They were unranked and unheralded at the season's outset, but last night at McDaniel College, the Old Mill Patriots did the unexpected.
The Patriots got runner-up efforts from Doug West (125 pounds), Josh Baynham (130) and William Bell (heavyweight), along with a fifth-place finish from Jude Ayanleye to dethrone Anne Arundel County neighbor Chesapeake, for their state-leading seventh Class 4A-3A state title.
No. 8 Old Mill finished with 73 points, while the ninth-ranked Cougars had 62.5.
"Nobody expected us to be here. Every one counted us out," said Baynham, who won three narrow decisions to reach the title bout, where he came up short, 8-3, against unbeaten Derrick McDermott of Charles County's McDonough. "We thought we could get here. We expected it."
West pinned two opponents before getting a major decision over Perry Hall's Matt Kahl in the semifinals, but fell behind, 3-0, in his 3-2, title-bout loss to three-time champion Danny April (32-1) of Montgomery County's Churchill.
Bell (31-3) pinned three straight opponents before falling short in a heartbreaking, 4-3, loss to Severna Park's Brian Payer (27-7), who was 0-8 lifetime against Bell.
Bell led, 3-1, on a takedown with 1:14 left, but he was penalized for stalling and locking hands, which tied the bout before Payer escaped for the win with 14 seconds left.
Payer is the Falcons' first champion since Aaron Cree in 1992. Severna Park was seventh in the overall standings.
"We didn't wrestle like we should have in the finals," said West, a junior whose 20-bout winning streak ended. "It's great to win, but we're disappointed we didn't have a champion."
Arundel (fourth place) crowned Justin Tippett (189), who quit competitive cheerleading in January to join the team. He completed a 17-1 season with an 8-6 victory over Patapsco's Eric Hood (35-3), accomplished on a takedown with three seconds left.
"I wasn't sure I was going to be able to pull this off because he was strong, but he started [getting tired] in the third period," said Tippett, who pinned Northern of Calvert's favored Matt Parsons in 1:14 of their semifinal bout. "I accomplished something some people thought I couldn't."
Andrew Schlaffer (39-1), a runner-up last year at 130, scored his 11th technical fall and his 20th and 21st pins before handing Annapolis' Ben Graham (32-1) - a runner-up last year at 125 - his first loss, 11-4. Schlaffer, whose teammate, James Knox (103) was runner-up to Frederick's Mark Tsikerdanos (25-0) after losing in overtime, is Dulaney's first state champion.
"I knew I'd have to go after him on my feet," said Schlaffer, who scored five takedowns. "After losing in the finals last year, I wasn't going to settle for anything less than the title."
For Fallston, Nathan Bachmann (145) scored all four of his points in the last period to overcome a one-point deficit for a 4-1 victory over Quince Orchard's Ignacio Diaz. In doing so, Bachmann (32-2) became his school's first repeat champion.
After being fourth and second, respectively, the previous two years, Perry Hall's top-ranked Jim Van Daniker (112) finally won. His takedown on the edge of the mat with two seconds left in the first overtime dethroned Quince Orchard's Frankie Baughan, 5-3, ending Baughan's 67-bout winning streak.