DAMASCUS -- Damascus did something no other team had done this season when it routed visiting South Carroll, 42-25, in a battle of unbeatens in the semifinals of the Class 3A-4A state dual-meet championships yesterday afternoon.
Arundel defeated Calvert in the other semifinal, 31-26, and last night, Damascus won the championship by defeating Arundel, 31-24.
Damascus won the dual-meet title in 1995 and state titles in 1994 and 1996.
Damascus and South Carroll entered their match with 16-0 records, but three successive pins at 135, 140 and 145 pounds enabled the Hornets to improve their lead to 33-7, and all but clinch the match.
Junior Steve Suhaka (22-3) took care of that formality at 160, when he rallied with a reversal halfway through the third period, then held on for a 5-4 decision over senior Brad Mann (24-4), who had won his previous six matches, five of them with pins.
"Where we had to have wins was at 125, 135, 160, and we lost all three," South Carroll coach Pete Olson said.
Sophomore Josh Wampler (14-14) was down 5-0 and struggling when he was pinned by senior Nick O'Gwin (21-3) at 125, and junior Kevin Clark (18-5), down 2-0, was decked by senior Joe Cotton (15-3) at 135 seven seconds into the second period.
"He pulls the near arm across, pushes the head down, and has his man upside down," Damascus coach Dave Hopkins said of the Cotton move he had seen before.
Said Olson: "They got the pins and didn't give up any unexpected ones. It was the little things -- Dan Patterson [a decision] not getting a pin; Buddy Olson getting pinned with 20 seconds left; and we didn't expect Clark to get pinned."
South Carroll's winners, in addition to Patterson, were senior Bryan Hamper (25-4) at 130; senior Mike Muller (25-4) at 152; junior Chris Currence (22-6) at 171; and Leroy Eyler (19-3) at 189.
Hamper earned a major decision and the other three recorded pins. They helped the Cavaliers collect the most points against the Montgomery County team this season.
Previously, Gaithersburg had the most, 19, and of 16 Damascus wins, only four other opponents scored in double figures.
"Cotton's pin was important for us," Hopkins said. "He had only had seven pins before, so getting one here was big."
Ahead of time, Hopkins believed three bouts were even -- 125, 130 and 160 -- and he won two of the three.
Of Suhaka, ranked sixth in the state, he said, "He's only a third-year wrestler, but we think he is under-ranked.
"He's a blue-collar worker -- nothing fancy, but does the basic things -- and is strong and in tremendous condition. I think his conditioning was a factor in the end."
Damascus senior Joey Garvin, ranked No. 1 in the state at 140 pounds, boosted his record to 25-0 when he earned his team-high 17th pin by putting down Sean Douglas at 4: 26.
Pub Date: 2/14/99