Overlea coach Bruce Malinowski knew he'd need every wrestler at his disposal to have even a remote shot at defeating ninth-ranked Baltimore County Division II rival Franklin.
Unfortunately for Malinowski, the former two-time Kenwood High state champion only had eight of a possible 13 wrestlers because of injuries, and the Indians (7-1, 4-0) easily beat his 12th-ranked Falcons, 43-21, all but clinching the county's Division II title.
In addition to the five forfeit wins, Franklin won three of the eight bouts wrestled. Matt Schuster (103) improved to 12-2 with his ninth pin of the year. Luis Rodriguez (160) took a 3-0 decision. And Sam Mays (145), whose younger twin by 17 minutes is sixth-ranked Luke (140), hammered Yinka Ajiboye, 13-2.
In an exciting match earlier this season, Franklin defeated 10th-ranked Owings Mills -- its other top opponent in the county -- and Owings Mills already has beaten Overlea (5-2, 3-2).
"It would have been a lot more fun [clinching the title] if they'd have had their full lineup and everyone had gotten a match," said Sam Mays, who improved to 5-1. Luke is 14-0 after receiving a forfeit. "I know Luke is upset because he didn't get a match."
Neither did Stan Wagner (112), ranked No. 4 in the state with a 12-1 record, nor Ryan Ridgely (135), who is 11-4.
But the visiting Falcons' fourth-ranked region champion, Justin Mitchell (189), won the evening's best bout, using a double-leg takedown with one minute remaining in a 4-2 decision over previously unbeaten John Shuster (5-1). Mitchell is 13-0.
"I got my revenge because he beat me at counties by two points in 10th grade," said Mitchell, who was joined in victory by teammates Jason Laubach (125), Derrick Oxendine (152), Zack Sergotick (171) and Mike Banks (heavyweight).
Laubach nailed a 41-second pin. Oxendine mastered Joe Landsman (11-4) with six takedowns for a 19-4 technical fall. Sergotick had Andy Schuster on his back at the buzzer of his 7-1 decision. Banks defeated Suny Aponte in a major decision, 11-3.
Overlea forfeited five matches -- worth 30 points -- because of injuries, including one to third-ranked James Laubach (130), who is out indefinitely after hurting his wrist in practice. Overlea was without two wrestlers against Owings Mills, also.
"We were really hurt by the injuries," said Mitchell, whose team is the defending county and 1A-2A North Region tournament champion. "We're a better tournament team than a dual-meet team, so we'll be back at [the county tournament]."
Pub Date: 1/20/99