The ninth-ranked Annapolis wrestling team achieved the improbable last night, upending No. 7 Old Mill and No. 8 Chesapeake-AA in stunning succession to capture the program's first Class 4A-3A East dual-meet regional championship at Chesapeake High.
Annapolis, which was the lowest seed at No. 4, defeated top-seeded Old Mill, 26-23, in a semifinal and then tied No. 2 seed Chesapeake, 30-30, in the final.
The Panthers advanced to Saturday's state dual-meet tournament at Lansdowne against Paint Branch due to tiebreaker criteria that award the match to the team that wins the most individual bouts. Annapolis won seven, while the Cougars won six.
"Everybody underestimated us," said Panthers senior Paul Macknis. "No one gave us a chance, but we knew that we could win it."
Last night was only the second time in school history that the Panthers (14-2) had qualified for the dual-meet regional.
And the last time Annapolis defeated Old Mill was in 1977.
"It's one thing to beat Old Mill, it's a whole other thing to beat Chesapeake, and it's a whole other thing to beat both of them at the regionals," said Panthers coach Tom Sfakiyanudis.
"I don't think this is going to hit me until tomorrow morning when I read the newspaper."
The Cougars (14-2) had built a 24-3 lead by winning five of the first six matches, starting at 112 pounds.
But Annapolis stormed back by claiming the next six bouts, including back-to-back pins from Macknis at 189 and senior Jack Dawson at heavyweight.
In fact, it was Dawson's quarter-nelson pin of junior Greg Hammett that allowed the Panthers to forfeit the 103-pound bout.
Trailing 11-7 against Old Mill (14-1) after five weight classes, Annapolis claimed five of the next six divisions, including senior Andreas Pelekanos' 2-1 decision over senior Kevin Moore at 145 and Macknis' 8-6 defeat of senior Chris Bonner at 171.
Chesapeake advanced to the final by slipping past No. 14 Patterson (12-2), which was the regional's third-seeded team.
The Cougars grabbed the first four bouts and collected three more at 145, 160 and 189 pounds to win, 31-29.
The upset of that match occurred at 135, where Clippers senior Dante Lovell handed sophomore Chris Grove, ranked fifth in the area, a 9-4 loss.