It took a little longer than expected, but favored South Carroll defeated Westminster, 37-21, last night to finish its regular season unbeaten and earn its first outright Carroll County dual-meet championship.
The match came down to the 189-pound pairing of South Carroll's Leroy Eyler against Zach Riddle, with Westminster needing to win the last two bouts and make up at least a seven-point deficit in the process.
It didn't happen.
Eyler wasted little time making sure of the outcome. He got a takedown, three near-fall points, and pinned Riddle in one minute, 33 seconds. The victory ran the All-County football player's record to 16-3, with 12 pins.
Eyler's teammate Edwin Aponte-Rivera, who went in with six pins in a 6-3 record, settled for a 4-0 decision over Pat Zimmerman in their heavyweight bout.
South Carroll (14-0) entered the meet as the top seed in Class 3A-4A North for next week's dual-meet championships with 6.92 points, followed by Bel Air, 5.40; Westminster, 5.23; Parkville, 5.20; Wilde Lake, 5.11; and North Carroll, 5: 09. The top four will meet at South Carroll next week; the winner advances to the Feb. 13 championships at Damascus.
"I hoped it would be the deciding match," Eyler said. "Actually, it was his own doing. He made one mistake. "
Of the title, he said, "It feels great. Last year, we didn't do it when we should have. This is an honor."
With coaches Pete Olson of the Cavaliers and Henry Mohlhenrich of the Owls juggling their lineups in an attempt to get the most feasible results, it came down to the pre-meet coin toss for the second season in a row.
Last season, South Carroll lost the toss, and because that forced Olson's hand several times, it eased Westminster's road to a 40-30 triumph and the resulting three-way tie for the title with North Carroll.
This time, South Carroll got the edge. Mohlhenrich went with Adam Tenney against Dan Patterson, and Patterson was ahead 10-3 when he recorded a pin at 5: 33. When Buddy Olson decisioned Matt Westervelt at 119, it gave the visitors a 15-0 lead.
The key matchup was at 152, where Mike Muller faced John Muse, up from the 145 he had wrestled all season. Muller (22-4) did everything but pin him, as Muse (22-4) produced an excellent wriggling job to extend the match to the limit before losing 15-3.
"It was the right thing for us. Our strategy was a win, but anybody else would have been pinned, because Muller is so strong," Mohlhenrich said.
Pete Olson said, "We were confident we had the personnel, but we never looked past them. However, we didn't expect Hamper and Currence to lose."
Sam Hughes (22-6), an unsung hero for the Owls, beat the Cavaliers' Bryan Hamper (22-4) in overtime, and senior Eric Westervelt (15-10) pinned Chris Currence (19-6) in 2: 41.
Pub Date: 2/05/99