Westminster opened its dual-meet season yesterday, defeating Gaithersburg, 39-27, and yielding to host Franklin in the final match, 33-31. The win earned Franklin a split, too, as it had lost to Gaithersburg, 34-33.
The experienced middle of the lineup did most of the damage for Westminster, as four of the five weight classes between 125 and 145 produced double winners. The Owls' had one other double winner, Zach Riddle at 189, who came through with a decision and a pin.
It was his pin of Tim Morris at one minute, 27 seconds that gave the Carroll County school a 31-27 lead heading into the heavyweight pairing. There, Suny Aponte, the only wrestler from either team with two pins, put down Kurt Rauschenberg at 1: 45. Earlier, he had dispatched Gaithersburg's Graham Fitts at 1: 14.
In each match, the 272-pound Aponte, a sophomore wrestling for the first time after being ineligible last season, had a huge weight advantage. Against newcomer Rauschenburg, the difference was 84 pounds.
"From 125-145 we can hang with anybody," Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrich said. "However, in the lower weights, we have youngsters who have never wrestled before, let alone varsity. Then, Adam Tenney, our 112-pounder, has a broken leg, and freshman Warren Strevig is out with a broken hand.
"We have some others who are coming along. By the time we get to the tough county matches in late January, we'll be good."
In addition to Riddle, Westminster's other double winners were seniors Chris Reiter, Kyle Burger, and John Muse and junior Sam Hughes.
The Owls broke open the Gaithersburg match with five successive pins from 125 to 145, as 140-pounder Gabe Wilson joined the parade in building a 36-12 margin.
Down 18-0 against Franklin, Westminster climbed to within 23-19 on its middle strength, then got some help from Kevin Henry and Jon Burger for a 25-23 lead. Luis Rodriguez, one of two seniors, scored a major decision over Greg Tindale, to give Franklin an edge going to Riddle's match.
For Franklin, junior Stan Wagner (112) and sophomore Luke Mays (140) each got a pin and a forfeit. Both are in the latest state rankings, Wagner fourth and Mays, tied for sixth.
"We have a lot of young kids, and we've been moving them around," said Franklin coach Scott Delpo, whose team was fourth at the Meade meet last weekend. "We know Wagner and Mays will get the points.
"Our team didn't know anything about Gaithersburg, but they know Westminster and they wanted that one."
Aponte added, "I had to go out and get the pin."
Pub Date: 12/09/98