Franklin finishes job at county; 4 titles winners lift Indians to 1st Balto. crown since '66


After runner-up finishes in the past two Baltimore County wrestling tournaments and a third-place finish three years ago, a determined Franklin left nothing to chance this year.

By placing six wrestlers in the finals, four of whom won titles, the No. 5 Indians ran away with their first county crown since 1966.

"This was a really big goal for us," said fifth-year Franklin coach Scott Delpo, whose team won region and state titles but not counties last year. "Winning states is nice, but you really want to win your own county."

Franklin racked up 167 total points, out-distancing second-place Overlea by 32.5 points. Dulaney placed third, followed by Eastern and Parkville. Injury-riddled Owings Mills, the defending county champions, placed sixth.

Franklin's Matt Schuster (119), Stan Wagner (125), and twin brothers Chris and Sam Mays (152 and 160, respectively) took individual titles for the Indians. Kevin Hebbel (135) and Ryan Ridgely (140) both placed second.

"What I liked this year is everyone did as well as they were seeded or better," Delpo said. "Hebbel was seeded third but he placed second. Evan Zipper (112) was seeded sixth and he placed third."

Schuster, a sophomore, and Luke Mays, a junior, both pinned their way to titles. Neither of the Franklin wrestlers' matches lasted beyond the second round.

Nursing a knee that he dislocated for the third time two weeks ago, Luke Mays defended his county crown with a new style -- letting the action come to him.

"After I messed up my knee, I had to start playing defense and wait for a mistake," he said.

Parkville sophomore 145-pounder Tony Parks did just the opposite to pull off one of the biggest surprises of the day -- an 11-4 victory over previously undefeated and top-seeded Chaudhry Afzal of Overlea. Parks, who was pinned by Afzal earlier this season, took a more aggressive approach to wrestling him this time and raced to a 10-0 lead after two periods.

Parks (26-4) took injury time midway through the third period after injuring an Achilles' tendon but hung on to win. A visibly distraught Afzal refused to shake Parks' hand after the match and stormed off the mat.

In the 103-pound division, Eastern sophomore Trent Dixon pinned Landsdowne's Shawn Sims in 3: 36 for the title. Sims had Dixon in trouble several times, but Dixon scored a reverse midway through the second period and followed with the pin. "I just waited for him to make a mistake and he finally did," Dixon said.

At 130, Catonsville's Won Hill defended his title and remained undefeated by beating Jeff Epps of Hereford for the fourth time this season. Hill repeatedly took Epps down for a 17-7 major decision.

Milford Mill's Muhammad Howard (189) and Kenwood's Jason Laubach also remained undefeated, winning their respective divisions. Boh Myers of Towson improved to 24-1 and won the heavyweight title with a third-period pin of Overlea's Mike Banks. Sparrows Point's Michael Weber (112), Dulaney's Mike Winters (135) and Owings Mills' Jason Summer (171) also won titles.

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