Leroy Eyler pinned Scott Wallace at 3: 23 of their 189-pound bout as South Carroll overcame a 13-point deficit for a 34-31 upset yesterday of defending Class 1A-2A state champ Hammond.
The Howard County squad, which was on an 18-match win streak, was ranked third in Maryland by the Maryland State Wrestling Association.
For Hammond (1-1), also winner of 13 Howard County dual or tournament titles, the loss spoiled the debut of co-coaches Paul Di Rienzo and Scott Farrow. The duo has replaced retired Bill Smith.
The four-time regional champs, who swept last season's state duals and tournament titles, had not lost since the 1996-97 regional final against Charles County's Lackey.
South Carroll (4-0), coming off a runner-up effort to Class 3A-4A tournament state champ Arundel at last weekend's Meade Tournament, was without five starters because of injury or disciplinary action, including unbeaten Kevin Clark (135), winner the Meade Tournament.
But down 25-12 with five bouts left, South Carroll got a momentum-swinging 14-5 decision from 152-pounder Mike Muller (6-1, five pins), who overcame a 5-0 deficit to beat Howard County runner-up Mark Read.
Then came consecutive pins from the Cavaliers' Brad Mann (160) and Billy Perna (171). Perna built a 10-2 lead before finishing Pat Jameson in 4: 20.
Jameson, a Howard County runner-up and regional third-place finisher, was decked for only the second time in his three-year career, giving South Carroll a 28-25 lead with two bouts left. Perna was in his first start of the season, having replaced injured Chris Currence.
"Without five starters, we certainly didn't know what to expect," said South Carroll coach Pete Olson, whose Cavaliers lost six of the first eight bouts.
"They had the edge early, but we came through in a couple of matches, like at 130 and 152," Olson said. "It's still a little hard to believe, but give our kids credit for wrestling great."
Particularly Mike Muller, who lost his cool -- and a semifinal match -- in a similar situation at the Meade Tournament after falling behind early.
"Today, I kept my composure, wrestled my match," said Muller, a Carroll County and regional champ. "I think everybody on our team did that."
An All-Metro football player and Carroll County's Defensive Player of the Year, Eyler wanted to take the match's outcome out of the hands of Hammond's state runner-up Matt Nelson. Eyler's victory did just that, rendering moot Nelson's 40-second pin.
"I'm a little out of shape, so I was maybe too aggressive early," Eyler said. "But I settled down and was able to pull it off. This feels great."
Also critical to the Cavaliers' success was sixth-ranked Bryan Hamper (130). A sophomore who is 6-1 with six pins, Hamper overcame a 5-4 second-period deficit to pin Nick La Salle with 59 seconds left. Teammate Dan Patterson (112) had pinned Hammond's Mike Asoulay in 33 seconds earlier to improve to 5-1.
Hammond had gotten an earlier 14-1 rout by Jason Friert (103), and one of 14-0 by Ryan Mackin (119).
The Bears also earned a 2-1 win by first-season starter Tim Carter (112) over Andy Cumberland. And from JV champs Rob Osborn (140) and Will Shields (145), the Bears received a 14-4 major decision and a second period pin, respectively.
The Bears did get to watch top-ranked Vaymond Dennis (135), Hammond's first underclassman state champ -- pick up career wins No. 100 and 101 on a major decision and forfeit.
But that was of no consolation to Dennis, who is seven wins shy of eclipsing the school's career victory mark (107)set by John Motley.
"At the beginning of the season, our team was ranked highly, and I think we lacked intensity because of all the hype," said Dennis, a senior who will try to help the Bears defend their title at this weekend's Lackey Tournament.
"I'm not going to dwell on this, personally, because it's going to make us work harder," Dennis said. "Practice is going to be really hard."
South Carroll warmed up with a 63-7 rout of Glenelg, which later lost, 51-20, to Hammond.
For Glenelg (0-2), John Clark (125) and Tim Brosenne (140) each were double winners. Clark had a decision and an injury default victory over Mackin, and Brosenne, two decisions.
Pub Date: 12/10/98