For North Carroll, last night's match against Westminster was more than just another stop on the Carroll County circuit. For the Panthers, who lost to the Owls in last year's dual meet regionals, it was a golden opportunity to even the score, and one that 189-pounder Anton Enrique wasn't about to let slip by.
With his team leading by a point, Enrique's second-period pin over Zach Riddle clinched the match for North Carroll in a thrilling 29-28 win.
"We've been looking forward to this since last year," said Enrique. "This was one of our main goals this year, to beat Westminster. It's a real big win."
Enrique's was one of three pins or technical falls on the night for the Panthers (6-2 overall, 2-0 in the league), who built a 14-3 lead after the first four matches by taking advantage of North Carroll's inexperience.
Kyle Smith opened with a 12-second pin in the 103-pound match and, following a 9-3 win by Westminster's Adam Tenney over Tony Watson at 112, the Panthers got a 16-1 technical fall victory by Ross Bell at 119 and an 8-3 decision by defending state champion Fran Jackson at 125.
Jackson's win, in a match he led by only a point after two periods, came on the heels of two losses in his previous three matches,
Westminster coach Henry Mohlhenrick said his team's inexperience in the lower weight classes, especially at 103 and 119, probably spelled the difference.
"It's a handicap I could live with if they could at least get off their backs," said Mohlhenrick. "Giving up six points as opposed to giving up 12 points would have won the match for us."
However, in the middle classes, the Owls (6-3, 1-1) came back strong, winning three of four, including pins by 130-pounder Sam Hughes and 145-pounder John Muse, to take a 19-17 lead. It was the only lead Westminster had.
Matt Bezanson (152) and Mike Bezanson (160) each followed with decisions, and following a loss at 171, Enrique then sealed the win with a pin at 3: 56, though not without a bit of controversy.
Early in the second period, he held his opponent in a pinning combination for nearly 30 seconds, and felt certain he had done enough to merit a fall. The referee, however, disagreed.
"I was pretty sure I had it the first time," said Enrique. "The second time I was pointing at the ref and I was like, 'Hey man, he's pinned.' "
Pub Date: 1/21/99