Taylor takes down Fitch for 160-pound title

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Harford Tech's second-ranked Josh Taylor turned a single-leg takedown into a cradle to pin Boys' Latin's No. 3 Justin Fitch with 12 seconds left in his 160-pound title victory in yesterday's Maryland Catholic Invitational at Archbishop Curley.

Taylor's 12th pin improved him to 15-0, breaking a 1-1 tie in a match he trailed by a point entering the third period. Fitch's only previous loss was in overtime to the host school's Daniel Miller, who blanked Harford Tech's Jeff Gardener, 2-0, for the 171-pound crown.

"Being behind, I looked to get a takedown to seal the match," said Taylor, last year's Class 2A-1A state runner-up. "Fortunately, I got in on a single and instinct took over. It was even the whole way. He's a good wrestler."

No. 8 Curley won the team title, eclipsing runner-up St. Mark's of Delaware, 215 to 175.5. The Friars crowned Miller (16-1) and Joe Green (275), with Keith Raynor (140) finishing second. Green (16-4) scored seven nearfall points and led 11-2 before pinning Harford Tech's Chris Moxey.

"I've been wrestling at 215, but I was given the option of going heavyweight, so I did," said Green, a junior. "I'm surprised I pinned my way through the tournament."

State champ Vince Taweel (130) and Steve Sessa (189) won crowns for No. 4 Hammond (fourth place), whose runners-up were Ethan Cohen (119) and A.J. Smith (152, 18-2).

Taweel (20-0) followed his 11-2 semifinal rout of St. Mark's Andrew Riley, who is ranked No. 2 in Delaware, with a 6-2 victory over Boys' Latin's Tyricuz Ishway. Sessa (19-1) pinned Curley's Sam Burdych in 2:55 of their title bout.

For No. 2 Harford Tech (fifth), Moxey, Gardener, Mike Long (125) and Matt Kahl (145) placed second, with Long's 1-0 loss coming against St. Mark's Jeremy Shaw, whom Long beat, 5-1, last season.

At 112 pounds, sixth-ranked Archbishop Spalding's Chris Laidley (18-2) decked Hammond's No. 4 Bryce Harley in the semifinals, before grinding out a 7-5 decision against longtime rival Adam Palumbo (15-2) of Annapolis Area Christian School. Laidely avenged a loss from earlier this year to Palumbo, against whom he is 2-4 in his career.

St. Mary's Lou Ruland (20-0) shut down Cohen, 6-2, earning his 95th career win. Ruland, who has 10 pins, is ranked No. 2 by The Sun. Cohen is No. 1.

"People say I'm a big [119-pounder], so I guess I'm able to use my size to my advantage in matches," Ruland said. "I was able to lock up on him and slow him down."

Harford Tech coach Gary Siler and Hammond's Pedro Barbosa accused Curley of stacking the tournament seedings in its favor. But Friars coach Alan Gebhart and assistant Tim Schoen denied the charges.

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