WALDORF -- Losses don't come any tougher than this.
Winning 28-10 in the state Class 3A-4A Dual Meet finals with two matches to go, River Hill suffered back-to-back pins and fell to undefeated Old Mill, 30-28, before a sparse crowd at Westlake High in Charles County.
River Hill (17-1), making its first appearance at states, won seven of the 13 bouts and defeated two of Old Mills' best wrestlers, Antoine Cooksey and Adam DeCosmo, but that wasn't enough to overcome four Old Mill pins.
"River Hill was tough down low and they deserved to win as much as anyone," Old Mill coach Vern Hines said. "And they were true sportsmen at the end and that's a tribute to their coach."
The mood was somber among River Hill players afterward, but Jason Fawcett, who scored a crucial victory over Cooksey at 171 pounds, said: "We wrestled our hearts out and gave our best and that is all you can ask of anyone. No one has an ounce of energy left. I don't care if we won or not."
Fawcett's victory over Cooksey (24-2) was matched by Brandon Lauer's win over DeCosmo at 130 pounds. Lauer, now 101-0 in his career, manhandled DeCosmo (26-2), who was a state runner-up last season, 15-4.
"He was better than I was overall and I think conditioning played a key role in losing to him," DeCosmo said.
Seventh-ranked River Hill won five straight matches from 112 pounds through 135 pounds.
Danny Allen won, 1-0, at 112 pounds over Josh Baynham. Ryan Green pulled away from Dwayne Jones in the third period of their 119 bout to win, 13-7. Mike Dauberman pinned David Cha in 38 seconds. Lauer won at 130. And Mike Romano edged Joey Diggs, 7-5. That put the Hawks ahead, 19-6.
Old Mill, ranked No. 4, won the next two matches including a pin by Dave Hicks at 145 pounds. But the most crucial match perhaps was at 140 pounds where the Hawks' Matt Shevland lost, 3-2, to Old Mills' Nick Liston.
But Scott Buescher, who won all four of his matches in regionals and states, scored a pin for River Hill at 152 pounds in 3: 12, putting his team ahead, 25-15.
Old Mill won three of the last four matches, however, including a pin by Adam Dayton at 189 and by Dave Kim at heavyweight.
"We wrestled our hearts out against a super team that has been a powerhouse the last 10 years," Hawks coach Earl Lauer said. "We're happy just to be in the same gym with a school with that kind of tradition. We're just where we want to be after four years. And there's still a lot of wrestling to go."
This was Old Mill's second state dual-meet title to go with six state tournament titles.
River Hill reached the finals by defeating North Hagerstown, 27-26. The Hawks built a 27-16 lead and forfeited the heavyweight bout on purpose.
Ryan Green had a pin in 45 seconds and Lauer a pin in 5: 12. Buescher won an 11-10 bout and Jason Fawcett a 3-1 decision. Dauberman won 5-3 in overtime. Romano won 10-6.
Hammond was defeated in the Class 1A-2A state semifinals by Kent, 31-24.
The Bears (8-6) had beaten Kent (17-0) three times previously in the state championships, once in the finals in 1998. They eliminated Kent in the semifinals last season.
Hammond won five straight matches from 140 through 171 pounds but lost four straight from 119 through 135. Kent got pins in the final two matches.
"We improved a lot after losing to Atholton during the regular season and I was just hoping we could get two Howard County teams into the finals," Bears coach Paul DiRienzo said.
Pub Date: 2/13/00