Westminster wanted to show it deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as two-time defending state champion Owings Mills. The No. 6-ranked Owls did just that last night with a 37-27 victory over No. 3 Owings Mills -- the Golden Eagles' first home loss in five years.
Westminster (11-1) lost to Owings Mills (12-1) by just one point last year, thanks to a pin from Golden Eagles heavyweight Anthony Smith. The loss was heartbreaking to the Owls and stayed with them ever since.
"We wanted this," said Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrich, whose team also routed C.M. Wright, 63-6, yesterday. "We thought we were going to win last year, and it's been in the back of our minds. I told the guys that we were on the same level as Owings Mills, and they wrestled tough."
The Owls came up huge in the close matches. Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker, whose team last lost at home to Overlea in early 1992, said the Golden Eagles needed to win two out of three from 130 to 140. The Owls instead took all three with close decisions, which swung the match their way.
Westminster had jumped to an 18-0 lead when Chris Reiter (103), Bobby Biden (112) and Grant Lindsay (119) all registered first-period pins. Steve Kellner (125) then scored for Owings Mills with a 12-6 decision over Jim Reiter.
Then came the three decisions. Kyle Berger (130) edged Justin Hanson, 3-1. Dave Spicer (135) followed with a 6-1 victory over Drew Bowers, and Tim Sharkey (140) rallied for a 7-6 decision over Nick Noelte to make the Owls' lead 27-3.
"Those were the three tossup matches," said Pritzker.
Owings Mills, which routed C.M. Wright by 63-8 earlier yesterday, then began to rally. Ari Dolid (145) and Steve Kessler (152) scored pins to make it 27-15. Kessler had pinned Chris Schneck of C.M. Wright earlier; the Mustang was the lone wrestler ever to score back points against him a few years ago.
But Austin Lanham (160) helped Westminster regain some control with a 14-1 decision over Justin Raphael. Hayden Myers (171) gave the Golden Eagles one last chance as his pin over Jared Brown sliced the lead to 31-21 with two matches left.
But Ray Henry (189) sealed the victory for Westminster with his pin of Ike Himowitz at 1: 26. Smith then finished the night with a pin.
"We just wanted to prove that we could compete with the best," said Spicer. "There is no other feeling in the world like this."
"When two good teams wrestle, somebody has to lose," said Pritzker. "We'll start over next week."
Pub Date: 2/05/97