The Hammond Golden Bears won their fourth straight Howard County dual-meet title yesterday, but the previously unbeaten River Hill Hawks battled the Bears claw to claw.
The No. 11-ranked Bears (11-3 overall, 9-0 league) needed a victory over the No. 12 Hawks (10-1-1, 8-1) to earn entry into the dual-meet regionals next Wednesday at River Hill and the chance to defend their state dual-meet title.
Hammond won the match's only four close bouts, two in overtime, and still needed a win by heavyweight Matt Nelson to ensure the 37-28 victory before a large crowd in Clarksville.
Nelson (17-4) pinned Scott Cannon in 1: 34.
Seven of the 13 bouts were decided by pins, one by a tech fall and three by major decisions. The other two required overtime.
Hammond, after losing three of the first four bouts and falling behind 16-4, won every bout from 130 pounds through 160 pounds.
River Hill coach Earl Lauer, whose team lost 61-6 to Hammond last season, was disappointed.
"But it took Hammond 10 years to knock Oakland Mills out of the No. 1 spot in the county, and it won't take us that long," he said.
Pub Date: 2/05/99