The 2A-1A North regional duals wrestling title - between Maryland's two top-ranked public school teams - went down to one bout last night.
Harford Tech's state finalist Mike Taylor needed to pin Owings Mills' Ryan Nash at 130 pounds. If he did, the Cobras would claim their first regional duals title. If he didn't, it would be just another year of host Owings Mills' dominance.
Taylor won, 3-2, but by avoiding the pin in a scrappy bout, Nash preserved a 29-27 victory for Owings Mills and the school's ninth regional title.
"When I went out there, my teammates were saying, 'Ryan, it's all up to you. Do not get pinned, no matter what,' " Nash said. "My dad actually took a lot of pressure off me. He said, 'No matter what, if you wrestle you heart out, you cannot fail.' "
Afterward, Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker, in his 22nd season, said: "These are the kind of matches that make coaches lose their hair and retire at a young age."
His Eagles started on a roll when 135-pound senior Jon Demchick scored a 15-0 technical fall over Kellen Bell. Harford Tech's Brad Dreyer (140, 22-2 record) put the first points on the board for his team with a 2:15 pin over Shane Horneberger.
Pritzker then bumped undefeated Alex Binder up to 145 pounds, where he scored a 15-0 technical fall over Chris Bigdeli.
The bump set up an important match-up between state place winners Mike Kessler (Owings Mills) and Josh Taylor (Harford Tech) at 152 pounds. Kessler (26-2) scored a 7-1 win.
Matt Zaun of Harford Tech (160) edged Evan Lichter in overtime, 6-4.
At 171 pounds, Owings Mills' undefeated Eric Fishel improved to 26-0 with an 8-0 victory over Harford Tech's Jeff Gardner.
Harford Tech freshman 103-pounder Matt Oates scored a 5-2 victory over Wonjin Cha, putting the team score at 20-18.
Harford Tech's Mike Long (112) needed only 1:13 to pin Adam Farbman, before Owings Mills' Rob Cooper (119, 23-2) scored a technical fall, 22-7, over Eric Haskell.
Owings Mills' 125-pounder Eric Vinores then gained a 12-4 major decision over Mark Owens, setting up the Nash-Taylor final.