Harford Tech's Chris Bigdeli knows as much about losing as he does about winning, having done equal amounts of each this season at the 145-pound weight class.
Last night, the senior wrestler earned what he called "one of the most important wins of my high school career," evening his record at .500 during a milestone victory for the third-ranked Cobras.
Bigdeli's second-period pin of No. 4-ranked Chesapeake's Alex Calhoun sparked a decisive five-bout sweep as the visiting Cobras (8-0) gave the Anne Arundel County powerhouse its first dual-meet defeat this season, 41-30.
The win was especially sweet for Bigdeli, whose fall in 2:56 balanced his record at 6-6.
"This is a huge win for me, especially in a match like this where you have two teams that are ranked high in the state," said Bigdeli, perhaps the least-experienced Cobras wrestler. "I knew this was big for my team, so I had to ... be big."
Bigdeli's pin came during a five-bout sweep that turned a 21-16 deficit into an insurmountable 41-21 lead with two bouts left.
It was sandwiched between the third and fifth wins during the streak, pins by No. 3 Brad Dreyer (140 pounds, 17-1 record) and No. 5 Josh Taylor (152, 16-2), who decked Brandon Walters for the second time in five days.
Harford Tech's Mike Taylor (130, 15-2) repeated his major decision victory over Chesapeake's Matt Willis. But this time, Taylor, ranked No. 3, had to overcome an early takedown to win, 11-2. In another rematch, Pat Conlon (135) won another close decision over Craig Sturgeon, 5-3.
"We pretty much knew that we could win it in the middle," Mike Taylor said. "That's where most of our strength is."
The Cobras led 12-3 after three bouts, getting a 38-second pin by fourth-ranked Tony Gibson (189, 15-2) and another first-period fall by heavyweight Chris Moxey. They flanked a 3-0 decision by the Cougars' Pat McLanigan (215) over Scott Tipton.
The teams swapped victories in the next two bouts.
Josh O'Keefe (103, 13-3) built a 7-0 lead before pinning the Cobras' Matt Oates in a split cradle, and Mike Long (112, 14-2) scored four takedowns in his 13-3 major decision over Steve Gelety, whom Long had beaten by technical fall in last weekend's Mount Mat Madness Tournament.
The Cougars led for the first time at 21-16 on pins by No. 1-ranked Corey Bowers (119, 17-0) and No. 3 Shane Fraser (125, 16-2) in 38 seconds and 4:51, respectively.
But the lead wouldn't last.
"We thought maybe there were some matches that would be close through the middle that maybe we could pull through," said Fraser, who had built a 15-1 lead on the Cobras' Mark Owens. "We were getting ready for them with our matches yesterday, but they were really tough. What can you do?"
In defeating Chesapeake, a contender for its fourth Class 4A-3A state title, the Cobras scored a major victory in an schedule that included last weekend's sixth-place finish at the Mount Mat Madness meet and next week's dual meet with No. 5 McDonogh.
"Every match is big, but we're warming up for states now," said Dreyer, who is part of a program that has won three straight Harford County crowns and four of the past five. "To come in here and beat a classy program like Chesapeake is huge win for our program."