Paced by consecutive pins by A.J. Smith and Adam Blake at 152 and 160 pounds, No. 2 Hammond won a battle of Class 2A-1A state title contenders last night in a tri-meet at Harford Tech.
The pins by Smith, Blake and sophomore Ryan McKevitt (140) came in a 38-31 win over injury-ravaged and No. 10 Harford Tech.
Smith later keyed a 33-31 victory over Calvert Hall, pinning Matt Cunningham, to turn a three-point deficit into a three-point lead with three bouts left.
Hammond is now 20-0; Calvert Hall is 13-4; and Harford Tech, a 36-34 loser to Calvert Hall, is 7-3.
"Harford Tech wasn't at full strength, but the middle of our lineup always steps up the most, as it did tonight," said Smith, who flattened the Cobras' Jonathan Woods for an insurmountable 32-19 lead. "We struggled against Calvert Hall, so I stepped it up at the end."
Top-ranked state champ Vince Taweel (130) of Hammond scored a 3-2 decision over No. 3 Collin Goldsmith (24-6) of Calvert Hall.
Taweel improved to 26-0, eclipsing Hammond's consecutive wins mark (25) held by assistant coach Ryan Mackin during the latter's state title-winning 2001 season.
"It feels good, but my goal is to help the team, and I'd take a team title over records any day," said Taweel, a sophomore.
Calvert Hall upset Harford Tech on a 42-second pin by Shawn Boyle (189). The Cardinals' Andrew O'Brien (140) and Owen Smith (160) notched a pin and a decision, and Brad Gabrish (145) had two decisions. The Cobras were without injured starters Matt Kahl (145) and state runner-up Josh Taylor (160) against Calvert Hall.
"It's good to knock off Harford Tech after losing to Hammond," said Goldsmith. "Taweel's a tough kid, but I'd like another shot at him."
Against Harford Tech, Hammond's No. 3 Steve Sessa (215, 26-1 record) had a pin, Taweel and Jose Maldonado (135, 27-3) won major decisions, and No. 4 Bryce Harley (112) and No. 2 Ethan Cohen (119) won decisions.
Harford Tech got two pins each from No. 3 Jeff Gardner (171), Hunter Cavey (189) and Chris Moxey (275), and a pin and a decision each from state runner-up Mike Long (125) and Mark Taylor (103).