The wrestling team's banners of success cover nearly half of one wall at Owings Mills. The Golden Eagles have been one of the dominant Maryland programs for the past decade, and last night they earned yet another.
Owings Mills became the first team to win back-to-back state titles in dual-meet competition as the second-ranked Golden Eagles scored a surprisingly easy 43-26 victory over visiting Beall in the Class 2A-1A state championship meet.
The Golden Eagles now have won 29 matches in a row. This was the team's eighth appearance in the dual-meet finals and their ninth in the final four.
Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker - now the first to win consecutive state titles in the dual meets - liked how his team scored a 51-30 victory over No. 7 Centennial in the semifinals. But Pritzker was somewhat concerned about how his team would match up with the Allegany County team.
"I always worry," Pritzker said with a laugh. "But our kids really stepped up today. Being there last year definitely helped - and having it at home helps."
Beall (24-1) had to travel nearly three hours to make the 5:30 p.m. semifinal, where it rolled over Kent, 45-25. But the Golden Eagles just had to go to the gym, and that seemed to help them in the championship match as the Mountaineers appeared to tire a little.
Owings Mills (17-0) won the first two matches and then, after Beall captured the next two for an 11-9 lead, the Golden Eagles took off. Heavyweight Jon Sparklin hung on for a 4-3 win over John Kauffman to give them the lead for good at 12-11.
Jason Jacovsky (103 pounds) and Eric Vinores (112) then scored pins in the first minute, which seemed to give Owings Mills a spark. Robert Cooper (119) followed with a 23-7 technical fall over Travis Dixon. Ryan Nash (125) then rolled to a 9-1 victory over Jeff Brant. It was Owings Mills' fifth straight win, which gave the team a 33-11 lead.
"I thought it'd be a close match, but I thought we'd beat them," Vinores said. "Everyone keeps supporting the team, and you don't want to let them down."
After losing a pair of close decisions, Owings Mills wrapped up the title when Mike Kessler (140) pinned Colen DeVore at 1:34. The Golden Eagles had six pins in the Centennial match. The Eagles had problems, as five wrestlers didn't make weight at Owings Mills - after apparently weighing in fine beforehand at Centennial.
Centennial coach Todd DeCrispino kept four of them in the lineup by bumping them up, and the fifth was injured and wasn't scheduled to wrestle.