and Doran (1:32 against Havre de Grace's Aaron Schorah at 152).

This was a more balanced field than in recent seasons, with seven of the 13 top seeds winning titles, compared to 11 last year and 12 two years ago.

The biggest upset came at 189, where Tom Staab, a sophomore from North Harford, earned an early point and held on to hand defending titlist Chris Allen of Aberdeen his second loss of the year.

Allen was 25-1 going into the final, having lost only to Greg Stotlar of John Carroll, an opponent he later defeated.

Allen had won a regular-season meeting with Staab, 8-4, but the North Harford wrestler said he went into the final thinking he could win.

"I guess it was endurance and I outlasted him," Staab said.

North Harford teammate Paul Konschak (171) and Bel Air heavyweight Dick Barwick also reversed regular-season losses.

Konschak defeated Edgewood's Mike Grant, 12-4, marking the latter's second straight runner-up finish, and Barwick stopped Russell Cook of Fallston, 5-2.

Barwick had lost his first meeting with the 252-pound Cook (21-4, and unbeaten in the county prior to the tournament) in the closing seconds.

"I made some mistakes the last time and I learned from them," Barwick said.

First-year Bel Air coach Craig Reddish said of his 230-pound senior, "He wrestled a much smarter match against him this time."

Mistakes almost cost Havre de Grace's Corey Pascuzzi, fourth a year ago, a title at 119.

Ahead of Fallston freshman Joe Ercalano, 9-4, in the third period, Pascuzzi (23-3; no losses since before Christmas), lost four penalty points in succession, for stalling and illegal holds.

"I don't know what I was thinking about," he said of the holds.

Ercalano, who put up a solid effort, said Pascuzzi had an advantage because, "he's stronger and more experienced."

Earlier, Jeff Brochu of Havre de Grace, top-ranked at 103, had to forfeit because of illness midway through his match with Thomas Free.

He had been sick the past week, but still earned a technical fall over Jason Blevins of North Harford in the semifinals. He gave it a try in the final, but had to retire.

First-year C. Milton Wright coach Kenny Bryant was without five of his regulars because of injuries and team disciplinary action.

Vince Tucciarella and third-place winner Barry Mitchell (171) were the only seniors, and Bryant got some strong performances from the freshmen and sophomores with whom he plugged his lineup.

The best was freshman was Corey Grace, a first-year wrestler who scored a pin to take third at 112. The Mustangs went on to collect 62 points.

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