Poly's wrestling team proved last night it could weather the storm.
The Engineers claimed the Baltimore City championship last night at Northwestern, ending Patterson's five-year reign. A couple of weeks ago, Poly severed the Clippers' five-year hold as the city's dual meet champ.
"We're not the most talented group here," said Poly coach Wavie Gibson. "I don't have a problem saying that, but we work hard and we try to put the finishing touches on things."
With the area's worst snowstorm since 1891 shutting down schools the past week, Poly, as well as many winter teams, weren't able to practice until late last week. The Engineers hardly showed any ill effects yesterday.
Poly accumulated 211 points to outdistance Carver (153) and City (112.5). Patterson (93.5) placed fourth. Seven Engineers reached the title matches in their weight classes, with four claiming titles. Junior Matthew Oakley, ranked sixth by The Sun at 160 pounds, led the way by pinning City's Jerome Scott in 63 seconds.
"I saw potential in a lot of my teammates," said Oakley, the lone Engineer with substantial wrestling experience. "We had a lot of freshmen come out, and we only lose one senior. We know we're going to be stronger next year."
Having been pinned twice by City's Durant Cephers during the season, sophomore Praedian Montgomery returned the favor at 152. Junior Derrick Jones (130) and freshman Justin Potillo (103) also won for Poly.
City senior Nelson Moody picked up his third consecutive championship by pinning Carver's Steven McCoy in the 119 finale. Moody dedicated his latest title to teammate Kevin Pulley, who broke his ribs in his 171-pound opening match and withdrew.
"Last year, I wrestled with a knee brace that helped [me] to stay focused and keep a clear head," said Moody, selected as the meet's outstanding lightweight performer. "I'm healthy this year and I'm trying to take first [at regionals] and hopefully put Baltimore City on the map."
Patterson's Thomas Smith (189) and Chris Jones of Mervo (145) captured second consecutive championships. Jones sprained his left knee during his pin of Poly sophomore Lenthia Lewis, but he was more disappointed at not getting outstanding heavyweight honors.
Lake Clifton sophomore Richard McCoy received that accolade, pinning Forest Park's Dwan Gamble at 171. Carver lost in four title bouts, but junior Brandon Johnson gave the Bears a championship at 140. Walbrook's Steven Manson won at 135 and Northwestern's senior Sheldon Hamilton earned the 215 title on his home mat.
Though the Clippers' title streak was halted, seniors David Evans (heavyweight), Dominic Bullock (112) and Douglas Owens (125) won individual championships.
The individual titlists now turn their attention to the regional championships that start Friday at Meade (4A-3A East) and Glenelg (2A-1A South).
Anne Arundel County
Old Mill defeated runner-up Chesapeake by a 198.5-169.5 margin at the county tournament at South River.
Arundel finished third with 146.5 points.
For the Patriots, it was a top-to-bottom performance that featured titles 125-pounder Doug West, 130-pounder Josh Baynham and heavyweight William Bell.
South Carroll removed most of the suspense out of the county tournament before the final round started.
The 13th-ranked Cavaliers placed eight wrestlers in the finals and had the championship clinched before the last round started. South Carroll went on to claim three individual titles and rolled to an easy victory in the tournament at Liberty.
South Carroll finished with 210 points, beating defending champion North Carroll (168.5), Westminster (159) and Francis Scott Key (141).
River Hill won its fourth straight county tournament championship at Wilde Lake.
This one wasn't as close as last season's one-point victory over Mount Hebron, as the Hawks breezed, 246.5-204.5, over runner-up Centennial.
The No. 4 Hawks placed eight wrestlers in the finals and won five individual titles.