All good things eventually come to an end.
For River Hill's wrestling team, its 31-match winning streak and reign as Class 4A-3A state dual-meet champion were terminated by a 38-28 loss to Calvert in the finals yesterday at Hammond.
The Hawks' 41-match win streak against Maryland teams also came to an end.
Unbeaten Calvert, injuries, illness and the uncharacteristic inability to win close matches all combined to bring down the No. 7 Hawks (21-1), who claimed a 39-36 semifinal win over Chesapeake of Anne Arundel.
"We've won the close matches all season, but tonight a couple went the other way and that set us in a hole," said River Hill All-American Vince Cina, one of only five Hawks to win against Calvert (18-0). The 112-pounder pinned Ryan Corkin in 3:22. "It's disappointing to be runner-up, but Calvert had no real holes in their lineup and they won the close matches."
River Hill's Kenny Nwandu lost a critical heavyweight bout, 6-2, to Alex Holman. And David Frye lost a 7-4 decision to Calvert's Kyle Parker at 152 pounds.
River Hill's Thomas Perkins won a major decision over Adam Milstead at 171 pounds and put a positive spin on the loss.
"We obviously wanted the bigger trophy, but this will work," Perkins said. "Everyone put forth his best effort all season and after graduating eight seniors we reached our goal of getting back to the state finals. If we had been healthy, it might have been different, but you can't take anything away from Calvert."
Ben Diamond and Ryan Lauer were the two Hawks who might have turned the match around had they been healthy. Diamond was in the hospital Friday with a respiratory illness and showed courage before losing, 11-5, to Dustin Jones at 160 pounds.
Lauer was also courageous, losing, 13-4, to Jeffers Frazier despite suffering badly bruised ribs in the regional championship against North Carroll.
"They dropped Frazier from 130 pounds to wrestle Ryan and that was a good move," said Lauer's father and the Hawks' coach, Earl Lauer. "We wrestled with Calvert in a Delaware tournament four weeks ago and we thought we might see them in the finals. They are the best team we wrestled this season."
"We've been to the finals three of the last five years, and we had our turn at winning last year, so I hope they enjoy theirs this year."
In the semifinals against Chesapeake, Ryan Green won a 4-2 decision at 103 pounds, David Adams won by 5-4 at 135 pounds and Perkins won a 4-3 decision at 171 for the Hawks. Adams' points provided the winning margin.
Cina and Matt Hawkland, Ryan Dieter and Nwanduall had pins against Chesapeake. The Cougars got pins from Corey Bowers, Frazier and Seppi Serio. River Hill forfeited the final match.
"It's been a great year," said Perkins. "And we still have three more weeks to go. We've never won a state individual tournament."