The Arundel Wildcats were just another team in a wide-open Anne Arundel county wrestling championship race in early December.
Most people talked more about what traditional powers Old Mill and Northeast did not have than what Arundel did have.
Even Broadneck got more preseason attention than Arundel.
But when the clock struck midnight Saturday night at Annapolis High in the latest finish in the 37-year history of the Anne Arundel County tournament, the Wildcats were strutting their stuff as county champions.
Arundel had gone to the wire with two-time defending county tournament champion Northeast and came out on top with 174 points to 165.5 for the second-place Eagles.
Broadneck was a distant third with 126 points and six-time 3A-4A state champion Old Mill fell to fourth with 108 points.
Seventh-ranked Arundel just had too much depth for 12th-ranked Northeast, scoring big in the consolation wrestlebacks to nullify the advantage the Eagles had by placing six wrestlers in the championship finals compared to three for Arundel.
Northeast took four firsts (Glen Mosco, Chris Morrow, T.R. Fleming and Scott Laumann) to one for Arundel (Isaac Haertel), but the Eagles were hurt badly in the wrestlebacks.
Pat Ortman and Pat Crouse had second-place finishes for Arundel.
Arundel coach Buddy Hepfer said: "We've come a long way this season. We were super in the wrestlebacks, and we'll enjoy it for one day and then start thinking about the regionals."
Northeast's Morrow improved to 21-0 with a 5-4 decision over Broadneck's Lonnie Donner in the featured bout of the evening at 135 pounds.
In the other marquee bout of the night, Southern's Tyrone Neal, ranked No. 1 in the state at 140 pounds, scored a 9-0 major decision over Northeast's Jay Queer.
Old Mill only had seven wrestlers in the tournament but placed three in the finals to make a respectable showing.