Call it The Bite, part deux.
In a scene reminiscent of the 1997 Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield bout, Old Mill heavyweight wrestler Dave Kim was disqualified for biting Arundel's Jeff Blachly, giving the Wildcats a 26-25 upset of the defending Anne Arundel County, region, and state dual champs.
The third-ranked Patriots lost their first dual meet of the winter, slipping to 13-1. No. 4 Arundel (also 13-1) went home as the Class 3A-4A East dual-meet regional champions. Arundel, last year's open tournament champ, won the dual-meet state title two years ago. Old Mill won it last year.
The final score touched off a raucous celebration for Arundel fans, while Patriots coaches and supporters surrounded the referees and demanded an explanation.
"I'm not sure a call like that should have been made when the bite was not seen. There's no real reason Dave Kim would bite Blachly -- none," said Old Mill coach Vern Hines.
"If we just didn't get pinned, we would've won the match. But sportsmanship is the most important thing. My kids acted in such a way [after the ruling] that I'm very proud of every kid on my team."
A 6-5 decision by Old Mill's Derrick Dawson over Arundel's Matt Neidig at 189 pounds made the score 26-20 and seemed to seal the title for the Patriots. Even if Blachly were to pin Kim and gain six points, Old Mill would have prevailed because it had won seven bouts to Arundel's six.
Blachly, a state runner-up who had lost to Kim, 3-2, Friday night, led 11-1 as time expired. Blachly motioned to his left arm, where a referee noticed a bite mark.
The official assessed a flagrant misconduct penalty against Kim, which meant six team points, and deducted two team points from the Patriots' score. Kim also was automatically disqualified from the next event -- the Anne Arundel County tournament.
State rules interpreter Bob Newton said last night, "It used to be that the referee had to see biting. They no longer have to see it. It is in their opinion."
"I was just desperately going for [a pin]," said Blachly. "I felt him bite me. I told the ref, and he took care of it."
Said Arundel coach Buddy Hepfer: "What can I say? That's an automatic call for the officials. [But] I don't like to win that way."
The wild conclusion overshadowed a spectacular performance by Wildcats freshman Justin Tippett, who was called up from the JV squad to face against 171-pound Dave Fitzpatrick.
Tippett used a variety of takedowns and spin moves to cruise to a technical fall (worth five team points) against Fitzpatrick.
Old Mill (13-1) took three of the first four bouts to lead 14-3.
After Arundel's Shannon Webber won 15-8 at 112 pounds, Patriot Adam DeCosmo took his 119-pound bout when Mike Money landed awkwardly on his left wrist, breaking it.
Old Mill's Chris Combs scored a technical fall at 125, but Wildcats state runner-up Pat Ortman won, 4-1, at 130.
Old Mill's Eric Hall defeated Matt Stoy, 6-1, at 135.
Pub Date: 2/11/99