In hindsight, Calvert Hall coach Henry Franklin would change a lot about yesterday's 35-33 loss to fifth-ranked Hammond.
How about the facts that Hammond sophomore Ryan Mackin (125) and senior teammate Nick LaSalle each broke ties late in their bouts to win, 6-5, and, 6-3, over Cardinals wrestlers Kevin King, and, Zach Mryncza, respectively.
Or the fact that Hammond junior Rob Osborn (140), a JV champ last year, wound up pinning one of Franklin's wrestlers in the second period after holding only a 2-1 lead after the first period of a pivotal bout.
Or how about the brilliant strategy of Hammond co-coaches Paul Di Rienzo and Scott Farrow in the 171-pound bout?
Tied at 7 with eight seconds left, the coaches did not want to risk overtime -- particularly the possibility that Calvert Hall's more seasoned Mike Brannan could pin first-year starter Kevin Chrpaty -- for six team points. So they instructed Chrpaty to "let him up." As a result, Brannan took only an 8-7 decision, worth three team points.
"One kid doesn't get pinned, gives up the decision, we win, and 125, 130 were both really close matches," said Franklin, whose Cardinals (8-1) won, 47-19, over St. Paul's, which Hammond (5-1) hammered, 45-22.
"Mike Brannan's won some good matches for us, but their 171 guy did his job, not getting pinned," Franklin said. "Hammond has a solid kid in every weight class. They stepped up and out-performed us today. It's a gut-check for us. We see how close we are with the No. 5 team in the area, and we can either cave in or have a strong season."
Calvert Hall overcame an early 6-0 deficit with consecutive pins by top-ranked Chris Knox (112), who improved to 19-0 with 11 pins, and Derek Michaloski (119). Hammond then reeled off four straight wins for a 24-12 lead, capped by Osborn's pin, but the Cardinals led, 24-23, after consecutive first period pins by top-ranked state champ Tony Russo (145) and Leo Monfredo (152).
Hammond rebounded for a 29-24 lead after Pat Jameson (160) flattened one of two opponents on the night, but Calvert Hall took the next two bouts for a 33-29 lead following Brannan's decision and and a pin by Malcolm Blassey (189).
Calvert Hall's fate was then clinched with a forfeit to state runner-up Matt Nelson (heavyweight).
"I expected it to be a good match," Jameson said, "but the team that worked harder won, and that proved to be us."
Hammond, the defending 1A-2A state duals and tournament champion, has won 23 of its past 24 matches.
Yesterday, Hammond's state champion Vaymond Dennis (135) set a school record for career victories with two technical falls by identical scores of 20-3. Dennis has 109 career wins, eclipsing the record held by John Motley.
But the homestanding Crusaders (1-10) won the night's featured bout as heavyweight Nick Alevrogiannis (16-2, 10 pins) used an overtime escape to edge Nelson, 3-2.
Rob Roose (140), who scored two major decision victories, was St. Paul's only other double-winner.
Pub Date: 12/23/98