Two years ago, Sean Forney was a 103-pound Francis Scott Key freshman. Yesterday, although nearly 60 pounds heavier, the slender 6-foot junior proved he's no lightweight wrestler.
Forney used leverage to secure a double-leg takedown with four seconds left in a come-from-behind, 5-4, decision for the 160-pound title over Oakland Mills' Jeremy Askew.
His win raised his record to 12-3, dropped Askew to 12-1 and allowed him to join winning teammates Joe Hansborough (145), Luke Schuster (189), Tom Rush (215) and Ralph Stambaugh (275) as the eighth-ranked Eagles (204 points) won their 37th annual Christmas tournament for the third straight year.
"He was strong, powerful and real aggressive, so I had to feel him out," said Forney. "He had to work hard to get under me, so my long arms and legs helped."
Matt Callari (103), Reuben Gill (119), Shane Eyler (140) and James Schuster (171) were second. Weishaar brothers Derek (112) and John (125) were third, and Mike Groft (135) fourth, among the 12 place-winners for a team that notched 14 pins.
Considered state title contenders in Class 2A-1A, the Eagles (6-0) continued a season that includes winning the Meade tournament by nearly 30 points, and their dual meets by an average of more than 40. But stiffer tests await the Eagles on Jan. 10 and Jan. 12, respectively, as they face unbeaten Carroll County rivals North Carroll (6-0) and South Carroll (8-0).
"We've been tested individually, but not really as a team," said Rush (11-1), a defending state champion who has 11 pins. "We're looking to gradually improve, but we're not trying to get ahead of ourselves."
Luke Schuster and Stambaugh each rose to 8-0. Stambaugh was more dominant in earning his second win of the year over Century's Nick Rowe. This time, Stambaugh's 4-1 victory was easier than his earlier overtime win.
Hansbrough had to break a 3-3, third-period tie to defeat Century's Steffan Waugh, as he scored three near-fall points to win, 6-4. Hansbrough not only won the crown for the second straight year, but he avenged an earlier loss.
Runner-up St. Mary's (103 points) crowned Ruland brothers, Chris (103) and Lou (119). Chris, a sophomore, edged previously unbeaten Callari, 5-4, on a reversal with 10 seconds left, avenging last year's 10-7 loss.
A fourth-ranked junior, Lou (16-0) won a battle of unbeatens, 6-3, over Gill (11-1). He scored a takedown for a 2-0 first-period lead, and an escape and double-leg takedown for a 5-0 lead in the second. Down 6-2, Gill escaped with 53 seconds left but couldn't penetrate the defense of Ruland, who was named the event's Outstanding Wrestler.
"I tried not to make any mistakes and work my attack," said Ruland, a fourth-place finisher at private school states who had wrestled at 125 pounds until yesterday. "I've been at 122, 123 all year, so I felt fine. "
In other bouts, John Carroll's fourth-ranked Dean Roberts (140) moved to 20-0 after escaping 14 seconds into the double-overtime period for a 3-2 victory over Eyler (10-1).