Four returning champions repeated, and South Carroll earned its first team title at the 30th county championships at Westminster yesterday.
For seniors Kyle Burger (135) of Westminster and Mike Muller (152) of South Carroll, it marked third successive titles, but senior Chris Reiter of Westminster, a two-time champion, was denied a third by North Carroll's Fran Jackson (125).
Jackson, a 4-1 winner, now has one leg up on his bid for a second straight county-regional-state championship streak.
Muller, who pinned Justin Stambaugh of Key in the semifinals and Mike Bezanson of North Carroll in the finals, now shares the county lead in two categories. He is tied with South Carroll's Dan Patterson for the most wins, 27, and with Westminster's John Muse for the most pins, 20. Patterson is 27-2; Muller, whose 22-second pin of Bezanson was the day's quickest, is 27-4.
Burger posted the championship round's only technical fall, blitzing Kevin Clark of South Carroll, 16-0. The end came with 11 seconds left.
Muse (145) was the fourth repeat champion.
South Carroll finished with four champions from among its nine finalists -- Patterson (112), Muller, Chris Currence (171), and Leroy Eyler (189) -- and totaled 156 1/2 points.
Westminster, seeking a fourth straight crown that would have tied it with North Carroll for the most titles (11), ended with 122 1/2, followed by North Carroll (108), Francis Scott Key (106) and Liberty (49).
Oft-maligned Liberty The Lions had two finalists and both collected titles. A year ago, the Lionsm had five finalists, but no winners.
At 140, senior Mark Richard (9-4), third last year, stepped up with a 9-7 overtime conquest of favored Clint Day (20-7), the 125 champion a year ago from Francis Scott Key, and at 160, junior Rich Skelly (14-2), a final-round loser to Muse at 152 last year, stopped South Carroll's Brad Mann (25-5), 12-6.
"We were pretty confident with Mark, but he was fortunate to get out of a Day cradle," said Liberty coach Mike Flemming. "Overall, he wrestled smart and did a super job."
Of Skelly, he said, "He'd had some close, high-scoring matches with Mann, but he was either too aggressive or put himself in a bad position.
"This time, he was more patient. He just did a very good job. He's an exceptional athlete. He's strong, and I thought his conditioning was a key factor."
Skelly broke away from a tie at 6 with six third-period points for his win.
Richard was down 5-3 after one period, but tied it with a takedown five seconds from the end of the second period. His reversal with one minute left tied it at 7, and he got a takedown in the extra session.
They were among those South Carroll coach Pete Olson was talking about when he said, "The fact we had nine finalists, and got four champions tells me there are a lot of good guys in the county. The quality showed up."
Realistically, one had to figure Patterson and Muller would win, but it was Olson's other two champions, Currence and Eyler, who pleased their coach.
"Currence -- he's been dreaming about this match," Olson said, referring to the regular-season pairing when Eric Westervelt pinned Currence in 2: 41.
This time, "He was ahead 16-3 when he got the pin [with 1: 13 remaining]. I think he was making a statement."
Then Olson pointed out: "He's only been wrestling two years. He's very intelligent, and a student of the sport. He brings intangibles, too, such as he loves to compete."
Another in this category is Eyler, The Sun's defensive football Player of The Year last fall. He lost an overtime decision to Anton Enrique of North Carroll in the teams' dual meet, but has now pinned him twice.
The first pin took 1: 20 at a regional matchup in the state duals, and this time, with an 8-1 lead, 3: 10.
Nate Yinger at 103 and heavyweight Greg Frech provided Francis Scott Key with bookend winners. Freshman Yinger defeated Kyle Smith of North Carroll, 8-5, and Frech pinned Edwin Aponte-Rivera of South Carroll in 2: 49.
The other titlist was Carroll's Ross Bell, a 7-1 winner over South Carroll's Buddy Olson.
Most of this same cast will compete in the Class 3A-4A North Region championships Saturday at Fallston.
The Baltimore Sun accepts nominations from coaches only for its Athletes of the Week from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays at 410-332-6200 or 1-800-829-8000, Ext. 6200.
Two athletes (one boy and one girl) will be selected each week and featured in Wednesday's editions. Athletes nominated must be available the next Monday to have their pictures taken. Only coaches can nominate Athletes of the Week.
Pub Date: 2/21/99