River Hill won a record-breaking fifth straight Howard County wrestling championship last night, beating runner-up Atholton, 248-144, at Wilde Lake.
The Hawks, who were state Class 4A-3A dual-meet runners-up last weekend, eclipsed the old mark of four straight titles recorded twice by Oakland Mills (1977-80, 1985-88) and matched by Hammond (1996-99).
River Hill placed a finalist in nine of the 14 weight classes and won six individual titles.
It was a night for close matches - six were decided by one point and one by two points. It was also a night for defending champions - five of the six won another title.
Ethan Cohen of Hammond, county runner-up and fourth in the state a year ago and ranked No. 1 at 103 pounds this year by The Sun, defeated River Hill's Taylor Green, 5-1, in the title bout. Cohen countered Green's shots, escaped from the bottom and took Green down. It was Cohen's third win over Green this season and improved his record to 23-1.
Vince Cina of River Hill earned a major decision over Jeff Zilmer of Atholton, 12-2. Cina, an All-American who finished eighth in freetstyle nationals and third at states, defended his county title and improved his record to 31-1 with his win at 112 pounds.
David Brindza of Glenelg beat Hammond's Sean Vorsteg at 119 pounds, 4-3. Brindza, a senior, is 27-4, and he said the key to defending his title was getting the first takedown. He is 4-0 lifetime against Vorsteg.
Freshman Vince Taweel of Hammond pulled off the biggest upset in the finals by decisioning Jeff Plasse of Oakland Mills, a four-time county finalist and state placer, 5-3, at 125 pounds.
Taweel, named the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler, called it unbelievable. "I'm striving to be Hammond's second four-time county champ," he said.
At 130 pounds, Dominic Ventura of Centennial earned his 99th career victory and repeated as a county champ by pinning Theodore Proia of River Hill in 56 seconds. Ventura, a senior and four-year varsity wrestler, was sixth in states last year and has a 27-2 record.
David Adams of River Hill won his first county title at 135 pounds by defeating top-seeded A. J. Smith of Hammond, 5-4, after having beaten defending county champ Anthonio Josiah of Oakland Mills in the semifinals, 4-3. Adams, an All-Metro soccer player who recently committed to Cedarville University (Ohio), is 22-5.
Kevin Cannon of River Hill recorded his 106th career win by pinning John Regan of Glenelg at 145 pounds to capture his second straight county title. Cannon is 27-5,
Sophomore Matt Bichner of Glenelg joined teammate Brindza as a county champ by scoring a major decision over Jeff Nuss of Hammond, 12-0. Bichner finished third in the county last season. He is 21-6.
At 152 pounds, Evan Bulger of Centennial won his first title after finishing runner-up last season. He won the championship, 6-5, over Nick Colabucci of Atholton. Bulger, a senior, is 27-6. He defeated Colabucci, 16-13, earlier this season.
Sophomore Ben Diamond of River Hill overcame fatigue and lack of practice after two-week respiratory illness to edge Wilde Lake's Tim Murdock at 160 pounds, 4-3, scoring the winning points on a reversal. Diamond had beaten Murdock twice previously this season, once in overtime. The former JV champion is 22-3 this season.
Thomas Perkins of River Hill overcame two previous losses, including a pin, to Wilde Lake freshman Zack Brown in defeating Brown at 171 pounds for the title.
Ryan Deiter of River Hill decisioned Mike Chase of Glenelg in double overtime, 4-3, at 189 pounds. Deiter escaped with 18 seconds left.
The county's only undefeated wrestler, Sean Kendig of Oakland Mills, successfully defended his title, becoming the 100th county champion from Oakland Mills by decisioning Mingo Grant of Howard, 2-1, in double overtime at 215 pounds. He won on an escape. He is 28-0.