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Damascus downs Arundel in final; Wildcats lose pivotal bouts in dual-meet championship; 3A-4A wrestling


DAMASCUS -- Arundel coach Buddy Hepfer rattled off the weight classes -- 119, 130, 135, 145 -- that could have easily gone either way.

Unfortunately for his No. 3 Wildcats, who were chasing after their second Class 3A-4A state dual-meet championship last night at Damascus High, they all went the other way.

The tournament host school, Damascus, had the majority of third-period answers and also received a huge overtime effort from Ryan York, who upset Arundel standout Pat Ortman, 6-4, to come away with a well-deserved 31-24 win over the Wildcats.

The Green Hornets, who improved to 18-0 on the season, won their second state dual-meet crown. Their first came in 1995 when they competed in Class 1A-2A. Arundel's mark drops to 16-2 on the season.

"They out-wrestled us," he said. "We lost all the close matches. On another given night, we win those and we're in the ballgame. Tonight, they were the better team and deserved to win states. We just made a lot of mistakes."

And the Green Hornets were quick to take advantage, building a 28-3 lead after eight bouts and clinching the championship at the 160-pound class when Steve Suhaka scored a 6-1 decision over Mark Tribbett.

The effort from the Green Hornets' lighter weights was best exemplified in York's win over Ortman, ranked fifth in the state.

Tied at four after three periods, York, who lost a major decision to South Carroll's Bryan Hamper in the semifinal round earlier in the day, took the initiative with a takedown 1: 10 into overtime to provide the Green Hornets with an unexpected three points and a 16-3 lead.

Joey Cotton followed with an 11-6 decision over Matt Stoy at 135, getting a takedown and three back points in the final 20 seconds of the third period to take control of a tight match.

"We've stressed all season on conditioning, how important it is and will be," said Damascus coach Dave Hopkins. "In the third period, it looked like we were ready to pick it up another level while the opponent was just trying to keep up. Ryan was awesome. He got beat earlier in the day, but tonight I saw the intensity on his face. He wasn't going to give an inch."

A close one that did go Arundel's way early came at 112 where Shannon Webber came back from a 6-3 deficit against Dale Kerns with an escape and takedown to tie with four seconds left in the third period. He quickly scored the overtime takedown to get the Wildcats in the scoring column, trailing 6-3, but the Green Hornets won the next six bouts to take control.

Arundel reached the final with a dramatic 31-26 win over Calvert in the semifinal.

Senior heavyweight Jeff Blachly scored a second-period pin over Grail Schroeder to complete the comeback.

Against Calvert, the Wildcats trailed for most of the afternoon before 171-pounder Matt Neidig pinned Randy Barletta in 55 seconds to give them their first lead at 25-23.

Paul Sheran gave Calvert the lead back at 26-25 with a 10-5 decision over Steve Gills at 189 before Blachly made quick work of Schroeder.

Damascus advanced to the final with a 42-25 win over No. 4 South Carroll in the other semifinal.

Pub Date: 2/14/99

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