Mount Hebron's wrestling team has been a thorn in the side of River Hill since the beginning of the season.
Last night, the Vikings finished the job.
After losing the opening four bouts to fall behind by 14 points, No. 3 Mount Hebron took eight of the final nine to defeat the fifth-ranked Hawks, 39-20, and win the 4A-3A North region dual-meet championship in front of a rambunctious home crowd of approximately 1,000.
The Vikings, who improved to 16-0, advanced to their first-ever state wrestling semifinals Saturday at 2 p.m. at Lansdowne High against Northern of Calvert County.
Mount Hebron opened the season by beating River Hill in the Big M tournament in Montgomery County. The Vikings then topped the Hawks in the Arundel tournament and, last Thursday, Mount Hebron defeated River Hill, 41-22, to win the Howard County league title.
"River Hill has been our ultimate rival as long as I've been in high school," said Mike Mengel, a senior 160-pounder, who earned the Vikings' first win of the evening with a pin of Austin Sneeringer in 2:25.
River Hill (15-4) took a 14-0 lead with victories at 135, 140, 145 and 152. In the opening bout at 135, Ryan Shevland defeated Zak Porta, 10-8. Undefeated senior Ryan Green gave the Hawks an 8-0 lead with a 15-0 technical fall win over Steve Garrow, before Michael Dauberman downed Ryan Dymek, 4-1, at 140 and Nick Shevland beat Shawn Girch, 5-2, at 152.
But Mount Hebron took over from there.
Afterward, Scott Bissett defeated Mikey Lignelli, 2-1, at 171; Chris Garrow pinned Jesse Fawcett in 4:41 at 189; and freshman Justin Neal downed Jimmy Corrigan, 10-1, at heavyweight to put the Vikings ahead, 19-14.
River Hill briefly regained the lead, 20-19, when Vince Cina pinned Eric Kunimoto in 5:15 at 103, but Austin Laws put Mount Hebron ahead to stay with a 12-4 win over Bryan Hartman at 112. Grant Gormley (119), Zach Wendal (125) and Andrew Benicewicz won the evening's final three bouts for Mount Hebron.
In the semifinal round earlier in the evening, Mount Hebron took a 40-3 lead before forfeiting the final four bouts to earn a 40-27 victory over Kenwood (11-2). On the other side of the gym, River Hill led No. 13 Dulaney 37-15 before it forfeited the final two bouts for a 37-27 victory. The Lions finished the season 22-5.