Out-of-town teams rule Gilman Duals


In a gutty performance among heavyweights, DeMatha's Paul Babbington scored an overtime takedown on Anthony Smith, securing a 4-2 decision and a 31-29 victory over Owings Mills, ranked No. 5 in the area.

The win earned third place in yesterday's Gilman Duals for DeMatha, coached by Elkridge resident Dick Messier. Blair Academy, ranked No. 2 in New Jersey and No. 12 in the nation by USA Today, won the event for the fourth time, 42-21, over St. Mark's of Delaware.

"If our 189-pounder [Kirk Lurie] gets the pin, then we have a tie match. It was that close," said Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker. "It was a good showing by my kids overall."

Owings Mills (14-2), twice a Gilman Duals runner-up, had opened with a 40-24 victory over last year's runner-up Oxford (Pa.) -- with Ari Dolid (130 pounds), Steve Kessler (140), Josh Ezrine (160) and Lurie getting pins -- before losing its semifinal, 39-18, to Blair.

Fifth-place Old Mill (14-1), which had virtually clinched its 11th Anne Arundel County dual-meet crown two days earlier over No. 4 Northeast, won just three bouts against Blair Academy in its opening match as Gary Serago (130) won in overtime, Paul Hultgren (135) by major decision and Eric Donoway (171) by forfeit.

The Patriots' top-ranked Don Patterson (189, 19-2) dropped an overtime decision.

Kessler, a defending state champ who is ranked second in the state, easily won the gold medal, improving his record to 19-0 and a state career record 55-0 overall. The sophomore pinned twice and had a 9-1 decision over DeMatha's sixth-ranked Billy Phillips.

Dolid (130, 16-1), the event's gold medalist for his class, used a leg cradle to wrap up each of his three opponents for pins, yet the slender 5-foot-9 sophomore has just seven pins overall.

The last one was the most impressive as he overcame a 7-4 deficit against DeMatha's Stu Meny -- a wrestler who weighed 160 three weeks ago. "My coach told me he [Meny] was dropping 30 pounds and that he wouldn't last the whole match," said Dolid.

Silver medalists Adam Fink (119, 17-2) and Josh Ellin (125, 18-1) won twice for the Eagles. Fink lost only to DeMatha's top-ranked, two-time National Preps champ Todd Beckerman, who is 31-1 this season and 131-1 for his career.

Old Mill's brightest spot was gold medalist Hultgren (15-3). Coming off Thursday's 5-3 upset loss at 140 to Northeast's T.R. Fleming, he shut out his three opponents by a combined 18-0, including two major decisions.

"We talked about the loss to Fleming in practice yesterday, and it made me work a little harder," said Hultgren. "I wanted to have a good tournament and I really picked it up today."

Silver medalist Patterson (10 pins), who was third in last year's states, pinned his next two opponents, as did teammate Mike George (140) after being pinned against Blair, as Old Mill rebounded for fifth place with a 34-24 decision over Oxford and 33-26 over Woodberry Forest of Virginia.

Old Mill's bronze medalist Mike Hines (160, 20-3), a 15-5 loser of his first match, scored a pin and a major decision over his next two.

For Gilman, which finished seventh, gold medalist Greg Plitt (171) won two decisions and a major decision.

DeMatha (9-3), ranked No. 3 in Maryland, has lost only to St. Mark's, Old Mill and Damascus, ranked No. 1 in Maryland.

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