Host Arundel trailed visiting five-time National Prep champ DeMatha by only seven points entering yesterday's finals of its 16th annual invitational tournament.
But when the round was over, seven of the Hyattsville program's eight finalists had won titles, including all four bouts against Arundel, showing that more than just a few points separated the two squads.
DeMatha finished with 193.5 points to Arundel's 159.
Winning titles for DeMatha were: Bill Vollono (103), Nick DeLonga (125), Kevin Gabrielson (135), Drew Robertson (145), Joe Sargent (160), Wes Cummings (171) and Marc Hayes (Hwt.). Only Shannon Webber (112) -- one of seven finalists for Arundel -- emerging as a champion.
Finishing second for Arundel were Pat Ortman (130), Matt Stoy (135), Pat Crouse (140), Greg Klingler (145), Matt Neidig (171) and Jeff Blachly (Hwt.), but the Wildcats couldn't stop the Stags from winning their fifth Arundel Tournament -- an event featuring 12 state-ranked wrestlers.
Webber (13-2) overcame a 6-1 deficit with his semifinal pin of Oakland Mills' Zach Notes. Webber then decked Overlea's Alfred Clark (10-2).
"I had a good feeling coming in, but I didn't expect to be the only champ," said Webber, who has split bouts with Southern's state champ Nick Alley, once pinning Alley. "We lost a lot to graduation, but we're better than we thought we'd be at the beginning of the year. DeMatha, though, they're just so tough."
Blachly (12-1), a state runner-up last season, edged Oakland Mills' county and region champ Jay Frizzelle, 7-4, to reach the title bout, where he lost, 4-2, to DeMatha's top-ranked Hayes (24-3) in the most exciting title bout.
Hayes scored a takedown with four seconds left to avenge last year's 3-2 loss to Blachly, whom Hayes outweighed, 278-to-210.
"Blachly's so much better than last year. I mean he really makes it hard to score on your feet the way he scrambles around out there," said Hayes, who had edged Gilman's No. 2-ranked Mike Faust at the Annapolis Tournament on a takedown with two seconds left.
Hayes is the state's top-ranked heavyweight, Blachly is No. 3. "Hayes is big, but I took him down last year, except he's improved on his feet. It was a tough match and we both wrestled hard," Blachly said.
Defending Baltimore County and region champ Overlea (109 points, third), ranked No. 9 in The Sun, crowned James Laubach (130) and fifth-ranked Justin Mitchell (189), with Alfred Clark (112) and Jason Laubach (125) finishing second, and Derrick Oxendine (145), third.
Mitchell (12-0), a region champ, handed Oakland Mills' Robert Scott only his second loss, 6-4, in the semifinals, then edged McDonough's Zac Cox, 9-8, in double-overtime to avenge a loss of a year ago.
James Laubach (12-1) was most impressive, however, scoring eight near-fall points in a 14-3 rout of Arundel's top-ranked, state runner-up Ortman (14-2). James' cousin, Jason Laubach (11-1), a county and region champ, overcame a 6-3 deficit with his semifinal pin of McDonough's sixth-ranked Jason Kiessling before losing to DeLonga, 9-4.
"My cousin said Ortman was ranked, but I didn't know he was No. 1," James Laubach said. "I had a bad county tournament last year, finishing fifth. Then I got second at regions. But this shows I can hang with any of the best guys if I get a chance."
Annapolis' Hemminger twins, Dan (119) and Andrew (152), each won titles, and teammate Steve Gioffre (160) was second. Dan (13-2) routed McDonough's B. J. Treadway (14-2), 13-0, and Andrew (14-1), ranked No. 3 in the state, scored a 6-4 decision over DeMatha's Kyle Woods (28-6), a fourth-place finisher at states.
"It was great for both of us to finally wrestle to our potential at the same tournament and to win a tournament together for the first time ever," said Andrew Hemminger. "I wrestled Sargent at Annapolis and beat him. To beat two tough guys from DeMatha is a great accomplishment for me."
Top-ranked state champ Frank Edwards (140) improved to 13-2 with two pins and a major decision for last year's 3A-4A state runner-up Sherwood (fifth place), coached by Anne Arundel County resident Scott Beattie.
Pub Date: 1/10/99