The Old Mill Patriots knew they had to take care of business right from the start against visiting Arundel last night. And did they ever.
Early pins and winning the tight matches gave the No. 8-ranked Patriots a sizable lead that they would need before securing their 14th Anne Arundel County dual meet championship with a 37-27 win over previously unbeaten and fifth-ranked Arundel in Old Mill's packed gym.
Simply put, the Wildcats (12-1, 10-1 in the county) didn't know what hit them as they saw their string of two county championships end.
The Patriots (12-1, 11-0) had built a 33-0 lead before Arundel got its first points on Graham Harris' 10-7 decision over Tony Cooksey at 145.
Old Mill clinched the championship the very next match, when 152-pounder Eric DeCosmo earned a 13-4 major decision over Ryan Harris.
"That was great. I hope I don't wake up if I'm dreaming," said Old Mill coach Mike Hampe. "We hoped to take the first seven if we could -- and we did. I kept looking up, and the score was climbing and climbing. We knew they were loaded up top."
Arundel closed out that match with four straight pins, but the damage was done.
"It was shocking," said Arundel 160-pounder Rob Connolly, who pinned Tom Hultgren late in the second period to remain undefeated on the season. "The only thing I can say is that we weren't ready at the start."
The Wildcats had to steal one or two in the low weights to give its heavier wrestlers an opportunity. But the Patriots didn't let it happen, getting key wins from Eric Hill -- a 2-1 decision over Greg Klingler at 112 -- and 125-pounder Chris DeAdder, who trailed Brian Schroeder 5-2 going into the third period before coming back to get the pin.
"What we always do is keep our heads," said DeAdder. "Even if we're losing, we wait for something to happen, and then, when it does, we take advantage. I started down in the third period and got an escape, and then it looked like [Schroeder] fell a little."
Within 15 seconds, the Wildcats went from getting their first points on the board to dropping six more to trail 18-0.
"DeAdder coming back was a big, big, big win for us," said Hampe. "All the kids had a lot of focus toward this match."
Adam DeCosmo (103), Dave Hicks (130) and Rich Sampson (140) had pins for the Patriots, who also got a come-from behind decision from Josh Liston over Mark Tribett at 135.
Defending state champ Chris Combs also came away with a well-earned win over Arundel standout Pat Ortman at 119.
After Connolly, the Wildcats got pins from Matt Neidig (171), Trevor Baumgartner (189) and heavyweight Jeff Blachly.
Pub Date: 2/07/98