Arundel asserts itself, rolls over regional field 3 Wildcats collect titles in outpointing Old Mill; Class 3A-4A wrestling


It looks like No. 6 Arundel may want the final say.

After banging heads with county rival Old Mill all season and finishing a close second best, the Wildcats made a statement last night when they captured the Class 3A-4A East region championship at Meade High School.

Sending six wrestlers to the finals and coming away with three region champs, the Wildcats outpointed runner-up Old Mill, 160.5-145, with Severna Park (110.5) taking third in the 18-team field.

Arundel qualified eight wrestlers for next weekend's state tournament at Western Maryland College, while fifth-ranked Old Mill had seven finish in the top four yesterday to advance.

The Wildcats finally had their turn in the spotlight this season, but they didn't mind sharing it. That's because Meade junior Matt Pandullo came away with an emotional, 3-2 upset decision over Old Mill's state champ Chris Combs at 112 pounds.

Pandullo (28-2) was 0-13 against Combs dating back to the seventh grade -- including five losses in high school, all prior to this season.

A takedown late in the first period gave Pandullo a 2-0 lead, but Combs tied the match in the second on a reversal. With Combs on top to start the third, Pandullo was able to get an escape with 1: 07 left and held on the rest of the way.

"This is like my dream. He's been beating me since the seventh grade," said Pandullo. "I wasn't sure [about the escape] until the referee told me I was out. I was like 'Oh my God, I wrapped it up.' I knew I wasn't going to give up a takedown. I'll see him again in the state final and cut it to 11."

Arundel got titles from Pat Ortman (27-4) and Rob Connolly (30-0) before closing out on a high note with heavyweight Jeff Blachly avenging three prior one-point losses to Northeast's James Taylor -- the last coming in last weekend's county championship.

This time, it was Blachly (18-3) taking control to earn an 8-4 decision.

Pub Date: 3/01/98

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