Old Mill earned a return trip to Class 3A-4A Dual Meet State Tournament after a considerable push from Broadneck in claiming the East region with a 33-23 win last night in Millersville.
The No. 4-ranked Patriots (15-0) won their first dual-meet state crown two years back and will look to add another on Saturday at Westlake High School in Charles County. The semifinals are set for 2 p.m. with the finals at 6.
They will go in battle-tested.
After getting past No. 12 Chesapeake, 33-19, in the semifinal earlier last night, the Patriots went up against a solid Broadneck team that was looking to make amends.
The Bruins' (13-2) only loss during an otherwise stellar regular season came against Old Mill by a 49-6 margin.
Things weren't nearly as easy for the Patriots this time around.
After Dan Wells scored a dramatic 11-9 overtime decision against Erik Hultgren in the 171-pound class to get the Bruins even at 23, Adam Dayton restored order for the Patriots with a sturdy 20-8 major decision over Preston Bromley at 189. Standout heavyweight Dave Kim followed with a second-period pin over Sean Stoll to send the Patriots to Saturday's finals.
"We feel really good [going into states] coming out of this region," said Old Mill coach Vern Hines. "This is such a tough region with Cheapeake, Arundel and Broadneck."
"Broadneck wrestled really tough -- every one. The first time we met there was a lot of close matches, a lot closer than the final score. Seniors and experience -- we believed that would be the difference."
A pivotal bout earlier came at 140 when Broadneck's Jimmy Melton reaggravated an ankle injury and was pinned by Nick Liston in the first period, providing the Patriots a 19-12 lead.
Wells effort against Hultgren at 171 exemplified the Bruins entire season. Trailing 8-5 late in the third period, he got a takedown to close within one, let Hultgren escape before getting another takedown with two seconds left to send the bout into overtime. He scored another takedown 21 seconds into the extra time for the decision.
"Last time we didn't wrestle to our ability and we made a great Old Mill team almost look like perfectionists," said Broadneck coach Bob Halcombe. "This effort tonight was much more what I expect. It's a matter of persistence and says a lot about our team."
The Bruins, who got two pins from Ricky Boulay at 125 last night, reached the final by knocking off last year's region champ, Arundel, 28-24, in the semifinals.
After losing overtime bouts to Curley's state champ Darien Kess and Gaithersburg's state runner-up Mark Anderson earlier this winter, River Hill's third-ranked Ryan Green felt he was due an upset.
Green (119) got it last night over Franklin's second-ranked state champ, Matt Schuster, his 4-0 decision keying a four-bout sweep of an eventual 32-29 Class 3A-4A dual meet victory for No. 7 River Hill (15-0) at No. 3 Franklin (12-1).
"People have been saying I didn't place at states or anything, well I think I showed 'em all," said Green, a sophomore like Schuster.
Franklin, winner of last year's 1A-2A open tournament, pulled ahead, 23-20, on first-period pins by the Mays twins, Luke (152) and state champ Sam (160), ranked Nos. 1, and, 2, respectively.
But River Hill had an insurmountable 32-23 lead after consecutive pins by the Fawcett brothers, fifth-ranked senior Jason (171) and freshman Jesse (189).
In another highly anticipated bout, River Hill's top-ranked, two-time state champ, Brandon Lauer (130), major decisioned No. 2 Stan Wagner, 13-5, improving to 97-0 for his high school career.
The Hawks also got a pin from Mike Dauberman (125) and a decision by Mike Romano (135), earning a berth in Saturday's state dual meet finals at Westlake in Charles County.
The top-seeded Owings Mills Eagles routed No. 2 seed North Harford, 42-18, in Reisterstown to claim their sixth regional title in seven seasons.
Ranked eighth by The Sun, Owings Mills clinched the crown by capturing five straight weight classes between 140 and 171 pounds.
"If someone would've told me that we'd be 20-1, I'd be bankrupt right now," said Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker.
Owings Mills got pins from sophomore Clayton Arnold (119), sophomore Adam Metzger (140), junior Kevin Gramzaban (145) and senior Jason Summerlin (171).